Just to be ahead of everyone else on this, and as the insight is lurking in the publications of Talib and others here is an explanation of the origin and purpose of time :
Time is not an external independent factor. It is not a fourth dimension, in fact most people knowledgeable of the fundamental makeup of our reality will admit time does not exist. The simple reason for this is that our reality is instantaneous and ever fleeting, it is a fabric of interactions that never stop nor paces at the same rate everywhere, that is if you where able to 1. Determine its pace (impossible) and 2. Have a definition of location (which is hard).
The best way to envision reality (if you ask me) is to imagine a surface that develops into another surface and another all the time, as if billions of ants run around on it melt into each other and split and move to other parts, or some kind of traffic jam. But there is one thing to this reality : It is always now. There is no past or future in it, no signs or proof of it, it is in fact not possible for anyone in it to detect even the direction of time.
Quantum reality has no past or future, nor is there proof of a past or future to be found
We know time, we feel it, we understand time, we have memories of the past and visions of the future. We are an entirely different animal than the lifeless natural world from which we spawned. We have existed for millions of years never knowing our reality, and only recently have we been able to distance ourselves of our own reflex to assume time is a natural phenomenon existing outside ourselves. The question now to be answered is : Why time.
The answer is profound and simple. We humans have determined that the universe has a thermodynamic quality we call entropy. We also determined from our observations (the illusion we create of linked experiences also linked through time) that entropy always increases. Entropy is a measure of disorder. Our natural world as we know it, or the ‘flat’ reality that it realy is, demonstrates interactions that always increase entropy.
So highly concentrated energy will spread out into low value heat. For instance : Wood burning turns high energy carbon and hydrogen containing molecules (sugar, cellulose) into CO2 and heat, the entropic force always destroys order if that order contains energy enough to be destroyed. Once for instance the energy released from carbon and oxygen as it burns into CO2 has spread and dissipated it will never spontaneously reconcentrate, splitting CO2 and yielding O2 and C again. There is no escape from this thermodynamic law, not even for us.
Life however has developed a trick, it is highly organized and it stays that way. How does it do this? Life came about on earth because there was a source of high entropy in our solar system, the Sun. First organisms used sulfer which occurs naturally on a budding planet. But photons from the Sun (light) caused photochemical reactions in our oceans that gave rise to high entropy molecules like oxygen (created by photoelectric water splitting on rust and also because UV light generated H2O2, which falls apart into O2 and H2O during a period called ‘Snowball Earth’), this oxygen started the ball rolling for more energetic life.
Life is an anti entropic phenomenon, it has isolated entropy increase to create a cascade of entropy lowering mechanisms
Life may have begun as an accident, but once some lifeforms learned to move around they could actively change the influence of entropy on themselfs. They began to run from it’s grasp. Even if the first creatures did not have a sense of time, they did a wonderous thing : In order to prevent being returned to their constituent parts they sacrificed energy in a very controlled way, they allowed entropy to rise in their cells, to use that energy to move around to a place they expected or sensed their overal entropy would remain low. They learned to ‘survive’ the natural laws as an organism. Entropy made sure that those that did this well stuck around and those that didn’t fell prey to entropic decay or other organisms that liked the now highly organized organic bits life was made of.
Evolution has been a contiuous fight to keep entropy at bay
Fast forward to this day, because the principle may be clear : Life developed mechanisms to respond to the destructive forces of natur. Amongst these are our senses and sense memory and the ability to envision future outcomes for us to choose from. The brian of humans (and at least most mammals) can extract a model from sensory input and can label it with an unique quality to distinquish between states of reality : time.
The memory of past realities and our ability to step through them using the quality of time builds our sense of causality. We are no longer helpless victims of the laws of nature. In quantum reality there is no causality, things happen and then other things happen, without beginning or end, continuously, and always now. Things can only happen one way, the way they happen. Quantum reality is even believed to be deterministic, even as our experience of ‘observing’ it introduces statistic uncertainty (especially if we want to pinpoint interactions).
F. Rincker writes :
The sole purpose of time is to allow us to survive and better our fate
So time has a purpose. It is a faculty we have developed for a very specific reason : To survive and better our fate. To escape the forces of nature and be alive against all odds. The Sun made it possible for us, and it is the main reference of time for us, because its energy creates opportunities we must plan to grab to survive. We act during the day and sleep at night, always in synchrony with our star.
Taleb writes :
“Rationality is avoidance of systemic ruin” (source)
Indeed, rationality is the correct association of events in reality so that they can be used to construct beliefs about outcomes in the future that will help to choose behaviour that lets us survive and better our fate. Beyond Talebs statement we can even say that it is the purpose of time itself to allow us to avoid systemic ruin, which I find a statement of deeper profundity. Booya!