The Question of Time: An Illusion, a Delusion, a Magical Order or All of the Above

When I’ve asked people the question, “what are clocks designed to do?”, I get all sorts of interesting replies What I’ve found out is that time is an extremely confused subject in the Western world. As I develop this story I will reveal the answer, but why don’t you ask yourself what you think time is and what it is that clocks are designed to do.

The obvious answer might be that clocks tell time. Clocks don’t tell time per se, rather they measure an aspect of our world. For now let’s just say that time is an abstract term for a very common phenomena that most of us take for granted. Einstein was the first to say that time is the 4th dimension, an even more abstract concept and one of his few miscalculations.

I’ve read books on the Western notion of time and it seems that even the experts can’t agree as to what time is.


Here are some official definitions of time.

Websters defines Time as….

1a : the measured or measurable period during which an action, process, or condition exists or continues: duration
b : a nonspatial continuum that is measured in terms of events which succeed one another from past through present to future

2: the point or period when something occurs

Wikipedia defines Time as….

Time is a part of the measuring system used to sequence events, to compare the durations of events and the intervals between them, and to quantify rates of change such as the motions of objects.[1] The temporal position of events with respect to the transitory present is continually changing; future events become present, then pass further and further into the past.

Time has been a major subject of religion, philosophy, and science, but defining it in a non-controversial manner applicable to all fields of study has consistently eluded the greatest scholars.

Time is used to define other quantities — such as velocity — so defining time in terms of such quantities would result in circularity of definition. An operational definition of time, wherein one says that observing a certain number of repetitions of one or another standard cyclical events (such as the passage of a free-swinging pendulum) constitutes one standard unit such as the second, is highly useful in the conduct of both advanced experiments and everyday affairs of life.

The operational definition leaves aside the question whether there is something called time, apart from the counting activity just mentioned, that flows and that can be measured. Investigations of a single continuum called spacetime bring questions about space into questions about time, questions that have their roots in the works of early students of natural philosophy.

Two contrasting viewpoints on time divide many prominent philosophers. One view is that time is part of the fundamental structure of the universe, a dimension in which events occur in sequence. Sir Isaac Newton subscribed to this realist view, and hence it is sometimes referred to as Newtonian time. Time travel, in this view, becomes a possibility as other “times” persist like frames of a film strip, spread out across the time line.

The opposing view is that time does not refer to any kind of “container” that events and objects “move through”, nor to any entity that “flows”, but that it is instead part of a fundamental intellectual structure (together with space and number) within which humans sequence and compare events. This second view, in the tradition of Gottfried Leibniz and Immanuel Kant, holds that time is neither an event nor a thing, and thus is not itself measurable nor can it be traveled.


No wonder time is confusing. The above definitions while useful don’t actually define time as a thing as the philosophers Gottfried Leibniz and Immanuel Kant concur. Time it seems is more of an intellectual construct. A construct we use to measure aspects of our world and not a thing in and of itself.

Mainstream science is finally coming around to the Leibniz and Kant conclusion as recently evidenced by the
article “Scientists suggest Space-time has no time dimension”.

Scientists propose that clocks measure the numerical order of material change in space, where space is a fundamental entity; time itself is not a fundamental physical entity.

Some researchers theorize that Newtonian ideas of time as an absolute quantity that flows on its own, along with the idea that time is the fourth dimension of spacetime, are incorrect. They propose to replace these concepts of time with a view that corresponds more accurately to the physical world: time as a measure of the numerical order of change.


“Time as the numerical order of change” now we are getting somewhere, but I think it can be simplified even further.


Those of you familiar with my work on Meso-American Calendrics might consider me an expert on the question of time. Calendars measure and keep track of time by counting days, weeks, months, years, decades and so on. Before the advent of micro-time keeping devices such as sundials, hourglasses and clocks the most basic whole unit of time was a day-night cycle. We might surmise that time is related to the day-night cycle, but what is a day-night cycle?


STOP DON’T MOVE ! Impossible I say !

A day-night cycle is how we experience the earth’s axial rotation as it orbits the sun. And what is rotation? Rotation is a type of movement. Therein lies the answer to the question of what clocks do. Clocks are designed to keep pace with the earth’s rotation and rotation is a type of movement. We may therefore conclude that time is the equivalent of movement.

Now… how does my conclusion square with “time as the numerical order of change”. We can drop the ‘numerical order” part because those are the labels we affix to the increments of change in order to measure and classify change.


I CAN’T CHANGE! If you can move you can change.

So what is change? The dictionary defines change as “to make or become different”. But how does something become different? Something changes because some aspect of the thing in questions has moved. Movement in the chemicals of a leaf leads to color change, and when you’ve “changed” your hair it’s because someone moved a pair of scissors through it. Everything is constantly moving relative to everything else, and that is what gives us change. In an absolutely frozen universe, nothing would move. Time would stand still since we can only measure time in relation to things moving relative to one another.

Therefore time as an entity in an of itself is the equivalent of movement. Time is a convenient term because of all the connotations and implications inherent in the layman concept of time. It is much easier to say, “what time is it?”, than to say, “how much has the earth moved since the sun came up”.



Native Americans inclusive of the Maya did not have a word for time and some have suggested that the Mayan word closest in meaning to our idea of time is their word for movement.

MAC views the creation of world and universe at large as the interplay between two fundamental principles—movement and measure.

Measure, according to MAC cosmology, may be understood as the phenomenal world defined in terms of colors, forms and cyclicality. Cyclicality may be defined as recurring sequences of time characterized by specific qualities. A sequence of time within MAC cosmology starts with a day-night cycle, but identifies many other patterned sequences each with its specific number of days.

Now contrast the Mesoamerican view of the cosmos with that of the Western view. In the West we begin to define the overriding or foundational features of the universe as having 3 dimensions of space known as width, depth and height.

We can say that Western cosmology is object and quantitatively focused, while MAC cosmology is qualitative and process focused. The difference in focus is verified by a linguistic analysis that finds European languages are structured around an emphasis on nouns or objects whereas Native American languages are structured around an emphasis on verbs or the process of objects.

Western science has gone on to develop material science to astonishing heights and depths while the process focused mind of the ancient Mesoamerican went on to discover the qualitative and quantitative structure of time itself. That is the very structure and order of change as movement. A discovery that I consider is the greatest natural history discovery of all time!

The implication of structured change as a fundamental cosmic order means that change as movement is predetermined. And that means that the change we experience in our lives is not random, ruled by chance or accidental, but rather follows a specific and patterned process as defined by the Tzolkin calendar code.

In an infinitely ordered cosmos, everything is infinitely interrelated and therefore infinitely synchronized, since everything moves as a singular whole. A whole whose entire movements are interrelated by a knowable set of rules. Those rules are encoded in the Tzolkin calendar, they were amplified by Dr. Jose Arguelles, and they are now articulated and empirically validated by Tzolkin Cosmology. 



  1. Rohaan Solare

    It may take a while to sink in because “time as movement” seems almost too simplistic because humans have complexified and mystified time for hundreds of generations. The word “time” does not help because of the abstractions its associated with, but when boiled down to movement it should ground. Here is the “warning label” I put on material I publish on TC.

    Tzolkin Cosmology is a radically new understanding of how our reality far and near operates and of how we fit into and develop in accord with cosmic order.

    The language of Tzolkin Cosmology is going to sound foreign and strange to you. The language of TC is not something that you are going to grasp or become accustomed to in one sitting. Some patience, testing and acclimation is required.

    Humans have strived since time immemorial to understand their world and our present day mental condition is littered with the residues of defunct cosmologies (religions/spiritualities), a fragmented scientific domain and plenty of charlatanism.

    There is significant unlearning and learning to be done. Be patient with the process and you will be rewarded with something truly marvelous and beyond anything anybody ever expected about how our universe is organized.

  2. Allan Zade

    There is a right answer on all questions mentioned above. The answer was published in the form of an article titled – at: “International Journal of Scientific and Research Publications (IJSRP), Volume 2, Issue 10, October 2012 Edition”

    • Rohaan Solare

      Allan thanks for that. I will post my comments once I’ve read it. In fact would you do this to save time. I’m pressed for it and your article is long. If you think you have a handle on what time is then you should be able to explain it in one paragraph or two.

  3. Allan Zade

    to Rohaan Solare

    There is not a philosophical question with easy answer. According the article we have the following things:

    What is Time?

    Logical Definition: Time is a logical link in human mind to any physical process that has observable duration.
    Physical Definition: Time does not exist (and never existed) as a physical property of the Universe.
    Mathematical Definition: Time means a rate of durations between any two different physical processes.
    Philosophical Definition: Time is ancient innate idea of humankind.
    Common Definition: Time is a link between indication of a clock and duration of its own internal recurrent physical process.

    What is “Now”?

    “Now” is a point in the Universe from where an observer (object, body, etc.) makes interaction with surrounding Universe.

    • Rohaan Solare

      Allen I find your definitions are not as simple as they could be. The question of what time is should start from where we derive our notion of time. The passage of time first and foremost means the day-night cycle phenomena. And what is the day-night cycle phenomena?

      A day-night cycle is how we experience the earth’s axial rotation as it orbits the sun. And what is rotation? Rotation is a type of movement.

      Clocks are designed to keep pace with the earth’s rotation and rotation is a type of movement. We may therefore conclude that time is the equivalent of movement. There is your logical and foundational meaning of time.

      Time is not a philosophical question. It’s a mechanical question. In an absolutely frozen universe, nothing would move. Time would stand still since we can only measure time in relation to things moving relative to one another.

  4. Allan Zade

    to Rohaan Solare

    RS> The passage of time first and foremost means the day-night cycle phenomena. And what is the day-night cycle phenomena?

    What is “the passage of Time”? That is nothing more than your memories about something happened before the present moment. Cut off all your memories, and you have the perfect Universe without any “passage of time.” In that case, you have only impression of the present moment without any memories about the Past. Moreover, any reference outside of the present moment becomes NULL that way.

    Memory is an aspect of the human mind. Therefore, any “passage of Time” or “feeling of Time” depends only on the human perception and does not exist outside of the human mind.

    • Rohaan Solare

      Well that’s a convenient way of making your model of time work. Problem is we don’t live in the universe you describe. Even so the world we perceive exists with or without our memory and planets happen revolve around stars. It is that process that gives us our sense of time.

  5. Allan Zade

    to Rohaan Solare

    RS> It is that process that gives us our sense of time.

    Well, in that case, as long as you stay on the ground, your sense gives you ideas that the Earth is flat, and the Sun moves around the Earth. (I’m sorry for such obvious counter-augment).

    The humankind lived for many centuries with such illusions. Many brilliant thinkers were burnt on the stakes because of their different point of view on “obvious ideas coming from the human sense.” They told them that the Earth cannot be round because all water flows DOWN from the round Earth, and the Earth becomes dry!

    My recently published paper ‘The Human Illusion of the Time Line’ discusses the same illusion in relation with the modern point of view. The paper is accessible by the following link:

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