First, I would like nothing more than for someone to thoughtfully criticize and challenge my work. Understand that all of my responses are written while sporting a Cheshire Cat grin. Any constructive engagement on topics such as this is exceedingly rare and thus appreciated.
Now down the rabbit hole of time. Although I prefer to avoid assumptions wherever possible, being that we are inside of the very experiment we are trying to rationalize, often we have to accept a Descartes-esque position. In this case, the state of the universe changes at some pace. Why? I doubt we will ever be able to see behind that veil.
But attempting to reduce the question to its smallest possible truth, what we perceive as the passage of time is directly impacted by the speed of light. We do nearly all scientific measurements using light propagation or dependent on the relative velocity of fundamental particles.
For example, atomic clocks are dependent on the radioactive emission of caesium-133 or other specific isotopes. Since this emission is dependent on the interaction stability of the atomic nuclei (protons/neutrons), it is unaffected by heat or any other environmental influence short of altering the atom nuclei itself. Therefore, the only variable that impacts this rate of emission/decay is its relativistic state. And in the simplest terms, conventional standard model particles are limited to an aggregate velocity of ‘c’ This is impacted primarily through linear velocity and gravitational potential. This “time dilation” phenomenon is Albert Einstein’s crowning contribution to science.
Therefore, time dilation itself appears to be the cause of standard model speed limits, regulating the atomic interaction rate between hadrons and electrons, setting the rate of chemical and electrical reactions in all matter, and providing us with the state change pace of the universe that we observe and affectionately call the passage of time.
Being that there are many exceptions to the speed of light limit, that all directly observable standard model particles are the source of and largely comply with it, and that the more of it that is around (which we interpret as the “fictional force” [Einstein’s own words] of gravity) the slower things go, I prefer to interpret it as a particle field.
So, per my theory, a “celerity” boson which itself moves at a true ‘c’ speed, is emitted linearly in the direct path of all affected standard model particles. This provides the common ‘c’ rate we tend to observe, but also accounts for the dilation effect of a dense field of these particles in a limited space (gravity well).
I do have to presume that the ‘c’ boson propagates at true ‘c’ which is an improved substitution for the ether-like exotic manifold of spacetime. I don’t know where they come from or why they have that velocity specifically, but I am confident that paradigm shift resolves nearly all other scenarios where spacetime is problematic. Also, I am working on analysis of some deep-space multimessenger observations 9of which there are surprisingly few) which support this theory, as well as a laboratory experiment that can directly characterize the ‘c’ boson wavefront and potentially find a wavelength value for gravity waves themselves. Not to sound boastful, but having attainable methods for providing observational and experimental support already separates this theory from most of what is out there.
So, very long story short, “time” is really just the rate of standard model particle propagation mitigated by time dilation. And as Einstein wrote, “For those of us who believe in physics, the distinction between past, present and future is only a stubbornly persistent illusion". In other words, time is not itself a place or dimension that can be traveled. “Now” is all that exists.
The document linked here is a few years old and needs to be revised/expanded, but it provides many of my primary ideas and arguments. I plan to post more on this specific topic, and hopefully look for the results of my experiments in the next year or 2.