I have used the term ‘interval’ to express the period between two change events for a specific object.
There is also a term used to supposedly express the sense of times universality which is persistence. It essentially refers to the same idea as my use of interval – but refers to an intrinsic property of the object – that of existence.
The argument in a nutshell is that an object exists (between change events). It hence exists in a ‘time period’, i.e. it has ‘persistence’ – its existence beyond an instant requires Time for that existence to occur in; hence ‘time periods’ has validity as a dimension of a concrete phenomenon, hence time is universal and necessary. This is an easy place to arrive at – we all think it – we see time ‘happening’.
But it is a fundamentally flawed perception and conclusion. Persistence is a meaningless condition. A static, non-changing object simply exists. Time has NO intrinsic effect on, impact on or relevance to it. But people can’t shake the idea that ‘time passing’ is some universal ‘flow’, which effects all things equally. The idea that to exist an object must exist ‘in time’ is the universal misunderstanding.
Persistence is related to a single object; if this single object is unchanging, persistence is meaningless until and unless external calibration is introduced to quantify it. But the quantification is the external events series (a clock ticking, the earth spinning) calibration. It has NO intrinsic relationship with our static, single object, which just sits, unchanging, unaffected. Time does NOT exist for that object. Only an external relativity imposes an external structure of time calibration on it. A static, unchanging object simply is…time is irrelevant to it (you could say ‘it’s timeless’).
This is the crux of understanding time. If you understand that time doesn’t ‘pass’, only events happen; and that to a static, unchanging object, time is irrelevant (until you use external events to calibrate) then time as a universal ‘thing’ ceases to have any necessity or meaning.
In other words, persistence (existence, if you like, needing time in which to be) is wholly meaningless. Unhelpfully it infers the ‘dimension/tunnel/flow/universality’ notion of time that is the illusory confidence trickster stymying most people’s ability to understand the simple, subtle reality of time’s abstractness, its non-existence.
This is difficult for people to grasp. Something that is static and unchanging is wholly unaffected by time. People want there to be this universal ‘flow’ that is constantly passing by – they can’t get past the idea that a static object is somehow enduring time ceaselessly. Time passes, surely?
But as we’ve said, the point is time doesn’t ‘pass’. Time doesn’t exist. There is nothing to pass, nothing to endure. Events happen, that’s it. A static object doesn’t need time in which to exists, it just exists and events happen around it and to it. What precisely do people who say ‘time passes’ mean? They don’t know what time is anyway, so how can they assert that it ‘passes’. They mean events happen. And events happen in isolation, unaffected by any universal time thing.
We have the ceaseless event-series of the earth’s motion, and the continual event-series of our own lives (as living organisms we can never be static) and the never ending ticking of clocks to thank for this illusion of universal time flow. The ceaseless flow is actually the flow of events happening – the continuum of change perhaps.