Why should I care when I can calculate new x and new time with Lorentz transformation?
Answer: it can give some qualitative intuition on what is larger/smaller happens before/after based only on arguably more intuitive geometric considerations, without requiring you to do any calculations, see e.g. Figure "Spacetime diagram illustrating how faster-than-light travel implies time travel".
A subset of Spacetime diagram.
The key insights that it gives are:
- future and past are well defined: every reference frame sees your future in your future cone, and your past in your past coneOtherwise causality could be violated, and then things would go really bad, you could tell your past self to tell your past self to tell your past self to do something.You can only affect the outcome of events in your future cone, and you can only be affected by events in your past cone. You can't travel fast enough to affect.Two spacetime events with such fixed causality are called timelike-separated events.
- every other event (to right and left, known as spacelike-separated events) can be measured to happen before or after your current spacetime event by different observers.But that does not violate causality, because you just can't reach those spacetime points anyways to affect them.
The opposite of spacelike-separated events.
On the light cone, these are events on the left/right part of the cone.
Different observers might not agree on the order of two spacelike-separated events.
Further discussion at Section "Light cone".
The opposite of those events are timelike-separated events.