Since Time Freezes at the Edge of a Black Hole, Could You Live Forever There?

Relativity theory is not about what happens to you. It is about what others see.

If time freezes at the edge of a black hole, does that mean that you could live forever if you could overcome the gravity? originally appeared on Quora, the place to gain and share knowledge, empowering people to learn from others and better understand the world. You can follow Quora on Twitter, Facebook, and Google Plus.

Whenever you think about time dilation in relativity theory, keep in mind that the theory is not about you. It is about what others see. As far as you are concerned, no matter where you are or how you move, time will always appear to pass as it always does.

So suppose you are in a super-fast spaceship. Every second of your life is a thousand years on Earth. Does this mean you live forever? Nope. You can still expect a normal human lifespan as measured by your own watch and calendar. Sure, billions of years would pass on the Earth in the meantime, but you will not experience billions of years. You will experience a few decades, like any human being would.

Or suppose you are deep inside a very powerful gravitational field. Extreme time dilation, right? But once again, it’s about what others see. Others, us here on the Earth, will see you age slowly and we will see your clock tick slowly. But as far as you are concerned, your clock will tick as it always does, and you will age exactly as fast as you would anywhere else.

So let me repeat the main point: Relativity theory is not about what happens to you. It is about what others, who are observing you, see.

This question originally appeared on Quora. More questions on Quora:

* Black Holes: Is wormhole our only hope for distant space travel?

* Gravity: Is gravity generating possible?

* Spacetime: How can I understand the 5th dimension?

Photo Credit: JupiterImages/Getty Images