Timelessness is not 'Presentisim' - (Wikipedia)

Wikipedia states; "Presentism is the philosophical doctrine that only events and entities... that occur in the present exist. According to presentism, events and entities that are wholly past or wholly future do not exist at all."

This opening description alone can be seriously questioned and undermined from the outset by considering that all we basically, constantly, directly observe is that matter exists moves and changes.

Watching a collection of matter do something, e.g. a TV smashing into the ground, might be called 'an event'. But all of the matter that makes up any object is always just somewhere, doing something. The TV does not 'become a non existent past object, or event' just because it changes shape, just as a tree blowing in the wind does not constantly become a 'wholly future' or 'wholly past' event... whether growing, blowing in the wind, or decaying, all of the matter is always just here now, doing something.

Logically The 'idea' there is a 'past' or a 'future' or 'past and future events' (which might be understood or explained) should be proven (rather than just 'assumed' ) before we attempt to explain such ideas, or they are incorporated in any theory.

Presentism and Eternalism

What I am explaining as 'Timelessness' is not the same as the 'theory of Presentism Wikipedia page'. Although there are some similarities, the differences are wholly significant, and the fundamental conclusions are different to the extent that I am saying Presentism as described in wikipedia for example is basically incorrect -

Although, in my opinion, it is true that only the present exists, the theory know as 'Presentism' is incorrect and incomplete for two main reasons.

Firstly I think Presentism is incorrect because in it's very suggestion that only the present exists, the theory immediately relies on and uses the concepts of 'time' and 'the past' and 'the future'.

E.g. - The theory suggests only the present exists, because 'Time' has not 'yet' delivered future events or objects, and, only the present exists because 'time' has taken away other events and objects (e.g. people 'Homer') into the past.

  Wiki Quote  "we cannot for example say that Homer exists because at the present time he does not".

Secondly, the typical description of presentisim does not address the importance of realising that 'thoughts in our minds' - no matter what those thoughts are - only prove that the matter within our heads can change.

That is to say presentisim does not address the fact that, despite common assumptions,  there is no reason to suspect that 'the changing contents of our minds' in anyway suggest or prove that the universe 'also' holds 'another' 'past' record of all events somehow, some where.

I.e. presentisim seems to miss the idea that we should conclude 'only the present exists' simply because we never have any valid reason to even suspect a thing called 'the past' exists. 

(See >>>- How memories are timeless. )

A detailed breakdown of the Wikipedia definiton of 'Presentisim', follows...

From Wikipedia...

Wiki Main articles: Presentism (philosophy of time) and Eternalism (philosophy of time)

"According to Presentism, time is an ordering of various realities. At a certain time some things exist and others do not. This is the only reality we can deal with and we cannot for example say that Homer exists because at the present time he does not."

(see the Wikipedia entry for more detail on the definition of Presentism being disputed here )

Presentism” seems to be suggesting that time does not exist, but in doing so it seems to invoke and use aspects of time, e.g. ‘time order’ , and things not existing (e.g. ‘Homer’) because of times passing).

So for me Presentism is an excellent example of how the confusion caused by not spotting a wrong first assumption will almost always carry on through a discussion dooming it to more and more confusing complexity. In this case event the idea that there is only the present gets fatally contaminated with the idea of time.

When I say the universe is ‘Timeless’ some people assume I am just talking about the theory of Presentism, and thus that whatever I am saying is not new, not proven to be correct, and thus insignificant.

However, I am not re-describing Presentism, and I believe Presentism as described above,  is unfounded and invalid as follows.

Consider the following points from the wiki article (my emphasis)...

1 According to Presentism, time is an ordering of various realities.

2 At a certain time some things exist and others do not.

3 ...we cannot for example say that Homer exists because at the present time he does not.

These suggestions are contradictory, because they are attempting to explain how only the present exists.. in fact each suggestion that there is only ‘the present’ explicitly suggests this is something to do with at thing called ‘time’.

Specifically I think the errors in these 3 aspects of Presentism, described above, are...

1 According to Presentism, time is an ordering of various realities.

If time does not exist, i.e. if there is no future and no past, then time cannot flow between ‘the future’ and ‘the past’ and thus there cannot be an   ‘ordering of various realities’.

Furthermore, unless we have a valid reason to suspect that other than 'this reality' -other- realities exist, we should not be including the idea in any serious explanation of the world around us.

In ‘Timelessness’ I am suggesting that 'before' we jump to the conclusion that terms such as 'the past' and 'the future' need to be accounted for in any theory, we STOP. And first consider what we actually observe in the world around us at the most basic level - and thus be clear on what we need to, and need not, explain if we are discussing matter such as the possibility that ta hing called 'time' may or may not exist.

Fundamentally i think we first observe only that "things seem to ‘exist’ and ‘move and change’.

mis-interpreting 'memories'.

Part of that which exists, and moves, and changes, is our own minds. As things around us move and change, the contents of our minds also move and change – we may ‘call’ some of the changing contents of our minds ‘memories of the past’ – but – no matter how detailed and intricate various patterns in our minds may be, there is no actual reason to suspect these patterns prove that the universe ‘also’ makes some other record of any or all events in the universe.

In other words – all the parts of our minds we call ’memories’ prove is that things can move and change. The contents of our minds do not prove that there is also a ‘temporal past’. If there is no temporal past, then ‘events’ cannot be slipping into the ‘temporal past’ – and thus events cannot be slipping into the temporal past ‘in order’.

So, the suggestion “According to Presentism, time is an ordering of various realities”  is suggesting that there is only the present, while also suggesting there is a thing called ‘Time’ which orders events.

The timeless view suggests something significantly different which is...

  • Matter JUST (as in ‘only’) exists, moves and changes...
  • This matter includes our own minds...
  • Changes in our own minds may suggest to us that a thing called ‘the past’ in some way exists...
  • But careful analysis shows the idea ‘the past’ exists, in any way at all is completely un founded.
  • Thus, despite appearances and assumptions, there is no ‘Time’ and, and thus no ‘time order’ to events.
  • Instead, all matter is always constantly doing something – no ‘event’ ever ‘ends’, or happens before or after another.
  • Therefore there is no ‘time’ and no ‘time ordering’ of events.


2 At a certain time some things exist and others do not.


This aspect of ‘Presentism’ again suggests there is only the present while also invoking aspects of a thing called time. Specifically that at ‘different times’ something’s exist and other do not.

‘Timelessness’ resolves and simplifies this confusion by suggesting that the world is simple just as it appears to be. Specifically, we consider that in the universe a colossal amount of matter exists. And this matter can move and change and interact with itself in many different ways.

From direct observation of the world around us, it seems to makes sense to assume the same collection of matter can be divided into numerous objects in countless forms, but it does not seem to make sense to assume that matter in one particular form, e.g. ‘a tree’ or ‘a car’, at some point “disappears into a place called ‘the past’” under certain conditions.

Neither does it make sense to assume that under certain conditions formations of matter e.g. ‘a cloud’ or ‘a fruit fly’ “come out of” a place or a thing called ‘the future’.

So the idea that “At a certain time some things exist and others do not.” Can be seen as untrue.

If we say a ‘car’ is a machine we can get into and drive somewhere with, then I might sell you a ‘Ferrari 355’ and you would be pleased to call it a car.

But, If you came to buy the Ferrari from me and I showed you every single component of the car, but each completely separated from the other, laid out separately on a hanger floor you may not be too ready to buy. But you would still be looking at ‘a car’. That is to say, just because I had distanced certain things from others, this does not mean those things have ‘ceased to exist in the present time’.

More importantly, the fact I can separate parts of a thing does not prove that ‘time’ or ‘different times’ exist.

More intensely, I could place every single component of the Ferrari in a crucible and melt the whole lot into a single ‘blob’ of atoms... and try to sell you this as ‘a car’. Probably with even less success.

However, it is a fact that nothing has ‘gone’ anywhere, and it is a fact that the blob of atoms I present to you, is absolutely all the raw materials you need to end up with a Ferrari 355 if you process them correctly! – moreover, if you took the blob to Ferrari, they could put them into the shape of a 355 (having separated the atoms accordingly) – but although we can separate and reorganise these atoms into what you and I may call a car – this does not suggest that something new ‘now’ exists. And in no way would we say a 355 had ‘come out’ of ‘the future’.

So it is verifiably true to say ‘matter can change shape, forming aggregates, or breaking into smaller pieces’ – but it is not true to say, as ‘Presentism’ suggests, that “At a certain time some things exist and others do not.”

The error here is to assume that as humans ‘calling’ a particular aggregate of atoms ‘some name’ means they, or rather that ‘thing’ ‘now’ exists. Or that placing 2 or more objects close to each other, or far from each other, has something to do with whether they exist or cease to exist.


3 ...we cannot for example say that Homer exists because at the present time he does not.

As explained above, this is the subtle error of thinking it matters what particular formation a particular ‘group’ of atoms is in.

If I take 1,000 Lego bricks I can put them in the shape of a hamster cage, or a model car, or a dolls house, or the bust of a famous person. On more intricate scale I could take a few billion atoms and make a machine capable of performing complex calculations, connecting to the internet, playing computer games and displaying YouTube videos.

I could call this collection of atoms ‘a computer’, and I could smash them all apart with a sledge hammer, and call them ‘scrap’ – but no matter what I did with them (even if I converted them to energy) ‘at the present time’ (so to speak) they would always exist.

Thus there is no reason to suspect ‘Homer’ – as in the atoms that make up ‘Homer’ do not exist.

Thus, Presentisim is wrong, in that we can say ‘Homer exists’. And that the error here is assuming that matter ceases to exist when particular atoms are separated from each other and do not interact in a way that humans find interesting or particularly notice or acknowledge.

“Presentisim” is invalid – conclusion.

Presentisim is in a sense close-ish to what I am suggesting with timelessness, but it is still fundamentally flawed, unnecessarily complicated, contradictory, and fatally misleading.... i.e. wrong.

 This is because Presentism suggests that only things that exist ‘now’ exist. And that certain things (e.g. ‘Homer’) ‘no longer’ exist. While in fact we never see any thing ‘no longer exist’ – and so we are wrong to think ‘stuff’ ever stops existing, and any theory incorporating concepts that are not observed cannot be taken as likely to be correct.

So Presentisim is saying ‘time does not exist’ – ‘there is only the present’ – but adding that certain things don’t exist because they ‘no longer exist’ – which inherently suggest time exists and has some function!.

What seems to be true is that matter seems to exist and move and change and interact. And that matter can be coming together into collections, and humans can look at such ‘collections’ of matter and ‘call’ these collections ‘things’. E.g. atoms can be forming a collection, and humans can call this collection ‘homer’.

The ‘collection’ called ‘homer’ can fall apart, but Presentisim is self contradictory, misleading, and overcomplicated,  to say the collection ‘no longer exists’ – and to suggest the collection has ‘vanished into the past’ – which doesn’t exist... even though (in my opinion) in essence the conclusion that only the present exists is correct.

The problem of correct conclusions through incorrect reasoning.

‘Presentisim’ is particularly frustrating to me because it is right and wrong, but it’s wrongness outweighs its rightness.

Things may move and change and interact, this may wrongly give us the impression that places or things called ‘the past’ and ‘the future’ may exist, and that is all that is needed to be said, but Presentism then unnecessarily adds, and then explains, extra nonexistent features to this.

We need not add contradictory and nonsensical ideas such as that certain things or events ‘no longer’ exist because they have gone into places that ‘no longer exist’. When in fact the simpler truth is that everything can just be said to simply only ever be here ‘now’ doing something, and thus, no matter how unintuitive it may seem, nothing other than ‘now’ need be explained or accounted for.