The biggest stumbling block is how we model time.
As mobile organisms, this sentient interface between body and world functions as a sequence of perceptions, in order to navigate, so our concept of time is of the point of the present moving past to future. Physics codifies it as measures of duration.
The reality is change turning future to past. Tomorrow becomes yesterday, because the earth turns. Duration is the present, as the events rise and fall.
There is no literal dimension of time, because the past is consumed by the present, to inform and drive it. Causality and conservation of energy. Cause becomes effect.
Time is asymmetric, because it is a measure of action and action is inertial. The earth only turns one direction.
Different clocks can run at different rates simply because they are separate actions. Think metabolism. Nature is so diverse and so integrated, because everything doesn't march to the beat of the same drummer.
Energy is "conserved," because it manifests the present, creating time, as well as temperature, pressure, color and sound. Time is frequency, events are amplitude.
So energy, as present, goes past to future, while the patterns generated go future to past. Energy drives the wave, while the fluctuations rise and fall. No tiny strings necessary.
Consciousness also goes past to future, while the perceptions, emotions and thoughts giving it form and structure go future to past. Suggesting consciousness does function as a form of energy and thus causal, though it is the digestive, respiratory and circulatory systems processing the energy and feeding the flame, while the central nervous system sorts the information, signals from the noise. Thus our intellectual focus on the patterns, rather than the processes generating them.
Which goes to the map versus territory question of the supposed primacy of math. The function of a map, as well as math, is to extract signal from the noise. If the map tried to describe every detail of the territory, it would revert back to noise, a whiteout of too much information. Similarly math is descriptive, not explanatory. It is simply useful signals, not the source of the noise. Map, not territory.