If time is an illusion, why do we grow old? 

We grow old because time is not an illusion. Some physicists may disagree with this because they find it hard distinguishing between change and time, understanding the real concept of the relativity of time, and a number of other rather mystical theories researchers have developed on the topic of time being an illusion over the years. This phenomenon has been more extensively discussed in my previous publication on whether or not time really exists. 

This is not so much of an opinion article. With a few points in this piece, I will make you see how change is not directly time, and how time exists, independent of the mind, and why we ultimately will grow old (with time). My points (or most of them) will be underscored by valid premises accompanied with the conclusions of other researchers. They are questions you and I will answer. 

Change May Stop, But Why? 

While it is quite fundamental that change is consistent, certain things may change until they no longer change in certain ways. Every healthy human being does not die the way he was born. Change happens. He gets taller because the skeleton grows, but the growth stops, starting from the hands and feet. The feet plate is expected to stop growing within the first twenty years of the existence of a man. 

The stoppage (change) of this growth is as a result of what, or a matter of what? Something we created in our minds? Another change? Or simply the time in human perception? Well, it should be clear enough that it stops in a matter of what can be measured independent of our thoughts — something that, in fact, science has since long measured — time. 

Changes are constant, but they start and (if they will) stop in a matter of time. 

When does change happen? 

Time is an illusion

Going further with the previous point, and in a way preparing you for the succeeding ones, we shall ask ourselves ‘when does change happen?’. 

Things decay. Things live and may stop to live. The development, growth, or change of the characteristics in humans and other things around him are peculiar to certain points in its existence. If these points are not inferred as time, then neither space nor change will be in the position to define it. 

The misconception of the nature of relativity and similar concepts in physics is the reason for the conclusion that time actually doesn’t exist [Thought Co]. We must understand how by saying that time is an illusion, Einstein only attempted to show the keen relationship between time and space resulting in the space-time theory. Time may not be able to exist on its own 

The theory of Power should also come to mind, as discussed in the previous ‘Time’ article. To him, if we say that time does not exist, then we are equally of the opinion that the things we experience do not exist, because they do definitely happen at certain points (in time). So shall we now think of change. It doesn’t just happen, it does in a matter of what can only be perfectly seen as time. 

How is change different from time? 

Change is not time, yet both appear to be inseparable. We learnt that time marks differences, while change is the differences that occur in a thing. 

Scientists said there is no time unless it is defined as change. Similarly, it was said that if no change occurs, there is no time. Both ideas may not be completely true, but they do not appear to be odd for the reality of time either. 

If we say for instance that time cannot occur without change, then we may be equally saying that unless the weather changes (turn dark or so), the human body system (say circadian rhythm) would not make us feel relaxed and sleepy when it is time. It is only natural. The behavioural, mental, and physical changes that come with circadian rhythm are marked by time. 

Why do we grow old if time is an illusion?

Why do we grow old if time is an illusion

The misconceptualization of the concepts ‘time’ and ‘illusion’ may be largely responsible for our notion of whether time exists. Both should be clearly understood. 

What is time? 

Neither scientists nor philosophers really know what time is or why it exists. [Bryan Christie Design] Most people discussing time don’t know what it is, and ultimately how it is not change

Time can be seen as an experience, according to Wiktionary. It is also the progression of experience, events, or series of occurrences, from one point to another. Physicists seem to agree that occurrences are usually first embedded in the future, draw near to present, and later travel to the past and even go into the distant past. 

What is Illusion? 

The misinterpretation or wrong perception of a thing sensed may be regarded as illusion. It is close but not the same with such other words as hallucination. 

According to recent research, one may also be said to be having an illusion if he perceives less than is real about the property of a thing. Particularly, this was later termed the ‘anosognosic” of time. 

Having understood these concepts, it is plausible to add that the flow of time may be unreal, but time itself is as real as space. [Scientific American

We grow old and we know it because change and time work hand in hand. It is almost impossible for one to work without the other. When your milk teeth become permanent, change (a difference) happens, and we know when to expect such because something (time) has marked that difference in several other people and it is almost always uniform for everyone. 


Physicists are supposed to explain how reality does what we see, not to question the reality of those things [Forbes]. Since philosophy is known for having more questions than answers, I also think innocuous questions like this should rather be a thing for philosophers.

Time is not an illusion (upon great reasoning), and that is why we grow old. There is every reason for a right thinker who hasn’t committed himself to deep thinking to the extent of posing questions he doesn’t need to ask, to know that time exists. It is a thing that can be practically measured and determined — even with your watch. As you can see, time exists, and nothing else should tell you otherwise. I know knowledge is a curse. 

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