Often we look back at photos and memories of the past and wonder how time flies with disregard and negligence to your opinions. We want to stop moments we enjoy, rewind mistakes we have made and fast-forward through the grief cause by life so frequently. We learn at an early age that mistakes echo for a lifetime and time only moves in one direction, forward. These assumptions made as a youth are transposed and mutated into a “fear of time”, as we age.

Fear no more, because time is non other than a persistent illusion. Time does not move in any direction but rather it is here and now, encompassing all things in field of the present. Us observing the present, from moment to moment, creates a sensation of a time lapse. Time itself is a arbitrary term used to denote change. Change between the snapshot of the now and after allows us to view the realm of infinity. Time is merely a trinket produced by this change in the present. This tells us that the only thing that exist in this moment is the present itself. Past, future is merely a illusion of the mind, it is used to stitch present reality with a meaning or reason for its existence.

There have been many experiments done by scientist to prove that time is merely an illusion, created by the reality we live in. This experiment is called the delayed choice or quantum eraser. To fully understand this experiment, one must first know about the double-slit experiment.

Double-Slit Expriment

In this experiment, small clumps of fundamental particles (photons, electrons) are shot at a screen through a device that has two slits. On the other side of the a screen, a high tech camera records where the photons land on the screen. When one of the two slits are closed an expected pattern occurs, the particle behaves like matter. If the two slits are opened, the particles behave more like waves and create “interference patterns”. This means that the individual protons go through both slits at the same time and interferes with itself ! In this situation the proton goes through either slits, neither slits and both slits all at the same time. The single piece of proton becomes a “wave” of potential, expressing itself is multiple forms, this is why the interference pattern is present.

When the observer decides to look at which slit the proton is going through exactly, the wave of potential collapses into one single path. The particle goes from being a wave to behaving like a particle again. The particles clearly knows that they are being watch. The act of consciously looking at particles collapses the wave function and creates a singular possibility.

This quantum uncertainty is defined as the ability, “according to the quantum mechanic laws that govern subatomic affairs, of a particle like an electron to exist in a murky state of possibility — to be anywhere, everywhere or nowhere at all — until clicked into substantiality by a laboratory detector or an eyeball.” (New York Times)

Delayed Choice / Quantum Eraser

So how does this relate to time ? Imagine a star from a  distant galaxy, billions of years away, emitting photons towards Earth. The light from that sun would undergo “gravitational lensing”, the light will bend around the galaxy in order to reach Earth. The rays of photons will  take two paths to get to Earth, either left or right. Billions of years later, if one decides to build a apparatus to measure photons (like with the double-slit experiment) an interface pattern is observed. This means that the single proton took both paths to create an interference pattern.

One could also choose to “peek” at the incoming photon, setting up a telescope on each side of the galaxy to determine which side the photon took to reach Earth. The very act of measuring or “watching” which way the photon comes in means it can only come in from one side. The pattern will no longer be an interference pattern representing multiple possibilities, but a single clump pattern showing “one” way.

What does this mean? It means how we choose to measure “now” affects what direction the photon took billions of years ago. Our choice in the present moment affected what had already happened in the past….

The fruits of these experiments prove that time is a construct of the mind, it only exists due to our consciousness (actively watching), this is why we are able to see snapshots of time moving forward.