18 Sep 2008 @ 14:11, by Beto Hoisel
In September, 21th, 1908, exactly one century ago, science entered a kind of railroad switch that has taken its development to the point we are now. Today we see how different everything could be if the option were another, in that crucial point of the scientific evolution.
EXACTLY ONE CENTURY AGO
In September, 21th, 1908, exactly one century ago, science entered a kind of railroad switch that has taken its development to the point we are now. Today we see how different everything could be if the option were another, in that crucial point of the scientific evolution.
Let’s see what happened. At that time, in the city of Köln, Germany, was taking place the 80th Assembly of German Natural Scientists and Physicians, where Hermann Minkowsky presented his address “Space and Time”, a document that became one of the pillars of modern science. It opened with the prophetical words:
The views of space and time which I wish to lay before you have sprung from the soil of experimental physics, and therein lies their strength. They are radical. Henceforth space by itself, and time by itself, are doomed to fade away into mere shadows, and only a kind of union of the two will preserve an independent reality.
In that remarkable paper, Minkowsky enounces – among others – a statement that could redirection all forthcoming development of Physics if they were properly interpreted till their last consequences.
He stated that time, to fit the equations where it appeared without contradictions should be acknowledged as an imaginary value, and should be replaced with its equivalent tau where: t.
We can determine the ratio of the units of length and time beforehand in such a way that the natural limit of velocity becomes c=1. If we then introduce, further, t in place of t, the quadratic differential expression ddx – dy – dz – ds thus becomes perfectly symmetrical in x, y, z, s; and this symmetry is communicated to ant law which does not contradict the worldpostulate. Thus, the essence of this postulate may be clothed mathematically in a very pregnant manner in the mystic formula 3.105km= secs (our italics).
If this statement were literally understood, the nature of time would be seen in its correct ontological state, as an imaginary entity, belonging to the subjective side of totality. A spiritual dimension, the stone that builders rejected and later became the keystone. But the dominant paradigm of that epoch, which still prevails in materialistic science, couldn’t permit such a view of the imaginary face of wholeness, in spite of its mathematical representation as .
Some years later, Einstein commented in his book Relativity, the Special and General Theory:
Minkowsky's discovery [...] must be found mainly in the fact of his acknowledgment that the fourdimensional continuum of relativity [...] shows a pronounced relationship with the 3dimensional continuum of Euclidean space. However, to give the right importance to this relationship we should replace the usual coordinate t with an imaginary value t proportional to it. In such conditions, natural laws that satisfy the special theory of relativity exigencies assume mathematical forms where the time coordinates act precisely in the same way as space coordinates.
Notice that at the end of this quotation Einstein refers to “the times coordinates”, in the plural form, recognizing that time has more dimensions than the linear time adopted in Physics – that cannot see it as geometrical projection of a more complex set.
Another aspect of the nature of time also discerned by Minkowsky and Einstein but ignored by later science concerns to the linear flow, usually associated to a line (as Heraclitus' river) which shoul be seen as a projection of a more complex dimensional set. What puzzles me sometimes is that science, so many times beneficiary of cunning mathematical artifices, inserted in its interpretations and equations as esthetic resources didn't notice and reject the strange and asymmetrical dimensional organization of the world formed by three dimensions of space and only one of time.
In spite of the acknowledgment that t needs to assume its condition of imaginary value to satisfy its own theoretical propositions, this was not interpreted – either by Einstein or any of his successors – as a clear indication that time is 3dimensional, as an imaginary subjective dimensional set which insinuates in the physical world through a projection. To see time as a subjective imaginary entity is an ancient suggestion of philosophy, poetry and the thought known as "mystical", that for centuries hold their own views on this mysterious and basic field.

