'Eternalism' is not 'Timelessness'

When some people consider that the universe may be 'timeless' they seem to want to incorporate 'time' into the idea that time does not exist!

It is as if we are saying, of course time does not exist, but it must. I believe all of this confusion stems from us wrongly assuming that the contents of our minds prove there is a 'temporal past'. Once we have made this assumption we think this thing (the past) must exist in some way and must therefore be incorporated into all theories.

Consider however that this is a bit like assuming that without exception every 'map' we see must relate to a plot of land.Then on finding some 'map' drawn for fun or deceit, we insist the land it relates to must exist - in our failing to find any such land, instead of realising 'the map' only actually proves that 'the map' exists,  we end up endlessly trying to come up with explanations about how the land we never see 'must be'.

Eternalism is in my opinion a similar error, in that if we do not realise that perhaps 'our memories' only actually prove that 'our memories' exist, we end up endlessly trying to come up with explanations about how 'the land' they point to (the past and the future), that we never see, 'must be'.

  General, working definition of Eternalism.

Eternalism (philosophy of time)

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Eternalism is a philosophical approach to the ontological nature of time, which takes the view that all points in time are equally "real", as opposed to the presentist idea that only the present is real.[1] Modern advocates often take inspiration from the way time is modeled as a dimension in the theory of relativity, giving time a similar ontology to that of space (although the basic idea dates back at least to McTaggart's B-Theory of time, first published in The Unreality of Time in 1908, only three years after the first paper on relativity). This would mean that time is just another dimension, that future events are "already there", and that there is no objective flow of time. It is sometimes referred to as the "block time" or "block universe" theory due to its description of space-time as an unchanging four-dimensional "block",[2] as opposed to the view of the world as a three-dimensional space modulated by the passage of time.

What I am explaining a ‘Timelessness’ is not the same as ‘Externalism’,

Just as arguments about "how many wings the tooth fairy has" are pointless unless you have a valid reason to assume (s)he exists...
...surely arguing the nature of 'the past' and 'future' are pointless unless you have a valid reason to assume 'Time' exists...

Furthermore I would say ‘Eternalisim’ is incorrect.

The wikipedia definition above suggests...

Eternalism is a philosophical approach to the ontological nature of time, which takes the view that all points in time are equally "real",

(Wikipedia - “ontology deals with questions concerning what entities exist or can be said to exist)

Here, this is suggesting...

1-      There is a thing called ‘Time’, that exists, and has a nature.

2-      This ‘thing’ called time has different ‘points’ (e.g. ‘Past’ and ‘Future’ points).

3-      These various (all) ‘points’ in ‘time’ are equally real.


So, for ‘Eternalism’ to be valid, we must have a reason to suspect that a thing called ‘time’ exists, and some proof that things or ‘points’ called ‘the past’ and ‘the future’ also exist. (Then the discussion is are all these points in ‘time’ equally real – i.e. do they all constantly exist, just as ‘over there’ or ‘over here’ may be said to be places or points that constantly physically exist.

But consider that all we actually observe is a constant collection of matter (the universe), constantly moving, changing and interacting. Part of that which moves and changes is the contents of our minds, and as we look at that particular part of the universe (aka ‘our memories’), we may call what we see ‘evidence of the past’. However, no matter how many people look inside their own minds, and ‘call’ what they see ‘the past’ – this does not count as proof that there is a thing, or place that actually exists, called ‘the temporal’ (time based) ‘past’.

Likewise, people may construct and run models in their minds, and ‘call’ these models “thoughts about ‘the future’ ”  - But all these thoughts prove is that matter can exist and move and change in peoples minds – they do not prove there is a thing called ‘the future’ that exists.

So, re ‘Eternalisim’, the view that...

all points in time are equally "real",

Can only be said to be valid, or meaningful, if a thing called time exists, and if that thing has various ‘points’. So, unless the existence of ‘time’ and it’s points are proven elsewhere, the ‘theory’ of ‘Eternalisim’ in it’s attempt to explain the ‘ontology’ of ‘time’ is moot and ‘wrong’.

Wrong in the way that a theory arguing about “the number of wings ‘tooth fairies’ have” would be moot, or wrong, without proof or reason to sensibly believe ‘tooth fairies’ exist, and have some number of wings in the first place.

Note also, any theory about the nature or existence of ‘tooth fairies’ should also be able to dismiss other sensible explanations for what is observed – so if you believe in tooth fairies, you should be able to explain why it is not more likely that it is just parents that made up the story of their existence, and parents that actually exchange their children’s teeth for money.

Likewise any theory about ‘time’, and about the mysterious nature of the unseen ‘past’ and unseen ‘future’ should first be able to prove these things exist, and explain why it is not more likely that the world is just as it appears, (a massive collection of interacting matter), and prove that it is not more likely that we mistakenly assume ‘the past’ and ‘the future’ exist, by misinterpreting the contents of our minds. 

Return to >> 06 Advanced Timelessness.

On to >> 'Presentisim' - Wikipedia

Just as the existence of a piece of paper with lines on it does not necessarily mean it is a map of some existing land...
the existence of certain thoughts in your mind need not necessarily mean that the universe creates or stores a 'past' and 'future', as things around us move and change.