Role Playing => The Art of the Game Master => Topic started by: Drul Morbok on March 31, 2018, 05:12:13 AM

Title: Metaphysical sidenote: space and time
Post by: Drul Morbok on March 31, 2018, 05:12:13 AM
I just wanted to mention something I came up with for my game world:

Within it, people believe in a 5-dimensional world. Or, as they'd say, there are five directions, three of wich can be walked either way, and two that can only be walked one way.
The first three are spatial (up/down, forward/backward, left/right), the latter two are temporal (earlier, later).

So past and future are independent dimensions, rather than forward and backward on the same axis.
This effectively removes all kind of time travel paradoxa - if you first "travel" one minute into the future, and than one minute into the past, you do not end where (or rather "when") you started, but sqrt(2) minutes away from it (by the theorem of Pythagoras).
There is no such idea as to "turn back time" - time only turns forward, either into the past or into the future.

This might be hard to imagine for someone used to think of time as one axis, but someone used to think of it as two axes and never coming up with the idea of one axis could live consistently in this worldview, at least in a fantays word. And he would in turn find theidea of one axis rather strange.
And to be honest...I'm not even sure if modern real-world science could easily prove the idea of two time axes wrong (there even might already be such a theory of two axes, but if so I do not remember it).
Title: Re: Metaphysical sidenote: space and time
Post by: David Roomes on April 01, 2018, 09:32:20 PM
Two axis temporal dimensions. Sounds like pretty heady stuff. Or maybe a little bit like string theory. Doesn't string theory predict 10 dimensions? Or 13 or something like that? Also, string theory has some interesting things to say about space-time. Might be worth a look.

Anyway, are you planning on using this multi-dimensional time line to create some kind of interesting story? Like maybe the characters get a hold of a magic item that lets them move around in time, but they accidentally end up in a parallel dimension? Ok, now you're just giving me ideas... :)
Title: Re: Metaphysical sidenote: space and time
Post by: Drul Morbok on April 02, 2018, 06:38:45 AM
You know, the more I think about it, one axis of temporal dimension also is pretty heady ;-)

And also kind of a cultural issue:
Of course a stick in the ground can make for a primitive sundial, by mapping measure of time to measure of length (I.e. quantify time by the distance the shadow "moves").
But the idea of time as a linear dimension is a lot more sophisticated...a bit like the difference between counting apples, and postulating the Peano Axioms, even though both is about natural numbers.

I think that thea idea of a time scale is not " natural", but became a necessity with the concept of interest and compound interest.
If lending is about "I give you ten gold pieces if you give me eleven gold pieces next spring", a rudimentary circular time concept would be enough, only defined by the change of sessions.
Only if it starts with "I lend money at 10% interest per what if I lend money for 9 months?"  there comes the need for linear time measure.

So in some way, the saying "time is money" might have a deeper truth than what is commonly meant by saying it ;-)

In any case, my main motivation is playing with the idea that if culture was different, the concept of time also would be different, and that the idea of one time axis is a model among many, but it does not mean that time IS like this.
Title: Re: Metaphysical sidenote: space and time
Post by: David Roomes on April 04, 2018, 07:36:47 PM
Agreed. Our concept of time is mainly our own artificial construction. We do that with a lot of things. I recently saw something similar on TV the other night... the idea that we "made up" numbers, but then "discovered" the realm of mathematics (i.e. relations between numbers).

Heinlein's book "The Number of the Beast" had a similar idea about time... that moving sideways in time is really just going to a parallel dimension at the same point of time.