Patrick Timpone

Julian Barbour

Does time exist as anything other than an illusion?

Julian Barbour is a British physicist with research interests in quantum gravity and the history of science.

His 1999 book The End of Time advances timeless physics: the controversial view that time, as we perceive it, does not exist as anything other than an illusion, and that a number of problems in physical theory arise from assuming that it does exist. He argues that we have no evidence of the past other than our memory of it, and no evidence of the future other than our belief in it. “Change merely creates an illusion of time, with each individual moment existing in its own right, complete and whole.” He calls these moments “Nows”. It is all an illusion: there is no motion and no change. He argues that the illusion of time is what we interpret through what he calls “time capsules”, which are “any fixed pattern that creates or encodes the appearance of motion, change or history”.

Barbour’s theory goes further in scepticism than the block universe theory, since it denies not only the passage of time, but the existence of an external dimension of time. Physics orders “Nows” by their inherent similarity to each other. That ordering is what we conventionally call a time ordering, but does not come about from “Nows” occurring at specific times, since they do not occur, nor does it come about from their existing unchangingly along the time axis of a block universe, but it is rather derived from their actual content. (Read more from Wikipedia)

Julian Barbour 3

julian barbour and the illusion of time, december 1, 2015

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'Julian Barbour, Ph.D – Does Time Exist As Anything Other Than An Illusion? – December 1, 2015' have 6 comments

  1. December 2, 2015 @ 7:41 pm Kay

    Another interview where the guest can’t get to his topic because he’s being convinced to talk about something he doesn’t believe in


  2. December 3, 2015 @ 12:44 pm Brad Walker

    I haven’t yet listened to the discussion, but based on the introduction it sounds like Dr. Barbour has expounded on the teachings of Indian philosopher, Jiddu Krishnamurti. Krishnamurti posited that psychological ‘time’ was an illusion as does Buddhist, Hindu, and other Eastern religions. I find this study interesting. If ‘time’ is an illusion, so are all other ‘beliefs’. There is just, “What is”, as Krishnamurti would say…..Krishnamurti had discussions with prominent scientists in the 1960’s and 1970’s and his work is available online. His foundation is: Many say he was the Bodhitsattva (World Teacher). I agree but more closer to home say he was the ‘modern day’ Jesus. Thanks for all the great info, Patrick! Brad


    • December 6, 2015 @ 6:07 pm Jill

      Exactly Brad! They are just beliefs. Anything that doesn’t last or changes is not real. What’s real never changes ever. That means energy isn’t real, even though a lot of self-professed “healers” will tell you otherwise. “What is” never dies nor changes. That means, this whole world is not real. It’s a mind boggler but absolutely fascinating. The only thing I find worth studying. Everything else falls short. Have you ever read the trilogy by Gary Renard? Best books I ever read.


  3. December 6, 2015 @ 1:52 pm Raphaela

    When one experiences oneself as only being a body, there is no possibility other than the 3 dimensions. There are other experiences required to see other dimensions. So the knowledge one thinks to have without that experience, is only regurgitated notions, without understanding.


  4. December 6, 2015 @ 6:04 pm Jill

    This whole world is an illusion. Doesn’t mean we ignore what we THINK is real, just that we realize what it is all for…getting ourselves home and off the wheel of perceived birth and death. As it states in A Course in Miracles, “Nothing real can be threatened, nothing unreal exists. Herein lies the peace of God.” Given that nothing unreal exists, that means time does not exist, because anything birthed in time, ends in time, and anything that doesn’t last, is not real. This world is just a tool to get ourselves Home, a place we never left except in our imagination. When we dream at night, we never leave our bed, but we think we are in our dream and everything in it is real. Dreams can’t hurt us because it’s all happening within the mind. We think we “wake up” to reality when we wake up from dreaming, but we don’t. Just a moving our awareness. We are still stuck in the greatest dream of all. We think this dream and everything in it is real, we think we have separated ourselves from Source, but we haven’t. We are still safe at Home with Source as we continue to dream this dream…until we wake up and realize we never left Home and we’ve been dreaming this whole time. This is pure nondualistic teaching which very few teachers, gurus, etc are teaching. They are all still stuck in the dream/illusion. They teach to wake up within the dream, but pure nondualism teaches to wake up FROM the dream. The ancient Vedanta (sp?) and A Course in Miracles are 2 such pure nondualistic avenues.


  5. December 8, 2015 @ 2:45 pm Nick Dean

    How long do these ‘nows’ last and how do they relate to one another?

    I started reading this page, went on to typing this comment, and through it all I seem to have been sat in the same chair in the same room with the same album playing seamlessly in the background.

    Have I been experiencing a 13 hour moment I since I woke up this morning and where my environment moved with me and with time in perfectly predictable ways?


    **the illusion of time is what we interpret through what he calls “time capsules”, which are “any fixed pattern that creates or encodes the appearance of motion, change or history”**

    Why cannot that be real motion, change and history, as it appears to be to our senses – and so time rather than ‘time capsules’?


    Two attributed quotes: ““Change merely creates an illusion of time,” and ‘time capsules’ are “any fixed pattern that creates or encodes the [mere] appearance of motion, change or history,” are contradictory.

    Which is it? Does change create the illusion of time; or does the illusion of time, ‘time capsules’, create the appearance of change?


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