We can distil the variety of dictionary definitions of time down to two core meanings:-
- The Dimension. The use of time to refer to an abstract framework (a dimension) for referencing events and calibrating (measuring) periods (duration and intervals) seems well covered in the dictionaries (i.e the t in maths/physics).
- The Flow. Time is also a collective term – a mass noun – that also refers to events, but as an indefinite, non-specific set (as is the intrinsic quality of mass nouns, e.g. Traffic [another mass noun] is to Vehicles what Time is to Events – a non-specific collective term – this gets explained later: Traffic and Time).
That’s makes time a subtle, slippery thing – it has two root meanings that appear very similar, and are easily confused and interchanged.
However, the significance of this is that time is wholly explainable outside of itself – we can get our hands around it and it hence becomes redundant (other than as shorthand). It is hence not a fundamental phenomenon.
And Time (definition 1) measures Time (definition 2) which relieves that timeless conundrum – can time measure time!
So time references change – in two different contexts for sure – but that is all it does, it references change…that’s it. To think beyond Time, think change (quantum motion).