Author Topic: Is the future already written?  (Read 2814 times)

Offline Baruch

Re: Is the future already written?
« Reply #15 on: September 11, 2018, 09:36:59 PM »
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I'm not sure I agree that the past is illusory, experientially or otherwise.  There are events that it is generally agreed happened in the past.  I will agree that the future is illusory in that it hasn't happened yet, so that we cannot speak with authority about it except in the very broadest strokes.

There was an attack with jets on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon and a failed one believed to be intended for the Capitol that crashed in Pennsylvania 17 years ago today -- do you agree that these events actually happened, or is that an experiential illusion because it happened in the past and may or may not have been a real event?

But it wasn't the event 17 years ago, but the interpretation of it then, and later ... that is the illusion.  It is based on those interpretations that actions are taken.
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Offline Hakurei Reimu

Re: Is the future already written?
« Reply #16 on: September 11, 2018, 09:47:13 PM »
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The idea of eternalism, that the past, present, and future all equally real and that speed and motion determine our perception of time, makes sense to me. Eternalism seems to be supported by experiments involving high-speed aircraft measuring time variation based on speed and direction. The main arguments I have read objecting to this theory is that 1) it is counterintuitive to our lived experience and 2) it is deterministic and eliminates "free will." I don't think either of these arguments is very strong. What are your thoughts?
There's no functional difference between an undetermined future and a determined future you are completely ignorant about. As such, a 100% determined, but opaque, future is completely within our realm of lived experience, demolishing (1), and even if you did know the future, a deterministic future does not prevent you from doing what you want... you just have to realize that "doing what you want" is not a magic incantation that allows you to defy the laws of the universe, and this destroys (2) β€” your actions feel as free as they did when you were ignorant of the future.

BTW, there are many, many more experiments than the Hafele and Keating experiment (the one involving planes) that test SR and GR. Neither hinge on any one experiment.
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Offline Sal1981

Re: Is the future already written?
« Reply #17 on: September 11, 2018, 10:14:37 PM »
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I'm not sure I agree that the past is illusory, experientially or otherwise.  There are events that it is generally agreed happened in the past.  I will agree that the future is illusory in that it hasn't happened yet, so that we cannot speak with authority about it except in the very broadest strokes.

There was an attack with jets on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon and a failed one believed to be intended for the Capitol that crashed in Pennsylvania 17 years ago today -- do you agree that these events actually happened, or is that an experiential illusion because it happened in the past and may or may not have been a real event?
A common misunderstanding against presentism is that events don't unfold or that the way we view past events somehow gives credence to the block universe view of time.

I think that, thanks to memory, events that have transpired, were a result of presentist unfolding then. The universes configuration, as a viscous whole, was different 17 years ago.

The trappings of language, and thanks to sci-fi involving backwards time-travel among other things, means that we're mired into time being more than an illusion. We don't live in the past, that has already transpired, we don't live in the future, it is yet to come. We only live in the present.

The fact that timed events aren't universal, but localized, thanks to 2 discordiant atomic clocks and the measurement of neutrinos existing long enough to reach the surface of the Earth after penetrating the atmosphere (even though they shouldn't according to classical mechanics) are good indicators that time, the way we usually assign timed events just isn't real, but instead artifacts of our perception of them. I mean, the way our brains store memories certainly makes the past vivid and seem real in the same manner the present seems real, because we can conjure images from our past just by delving into our memories.


The same way gravity can be described as a curvature of space caused by matter lumping together (since matter attracts matter); in a similar manner I think time, particularly The Arrow of Time, can be described from an entropy increasing perspective, where change caused by entropy, is the driving factor.
"The first principle is that you must not fool yourself - and you are the easiest person to fool" --- Richard P. Feynman

Offline trdsf

Re: Is the future already written?
« Reply #18 on: September 11, 2018, 11:25:00 PM »
Okay, that's a much better explanation than the one on Wikipedia.  I still don't think I agree with it, but that makes more sense.

I'm more inclined to something along the lines of the growing block view, at least insofar as our past does in some sense still exist as information spreading outward from here at the speed of light -- any hypothetical Proxima Centauran listening to our radio and watching our TV is experiencing our past of 4.3 years ago as its present, after all.

Pending a better scientific explanation of time, at any rate.  I don't really like philosophical interpretations of what time is any better than I do of what quantum mechanics is.  I'm perfectly happy with "time is still pending a good explanation".
Sir Terry Pratchett, on being told about the theory that the universe is a computer simulation: "If we all get out and in again, would it start to work properly this time?"

Online Shiranu

Re: Is the future already written?
« Reply #19 on: September 12, 2018, 12:51:36 AM »
Quote
There was an attack with jets on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon and a failed one believed to be intended for the Capitol that crashed in Pennsylvania 17 years ago today -- do you agree that these events actually happened, or is that an experiential illusion because it happened in the past and may or may not have been a real event?

In my perspective...

Yes, they happened. That's it. Their consequences might still reverberate through the present, but they no longer exist, are no longer real entities.

By viewing the past as "real" we try to equate it with what is truly real; stuff we can use our senses to interact with, and this causes the brain to put too my emphasis on the past (or even the future in imagining what might be) and distract us from the only truly important point of time... the now.

We should certainly learn from the past, but we have to also to truly "learn" from in, as in have it inherently influence our actions. What passes as "learning" from the past is often times just continuing to do whatever we were doing then realising halfway through it's a bad idea. That's not learning, that's reacting. True learning would have us not make those mistakes in the first place.
"Judge a moth by the beauty of its candle." - Rumi

Offline Cavebear

Re: Is the future already written?
« Reply #20 on: September 12, 2018, 01:02:50 AM »
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Okay, that's a much better explanation than the one on Wikipedia.  I still don't think I agree with it, but that makes more sense.

I'm more inclined to something along the lines of the growing block view, at least insofar as our past does in some sense still exist as information spreading outward from here at the speed of light -- any hypothetical Proxima Centauran listening to our radio and watching our TV is experiencing our past of 4.3 years ago as its present, after all.

Pending a better scientific explanation of time, at any rate.  I don't really like philosophical interpretations of what time is any better than I do of what quantum mechanics is.  I'm perfectly happy with "time is still pending a good explanation".

I expect a forward motion of time is the norm.  All evidence I see of chemical processes is forward, light not move forward and backward, senses suggest a continuing process, etc.

I vaguely recall a sci-fi story where the future was discovered to be the past and all process were reversed.  It was a good attempt, but basically ludicrous.  It requires that our bodies sucked feces into our anuses, converted it to complex matter, and eventually expelled broccoli out of our mouths  to be planted in the ground and reduced to seeds.

The whole idea makes no sense.  So the logical chemical and biological progression leads to only one direction of time. 

I might give some consideration to some sort of simultaneous time where all things happen at "once" (whatever that would mean) and we humans arrange it somehow.  But what of such small microbes with no brains to arrange such a complex concept as "time"?  No, I think there is time and it goes one way toward entropy. 
Atheist born, atheist bred.  And when I die, atheist dead!

Offline Cavebear

Re: Is the future already written?
« Reply #21 on: September 12, 2018, 01:07:23 AM »
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In my perspective...

Yes, they happened. That's it. Their consequences might still reverberate through the present, but they no longer exist, are no longer real entities.

By viewing the past as "real" we try to equate it with what is truly real; stuff we can use our senses to interact with, and this causes the brain to put too my emphasis on the past (or even the future in imagining what might be) and distract us from the only truly important point of time... the now.

We should certainly learn from the past, but we have to also to truly "learn" from in, as in have it inherently influence our actions. What passes as "learning" from the past is often times just continuing to do whatever we were doing then realising halfway through it's a bad idea. That's not learning, that's reacting. True learning would have us not make those mistakes in the first place.

May I point out that, by you suggesting the past is not real "viewing the past as "real", and then saying "We should certainly learn from the past", you are contradicting your argument?
Atheist born, atheist bred.  And when I die, atheist dead!

Online Shiranu

Re: Is the future already written?
« Reply #22 on: September 12, 2018, 01:20:02 AM »
I don't see any contradiction, as there are plenty of non-real things we can learn from.

Philosophy is not "real", yet one can learn from it. Nor is if you really want to dive into it concepts like language or math, yet we can still learn from them.

But you cannot touch philosophy, nor taste language or "see" math. You can only see or hear abstract interpretations and symbols used to represent these things. Likewise you cannot, in any way, influence or be directly influenced by anything in the past nor future. Any stimuli that effects you is completely and utterly in the present, and thus "real".

History is useful like the concepts of philosophy, or language, or math, or any other abstract representation that our mind uses to interpret reality... but we also have to understand it is both not a "real" thing and our interpretation is inherently going to be flawed because it is not a perceived stimuli but rather an abstract imagining of stimuli that have already ended. These are concepts meant to made our lives easier, but they shouldn't hold more influence than life itself.

This is of course coming at it all from a human point of view; it may well be possible that entities can "sense" time like we can sense smell or sight... but even then, unless they can sense time that has already been or will be and not just time as it exists in the present, then they too would be stuck in a universe where both the past and future are not "real" and only the present is "real" (it would just be even more real than it is for us). Unless the universe also exists outside the concept of time then it is irrelevant for our daily lives if the past or present is "real", and even then it would only be relevant if something from that "outside of time" universe was to influence our reality.

All that is to say that it is at it's core just a matter of focusing on what can be changed or interacted with and accepting what cannot.
« Last Edit: September 12, 2018, 01:28:25 AM by Shiranu »
"Judge a moth by the beauty of its candle." - Rumi

Online Shiranu

Re: Is the future already written?
« Reply #23 on: September 12, 2018, 01:31:10 AM »
Disclaimer: I also do way too many hallucinogens while listening to philosophy videos, so listening to me on subjects like this is probably not the best idea.

I'm not going to judge anyone for viewing time differently than me (that would be... really stupid), that is just simply how I view the concept of time.
"Judge a moth by the beauty of its candle." - Rumi

Offline Cavebear

Re: Is the future already written?
« Reply #24 on: September 12, 2018, 01:33:05 AM »
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I don't see any contradiction, as there are plenty of non-real things we can learn from.

Philosophy is not "real", yet one can learn from it. Nor is if you really want to dive into it concepts like language or math, yet we can still learn from them.

But you cannot touch philosophy, nor taste language or "see" math. You can only see or hear abstract interpretations and symbols used to represent these things. Likewise you cannot, in any way, influence or be directly influenced by anything in the past nor future. Any stimuli that effects you is completely and utterly in the present, and thus "real".

History is useful like the concepts of philosophy, or language, or math, or any other abstract representation that our mind uses to interpret reality... but we also have to understand it is both not a "real" thing and our interpretation is inherently going to be flawed because it is not a perceived stimuli but rather an abstract imagining of stimuli that have already ended. These are concepts meant to made our lives easier, but they shouldn't hold more influence than life itself.

This is of course coming at it all from a human point of view; it may well be possible that entities can "sense" time like we can sense smell or sight... but even then, unless they can sense time that has already been or will be and not just time as it exists in the present, then they too would be stuck in a universe where both the past and future are not "real" and only the present is "real" (it would just be even more real than it is for us). Unless the universe also exists outside the concept of time then it is irrelevant for our daily lives if the past or present is "real", and even then it would only be relevant if something from that "outside of time" universe was to influence our reality.

All that is to say that it is at it's core just a matter of focusing on what can be changed or interacted with and accepting what cannot.

That was very nice and all, but aside from the point.  I was merely pointing out that in one sentence you denied the past existed and then in another, referred to the past as real.
Atheist born, atheist bred.  And when I die, atheist dead!

Offline Cavebear

Re: Is the future already written?
« Reply #25 on: September 12, 2018, 01:37:55 AM »
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Disclaimer: I also do way too many hallucinogens while listening to philosophy videos, so listening to me on subjects like this is probably not the best idea.

I'm not going to judge anyone for viewing time differently than me (that would be... really stupid), that is just simply how I view the concept of time.

I'll never criticize anyone for using mind-altering drugs in general.  In college, they certainly changed my sense of time temporarily.  I once leaned towards a wall after "indulging" and for about 20 minutes, floated down toward a verdant valley below in slow-motion. My friends told me the next day that the wall was too far away and I basically just fell.

Time was relative to them and me...  And I really liked my version better at the time.
Atheist born, atheist bred.  And when I die, atheist dead!

Online Shiranu

Re: Is the future already written?
« Reply #26 on: September 12, 2018, 01:41:25 AM »
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That was very nice and all, but aside from the point.  I was merely pointing out that in one sentence you denied the past existed and then in another, referred to the past as real.

I never denied it existed or that it wasn't real when it happened, only that it no longer exists nor is real any longer... the past is just an abstract interpretation of what once was which can never be as "real" as what is.

That felt like some "Alice In Wonderland" trying to write that...
« Last Edit: September 12, 2018, 01:43:25 AM by Shiranu »
"Judge a moth by the beauty of its candle." - Rumi

Offline Cavebear

Re: Is the future already written?
« Reply #27 on: September 12, 2018, 03:37:47 AM »
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I never denied it existed or that it wasn't real when it happened, only that it no longer exists nor is real any longer... the past is just an abstract interpretation of what once was which can never be as "real" as what is.

That felt like some "Alice In Wonderland" trying to write that...

If something was real (as the present in the past), why would you think it is not still true in the present?  Did the past change?  I think the confusion some people have about the past is that, while they can't know the past perfectly, it still happened and it is out understanding of the past that is in error. 

To give an example, there are records about the Battle of Waterloo.  We have a general understanding of the specific engagements and what the Generals were thinking from records of the time and evidence we find later.  But it will never be a perfect understanding of the battle because there are details never recorded.

But that doesn't mean the battle never took place or that we don't know the general events.  The details we don't know DID happen even if we don't know all of them.  They occurred in the present of those who were there.

Atheist born, atheist bred.  And when I die, atheist dead!

Offline Baruch

Re: Is the future already written?
« Reply #28 on: September 12, 2018, 06:48:28 AM »
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There's no functional difference between an undetermined future and a determined future you are completely ignorant about. As such, a 100% determined, but opaque, future is completely within our realm of lived experience, demolishing (1), and even if you did know the future, a deterministic future does not prevent you from doing what you want... you just have to realize that "doing what you want" is not a magic incantation that allows you to defy the laws of the universe, and this destroys (2) β€” your actions feel as free as they did when you were ignorant of the future.

BTW, there are many, many more experiments than the Hafele and Keating experiment (the one involving planes) that test SR and GR. Neither hinge on any one experiment.

Assuming logic ... and given the equations, certain results pertain.  But did Michelson/Morley disprove the luminiferous ether?  Well apparently not, because the Dirac Equation and QFT put it back, in a new form, and consistent with STR.  Virtual particles/photons.  In terms of decisive time dilation, only the results of muon etc decay rates convinces me.  But GRT is contrary to QFT.  They haven't ever been reconciled.
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Offline Baruch

Re: Is the future already written?
« Reply #29 on: September 12, 2018, 06:50:47 AM »
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Okay, that's a much better explanation than the one on Wikipedia.  I still don't think I agree with it, but that makes more sense.

I'm more inclined to something along the lines of the growing block view, at least insofar as our past does in some sense still exist as information spreading outward from here at the speed of light -- any hypothetical Proxima Centauran listening to our radio and watching our TV is experiencing our past of 4.3 years ago as its present, after all.

Pending a better scientific explanation of time, at any rate.  I don't really like philosophical interpretations of what time is any better than I do of what quantum mechanics is.  I'm perfectly happy with "time is still pending a good explanation".

If it isn't your present, but is for Alpha Centauri .. you are taking a god-perspective of the universe, an absolute view, like Newton.  This is also the perspective of the omniscient narrator in story telling.  And every human life is a story, it isn't factual, it is made up of free will, and free interpretation, no more valid than Bugs Bunny or Daffy Duck.  The problem for objectivism (not Ayn Rand) is that it is what everyone agrees to, and which never changes (per Plato).  But free will and free interpretation aren't immutable.  This is why pre-determinists have to deny free will and free interpretation.  And coincidentally, how their particular omniscient narrator POV is the correct one ;-)
« Last Edit: September 12, 2018, 07:00:40 AM by Baruch »
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luu shalmaata luu balt’aata
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