Traffic and Time

Traffic explains Time

Like one of the definitions of Time, the word traffic is also a mass noun, and useful one to expand on an understanding of Time.

We know traffic exists, don’t we, ‘cos we all get stuck in it every day.

Traffic flows, it moves, it stops, it starts, it builds up, it disperses. Traffic can be free-flowing, it can be slow-moving, or even at a standstill.

Traffic has all these attributes attached to it. And yet…does traffic actually exist as a tangible thing?

Traffic doesn’t have any specific dimensions. When you talk about traffic, are you talking about three vehicles, or three thousand, or three million? Well, it could be any number –  it’s a non-specific collection (of vehicles).

Without vehicles, there is no traffic. Is this a truism? Well, in one sense yes, of course with no vehicles the roads are empty…hurrah. But it’s also the case that traffic, being a non-specific collection of vehicles, can only be spoken about, can only be relevant, when there are vehicles.

So, yes traffic does exist…as long as there are vehicles. Traffic’s not fundamentally tangible – the vehicles are the underlying tangible things. Traffic is only really a short-hand word. We could say “sorry I’m late, but the non-specific collection of vehicles was bad” or “I must dash, I don’t what to get caught up in the non-specific collection of vehicles”. Much easier to use a shorthand word…“I got caught up in traffic”.

The underlying fundamental then is vehicles. The word traffic references vehicles. Without vehicles, traffic doesn’t exist.

And the word Time [or one of its two meanings] is similarly a non-specific collection…of events.  When we say ‘Time passed’, what we mean is a non-specific collection of events have happened.

And Time exists, as long as there are events happening. Time is a non-specific collection of events. So, like traffic, it’s not a tangible thing – the underlying [quantum] events are the tangible fundamental.

When did time start – when did the traffic start? Traffic doesn’t begin until the first vehicles hit the road in the morning. And it ends when all vehicles [drivers] are safely tucked up in bed. No vehicles, no traffic. Similarly, Time began at the first event (the Big Bang?), and will end at the last event (the small whimper?). No events, no time.

So what is the ‘flow’ when traffic flows – why the movement of vehicles of course. And what is the’ flow’ of time…well the continuous happening of [quantum] events – of course.