Planck time is the smallest measurable interval and equals t-43 second.
In that first instant of the Big Bang, the universe consists of pure energy at a temperature of 1032 Kelvin. It is smaller than an atom. And so, in this first instant, the cosmos exists as a quantum event, which means that this inconceivable intensity of energy is not actually a point but a probability cloud – the original wave function.
An interval later, at 10-35 second after the Big Bang, inflation expands three-dimensional space faster than light by a stupefying factor of 1050!
But before this happens, the entire content of the Big Bang – all the energy that will eventually express the hundreds of billions of galaxies of the universe – exists in a space smaller than an atom and therefore subject to quantum uncertainty.
So, at t-43 second, everything that ever will be is There as pure energy.
What might ‘time’ mean in this First Instant just prior to inflation?
The ‘quantum jitters’ happening at t-43 second are now visible, writ large in the cosmic microwave background as the irregularities among the incandescent galactic filaments and vast vacuoles devoid of stars.
Within that quantum event at t-43 second are all the possible ‘universes’ that could ever exist (the renowned ‘sum-over-histories’).
The peculiar nature of energy, of light, is that it has no rest mass, hence is time-free.
Einstein’s famous thought experiment about riding on a beam of light reveals that a photon arrives at its destination instantly – with no passage of time for the photon – and no distance traveled from the photon’s perspective.
Therefore, at t-43 second, when all that ever-will-be is light, is every thing and every place that will be already happening?
Are we, in truth, There now, at t-43 second, still entangled with Everything?
Is our whole mythology of Light – as emblem of consciousness and the Good as well as the “light-at-the-end-of-the-tunnel,” etc. – our ongoing inward entanglement with and experience of t-43 second – in the eternity just before inflation creates space – before the utter darkness of the void – into which we have been falling since – faster and ever deeper?