Preprint Article Version 1 Preserved in Portico This version is not peer-reviewed

The Matter of Time

Version 1 : Received: 14 June 2021 / Approved: 15 June 2021 / Online: 15 June 2021 (16:07:39 CEST)

A peer-reviewed article of this Preprint also exists.

Annila, A. The Matter of Time. Entropy 2021, 23, 943. Annila, A. The Matter of Time. Entropy 2021, 23, 943.


About a century ago, in the spirit of ancient atomism, the quantum of light was renamed the photon to suggest its primacy as the fundamental element of everything. Since the photon carries energy in its period of time, a flux of photons inexorably embodies a flow of time. Time comprises periods as a trek comprises legs. The flows of quanta naturally select optimal paths, i.e., geodesics, to level out energy differences in the least time. While the flow equation can be written, it cannot be solved because the flows affect their driving forces, affecting the flows, and so on. As the forces, i.e., causes, and changes in motions, i.e., consequences, cannot be separated, the future remains unpredictable, however not all arbitrary but bounded by free energy. Eventually, when the system has attained a stationary state, where forces tally, there are no causes and no consequences. Then time does not advance as the quanta only orbit on and on.


arrow of time; causality; change; force; free energy; natural selection; nondeterminism; quantum; period; photon


Physical Sciences, Acoustics

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