To Newton, time as the universal stream that carried all before it was the dimension in which all change occurs so time itself shouldn’t also change, but Einstein showed that it did. How can a time that defines all change be itself subject to change? In calculus, a time change would be dt/dt which is a constant, so that time itself changes is impossible. That our time actually does change has led some physicists to suspect that time and space aren’t as fundamental as Newton thought:
“… many of today’s leading physicists suspect that space and time, although pervasive, may not be truly fundamental.” (Greene, 2004) p471.
We conceive a dimension of time extending from past to future but the past is only known from its present effects and the future is unknown until it occurs. We deduce the past and predict the future from the present so all we really have is “now”. We infer the universe from the light that hits the earth but again we only really have “here”. We can imagine a past and future but all we know for sure is that there is a here and a now.
From the here and now we infer that time and space are dimensions but if the physical world is virtual, they are virtual too. Quantum realism suggests that our space is simulated by three orthogonal rotations on a network and our time is simulated by processing cycles in another orthogonal rotation. If so, time and space are results not causes and that is why our space can contract and our time can dilate as relativity experiments confirm. To create our time and space, the quantum network only needs to create the here and now and we infer the rest.
The quantum network needs four degrees of freedom, to simulate three directions of space and one of time. These degrees of freedom are equivalent, so it doesn’t matter which create space or time, suggesting that there were initially four equal dimensions until the creation event broke that symmetry by causing one of four equivalent dimensions to become time and the rest to become space(S. W. Hawking & Hartle, 1983). But if four dimensions separated into three of space and one of time, what were they dimensions of? Physics has no abstract dimensionality that can separate into space or time but the degrees of freedom of a quantum network can do this.
Quantum realism has no time dimension, only network cycles with a time byproduct. It has no space dimension, only network transfers whose number and direction imply space. For a quantum network to create time that passes and space that extends requires only the here and now. The implication is that physical reality is an observer-observed interaction where quantum reality provides both the observer and the observed. Time then passes because every photon we observe had to complete a definite number of cycles to reach us and distance extends because it also had to complete a definite number of network transfers.
Relativity gives every object its own spatial frame of reference and as its own relative clock. This implies not only a “Physics of Now” (Hartle, 2005) p101, with no past, future or time travel, but also a “Physics of Here” that remains even as we move. Quantum realism only requires an ever-present here and an eternal now.