World Science Scholars

14.3 The Reality of Past, Present, and Future

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    • Are you convinced by the relativistic reasoning that the past and future are real – that they truly exist, just like the present?

    • There is only now. You can live in anxiety and fear of what might happen, then something completely different happens when unplanned variables occur. Revisiting past memories in regret and remorse, reliving the pain, keeps people living in the past. Consciousness translates from the metaphysical to the physical, from the psychological to the reality our neurons perceive as reality. People live in the past and future all of the time, and forget about the now. Carpe diem is more than just a trendy saying. Eastern philosophy and scientific studies have profound results in their research and the way they perceive their universe and reality. A unified way of thinking is needed to focus our energy on the now but for the infinite future.

    • I am partially convinced.

      I am convinced that now for different observers is different and they can’t agree on a single now (if they are moving with respect to each other), but there is still a now for every one of them. A bit like a group of observers could see a rainbow, but each would be looking at a slightly different version of that rainbow.

      What is it that makes something in my future move into my past. It seems Special Relativity doesn’t address this (yet?).

    • I’m not convinced.
      This method doesn’t allow use to see the future. It only reduces the delay in seeing (do to the speed of light.) The best we can do is to go the speed of light, then there’s no delay (even tho the object maybe light years away. )
      A distant observer sees our past do to the speed of light. This method also allows seeing us with a greater delay.

    • I’m not convinced at all:
      There is a past which we can trace back, on a cosmic scale right down to the big bang, and we are fairly sure about the cosmic history or, if you will, the cosmic past – on large scales.
      The present is a “floating” point transferring permanently from the past to the future. For us humans, it should be one of the major endeavors to “grab the moment” and live it.
      The future is unknown. We can speculate to some extent and on some scales what the future might hold, such as the transformation of our Sun into a red giant and then a white dwarf, or the mergers first with Triangulum and later with Andromeda or, looking out even farther both into space and time, the picture of “our” cosmos being a single, quite massive galaxy – and nothing else within what we know as the cosmic horizon.
      Something like a “now slice” ? I consider it absolutely meaningless, and it certainly is different from any idea of simultaneity (which we usually understand to have some meaning in terms of mutual relation, being between events ot in relation to us).

    • This honestly blew my mind. The fact that a hypothetical sentient being billions of light-years away moving towards or further from Earth in the right way can actually see a “future” now-slice from our perspective raises all kinds of philosophical issues like the existence of free will (i.e., how can that being see our future before we have even made the decisions to create that future?) that I can’t wrap my head around. But from a scientific POV, I have started processing the notion that a higher-dimensional being might see time as just another spatial dimension and can move freely from the past to the future to the present like we move from left to right, up to down. If I think of humans as 3-D beings trapped in a 4-D or 5-D world, these paradoxes make more sense–if we are seeing the implications of a higher-dimensional universe from our 3-D perspective, we are bound to run into paradoxes and weirdness that doesn’t make sense to us.

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