On a clear night you may find yourself gazing upwards, admiring the beauty of all the small specks of light which are strewn across the sky. Imagine that on this night, the moon is fully visible and captures your attention. As you are gazing upon the moon, you notice a few stars around the moon. While this is quite a common scenario, have you ever stopped to think of what this actually implies?
Everything which we perceive through our visual perception is dependent on light. In the absence of light, no visual stimulus would be present to enable us to utilize this form of perception. It is necessary to realize our visual perception does not work like a radar system which sends information out, we are merely receiving information which has been sent to us from our surroundings. It is also necessary for one to understand that light travels at a constant speed, albeit quite fast (~670,616,629 mph). All I have discussed thus far is quite simple and does not require the intellect of Einstein to comprehend, but now I challenge you to really ponder the following.
If we are to consider the scenario of observing the moon while at the same time the stars which are beside the moon, we are essentially using our visual perception to detect the light which has traveled from the moon and the stars, to reach our place of observation here on earth. Given that light from the moon and stars has to travel over a given distance to reach earth, and that light travels at a constant speed, then it follows that all of which we perceive in space is actually of the object which we are perceiving, at a point which is further back in time than the moment upon which our visual perception is receiving the information. Due to the fact that the moon is much closer to earth than any of the stars around it which we were perceiving in the given scenario, we actually perceive the moon at any given moment in closer correlation to the time of our perception in comparison to the stars surrounding the moon. In summary, you perceive multiple objects, at multiple points in time, at any given moment.
While this observation is quite apparent when considering objects which are separated by great spans of space, this general notion still applies to your every day experience. Assuming you are sitting at a desk, view the top surface of the desk. Lets assume from your position in correlation to the surface of the desk, there is an edge close to you, and an opposing edge further away from you. Just as with the moon and stars, you are perceiving the edge of the desk closest to you in closer correlation to the moment of observation than the edge further away from you (albeit an incredibly small difference). Now if you look at the middle of the desk, between the two edges, you perceive the middle of the desk at a point in time which is between that of the two edges. Now if you look at the point on the desk half way between one of the edges and the middle, you are perceive that part of the desk at a time between the others, etc. Does this imply that at any moment you perceive an infinite amount of infinitely small intervals of time? How is one to even possibly comprehend perceiving an infinite amount of intervals of time?
While it may not be possible to directly answer this question, consider what happens when you tell a computer to calculate an infinite amount of intervals of space. Depending on the processing power of the computer, it will display a rough estimation of an answer. Increase the processing power and you will get a different answer to the calculation. Perhaps this may shed light onto how our brain comprehends this process in which we live, given that our brain acts as the processing unit for our visual perception. Thus if you are to get a different calculated estimation on a computer depending on processing power, so too will your brain arrive at a different estimation depending on its processing power.
While it may seem like I have not directly answered the question of whether or not time is real or relative, ponder that which I have shed light on and you may see the answer for yourself. I do not believe I can simply present you with various facts in order for you to draw a conclusion on this topic, instead I hope I may have broadened your perspective on the nature of our perceived reality and how our perception plays a major role in this process. For only through this process is one truly able to understand the abstract nature of time.