3∆ The Future.

"The Future mate, yeah, it's down there, third on the left - you can't miss it".

The future, there is more to Time than just expressing speeds.

So maybe we are wrong to even suspect "the past" exists, and maybe we don’t need ‘ kilometers per hour’ to express a speed, and maybe infinitely thin slices of Time just don’t add up, but so what? There’s much more to Time than just memories and motion in the present, what about the future?

The future seems to have fundamentally different characteristics to the past and present.

From the point of view of time existing, we might say that Tomorrow it may or may not rain. And that you and I can’t know for sure, because the future isn't happening now, and hasn’t happened yet.

So although we can be fairly sure there will be a tomorrow, and fairly sure there will be some sunshine with a chance of rain etc, we can’t go out and take photographs of tomorrow until it actually happens. Though we could take a guess about tomorrow, and then later on find out if we were right or not. And whether we turn out to be right or wrong we still seem to have at least made a prediction about the future, and then waited and watched the future arrive. And this looks like a good confirmation of the 'futures' existence and nature.

With the past we can know for a fact whether it rained yesterday or not because the past has happened, and we know this because we can see evidence of yesterday rain, remember it and we may even have actual photographs of it, however we can’t go back and change any aspect of yesterday.

So the future is that which is kind of predictable but not fully and cannot be reached yet, and the past is that which is clearly visible (depending on how much attention we were paying, how many photographs and films we took etc) but the past is also now completely unreachable and unchangeable.

Do clocks mark the boundary between the past and the future.

So, this is the difference between the future and the past, we can use a clock to measure and compare the speed of other things, but that is not a clocks only use. Staring at a clock face we are also looking at some deeper aspect of ‘Time’.

Whatever the thing is, Time is surely that which works with, or through or directs, or separates or enables the two clearly evident and distinctly different things we call the past and the future to carry on as they do. That is Time enables the past to keep on accumulating events and the future to keep on arriving on schedule.

So this choice of the word ‘hours’ to talk about the markings around the clock face (instead of centimetres or degrees etc) was not arbitrary. Using words like hours and minutes shows us that we are talking about something not only to do with just motion, and not just about distance, but also about a constantly moving boundary.

A boundary that as it moves always marks the point between the constantly growing and knowable past, and the unknown, but partially visible and constantly arriving future.

Although Time was looking shaky when it just seemed to be a misunderstanding about how our memories work, or about just about using some made up units to easily compare the speeds of different objects, and then assuming the units were real, we now seem to have this third and more real yet still intangible aspect of Time, the future.

Properties or nature of the future.

The predictability of the future seems to vary depending on what aspect of it we are looking at. With some aspects of the future we don’t just say ‘if’ they will happen but we can also say very accurately ‘when’ they will happen, with other aspects we can’t even say whether or not some particular event will actually happen let alone when.

For example it seems almost completely guaranteed that night follows day, and we could even say down to much less than a second just when the sun will set on a particular day. Similarly we know that summer will always come and go, and we also know fairly confidently that it will rain again but here we can’t reliably say just when.

With some of these predictable events, like the occurrence of night and day it seems we can predict them accurately and often a long way into the future, so we could accurately write down the precise Time sun will appear to set on some particular date and some particular location 10 years from now, then wait for 10 years, and confirm our prediction was very accurate. Easier still we could look at some ‘old’ charts made 10 years ago and see just how accurate the predictions they hold turned out to be.

Indeed of we look at the motion of other planets and astronomical bodies we can make even more impressive predictions.

The ‘NASA eclipse’ web site predicts many different future eclipses for example a solar eclipse is expected on June 10th 2021 at 10:43 am and 6 seconds[1].

That’s well over a decade ahead of the Time of writing, and NASA tend to get these things right, but what about the 10 years between now and then? how many times will it rain, will there be a big war, how many Earthquakes will there be, will we go to the moon again, will I meet the love of my life, will my favourite team score in the next 30 seconds?

How can we be extremely sure about an event due to happen 10 years in the future and yet have no clue about virtually all of the countless events between now and then?

This is an important question because it shows that while we have the idea that the future is this thing that arrives in a constant steady stream at the rate of ‘one second per second’ its contents actually seem to be a mixture of highly predictable and highly random events. So how can this one thing seem to be both smooth and constantly flowing while also a collection of different rates and different levels of certainty.

XXX add make the ‘decade’ linear 950 million km * 10 momentum and no change.

How else can we explain the observations that we call the future.

We could at this stage go in the direction of analysing the different apparent features of the future and back track to how they may be that way, but another route is to start by assuming for a moment that the world around us is just as we see it, and then see if this can explain all the observations that we attribute to having to be a result of Time, and of there being a future.

Proving how apparent aspects of Time like the future can be explained in other ways is a bit like trying to disprove the idea that magic exists to someone who has grown up believing that magic is real. Actually disproving something directly can be impossible. All you could do here is repeatedly show how every effect the person assumed was real magic, and thus real proof that magic did exist, could be easily achieved without magic.

Then you could show them a magicians props, proving mundane methods were used. And then ask the magician to explain why it is that they always choose to cover up with a curtain the one actual moment of magic - that if shown to the audience and cameras - would stun the world, and give the performer universal fame. And, why it is that people who don’t believe in magic can do magic tricks, while people who truly believe magic is real, never can?

And so it is with Time, and in particular the future, all I can do is show you a number of ways how the just movement and change of the world in and around us ‘now’ can be mistakenly give us the impression that a past and future and flow of time exist, without this being the case at all.

The importance of ‘energy’.

To understand how the things that are moving and changing around us can give the appearance of an ‘arriving’ future we need to first accept that in the world around us there is matter and motion, and that this ‘motion’ only, and always, happens where there is invisible energy available and able to flow.

This sentence might seem to suggest that all I am doing here is swapping invisible intangible Time with invisible and intangible ‘energy’ and just playing semantics, but this is not the case.

‘Energy’ is the word we give to something that can exist in many different forms and places, wherever there is matter and as such if far from intangible, undetectable or ungraspable. Fuel tanks, hydro electric dams, torch batteries, speeding trains, geological thermal vents etc, etc all show that energy is something that can flow or be trapped naturally or with man-made devices, but in all the cases we know of we can in general clearly demonstrate where energy is stored or flowing and calculate how much energy might be at any location, and we can often choose to turn the flow of energy on or off or regulate it to our wishes.

Whereas ‘time’ is apparently a fundamentally different thing in that time apparently exists absolutely everywhere in matter and space, is totally invisible, intangible, and fundamentally un-trappable, time always constantly flows, and constantly flows in one direction only while what powers its constant and universal flow is it seems completely unknown. Packets of Time it seems cannot be created, bottled, picked up moved from A to B, while packets of energy can be purchased in a supermarket.


How potential and kinetic energy are the same thing in different guises.

In diagram A we see that the easiest way of storing energy is to suspend a weight at a height. In this case  1 kg at 1 metre.  In this way the weight has the potential to fall, suddenly or in a controlled way,  and so release its energy. Hence the term ‘potential energy’. Energy can be stored this way very efficiently, and released on demand to drive anything the rope and weight are connected to.

Diagram B show that if the same weight is release in a ‘half pipe’ it could follow the curve as it fell thus converting its height into forward motion, or kinetic energy. In this case (assuming ideal conditions) the ball at its lowest point would have just enough kinetic energy to return it to the height it started from. Thus the energy stored by the ball would thus keep oscillating between being potential, kinetic, then potential energy, and back again, within the half pipe or ramp. This same effect could be seen with a simple pendulum.

Diagram C, Galileo showed that if such a ramp was one sided, the ball/weight could fall, converting its potential energy into kinetic energy (its stationary height into visible motion)… and then continuing to roll ‘forever’.

Together these diagrams show us that energy can be smoothly and very simply converted between apparently very different forms, in this case completely static and inert potential energy or actual visible objects in motion. So the balls height ‘is’ its momentum. Just in a trapped form.

XXX expand – explain Einstein shows gravity and acceleration to be indistinguishable – and how showing static energy is the same as movement shows how time is not needed for motion. – check Feynman quote on all energy types being the same thing – included.XXX


A simple example of flowing energy.

In replacing the notion of time, with the simple principles of physics that we actually do see in the world around us, the idea we have of ‘the real existence of the temporal past’ is seen as an over interpretation of what ‘the structure of our internal memories’, and ‘the structures we see in the world around us’ actually prove. In that these structure do prove that matter and energy, movement and change exist, but separately or combined, they do not also prove anything else. Specifically, they do not prove that for movement and change to happen they need ‘Energy’, and, they also need an extra thing called ‘Time’. Or that movement and change ‘happen over a thing called Time’. Although we may jump to the conclusion, that it is so obvious that the world in and around us proves the reality of ‘Time’ that uniquely in all of science, this never even has to be said out loud, let alone doubted, or experimentally proven!

In the timeless view, the intangible ‘fourth dimension’ aspect of time is seen as an over interpretation or some over simplified mathematics, and the apparent existence of the future, and the one way flow of time, is as we shall see explained by the way energy can be trapped and released, how energy can be released in orderly or chaotic ways, and how, whether we are trapping or releasing energy, as long as we are vague and hypocritical in our definitions, it always seems to flow forwards.

Given that I am proposing that energy and it’s flow replaces absolutely everything we see as being ‘the future’ (or rather ‘the future apparently constantly arriving), it is important that we investigate energy fully here, but let’s start with a very simple example using party balloons.

Party balloons disprove the future.

We can get a simple feel for how energy can be said to be one of the things we mistake for the effects of time if we get or just imagine a simple party balloon. If you lay the balloon flat on a table with your thumb pushing down on its neck and then release it not much will happen at all, it will in fact just remain at rest on the table. But if the balloon is filled with air when you pin it down to the table then release it things are very different. Just as you lift your thumb from the neck the balloon will fly off around you at great speed in a pretty chaotic path while making a lot of noise.

The reason these two identical actions, lifting your thumb from the neck of the balloon have such different results is entirely to do with the energy, in the form of pressurised air that you did or did not put into the balloon.

If the balloon is empty it won't do anything when the neck is released, if it is full of pressurised air it will do nothing if the air is kept trapped, and fly around rapidly as and where the air is allowed to escape. The way the balloon flies around could be very chaotic if it is an odd shaped balloon and/or in a windy environment, or very simple and linear if it is one of those long straight balloons and flying in very still air.

So how a balloon flies around is related to its shape etc but whether or not it actually flies is absolutely entirely based on whether there is energy trapped inside the balloon or not.

 You may want to say the balloon needs energy and time to move, but that leaves us wondering what role time plays when the balloon has no pressurised energy within it, and why on seeing two balloons, (and assuming there is nothing else odd going on), one filled with trapped energy, in the form of pressurised air and the other open and empty, why it is that we would always assume that the balloon filled with energy and pressure will almost certainly do something interesting ‘in the future’ and the second one can be guaranteed not to do anything at all in the future.

 The point here is that the distinction we claim to see, and call ‘the future’, can be seen to be entirely the result of a misunderstanding about why, and how things move combined with us incorrectly naming, and thinking about the ‘models’ of things that we make, and run, in our minds. (Incredible as this ability is)

Car hits tree !.

I imagine this is a possibility. But have i proved i can think about the future, or that the future exists?

To see what it does, and does not, mean when we imagine things, create a model in your mind of a car speeding straight for a tree. Then run the model forwards until the car hits  the tree spectacularly...

Now; the first question is, have you correctly deduced a possible future, or just made a model in your head ‘now’? Given that we are not even talking about a particular ‘real car’, it’s hard to see how you can be predicting ‘the cars’ future.

Nonetheless, lets extend this further and imagine (XXX a real car?) the car’s engine gets destroyed in the collision, steam pours out from the bonnet, the engine ceases, the driver abandons the car, and it sits rusting and eroding in a ditch for 10, 20, 30 years or more...

And imagine how such a car would look after decades in a damp ditch...

Now we have to be very precise, and consider the following ideas...

By creating and developing, or imagining, a model of something in your head; basically out of the existing atoms and ions etc that are sitting there, and ‘running that model’; just as you might make a model out of more tangible wood or metal and ‘run’ that model, have you...

  • A- Really also proved that something outside of the present, where you run your mental model, really exists, i.e. have you proved that ‘the future’ is a thing that exists and arrives?


  • B- Have you assumed that someone, somewhere else, has already proved that ‘the’ future does indeed exist and ‘arrives’, and then imagined how the/a car might look in that future?

If you think about it, statement A can't really be true, because if we are doing all this now then all we are proving is that now exists.

So, if we agree that things move and change, and we agree that in your head you can move and change the contents, then whatever ‘model’ you create and run only directly proves you can create and run models.

So just imagining a ‘fictitious car, rusting’, only proves that you understand that where any car in the present, is rusting, it will be constantly rusting ‘now’; and that you can imagine how a lot of rusting looks.

If statement B is true; that we just take it for granted that the future exists, and now we are working with our understanding of it; then this is a bit like taking it for granted that a beach in the Bahamas exists, because we have been told about it, and then imagining ourselves sun bathing on that beach.

Life is a real beach.

There is one significant difference though, which is this; Some people have only heard about the existence of beaches in the Bahamas, but, ‘imagining such a beach’ is not imagining something that doesn’t exist... as long as some other people have actually seen them !

But if you and I aren’t ‘proving’ that the future exists when we imagine things about it; But we are just imagining things in it because someone else told us it exists... then we have a big problem: because I think you will find that no one else actually has proved that the future exists, but we all think someone else has.

>> ∆ Bed time!