This might not come out all too clear, but for me, it was a novel way of thinking about time. It may very well be very wrong or unoriginal, but I never put it in this perspective before.
As a layman, I’ve often heard of space and time being the same thing, or at least, 2 sides of the same coin. I still always though of time as something that could be reckoned with directly. As an actual aspect of something tangible. Then, I began to strip the idea of time-as-tangible from what meager knowledge I have of physics. What if time didn’t exist. For real. Could time be a side effect of matter’s interaction with space (gravity?). Sort of like a shadow of a 3-dimensional object. We perceive the shadow, but it is nothing that can be directly interacted with, although it does seem very real to us, as if we could peel it off the ground if we didn’t know any better. I’m thinking time is nothing directly tangible as space is. Time is really only a perception humans have, only because our brains (physical as they are) are designed to process causality, being themselves subject to interacting within space.
I guess I thinking less of space and time as space-time, and more of time as a consequence of space and matter interacting through gravity’s lens.
Also, if the universe was nothing but empty space, could you say that time exists? What if you introduced one hydrogen atom?
Sorry if this isn’t very profound, I’ve had a couple beers.