∆ Remembering the past but not the future.

(note also here, a rocket, like any other object, is both an event and and object, or 'event objects' as some eastern philosophies describe all things)

Why do we think we see, or 'remember', 'the past' but not 'the future'?

Perhaps this is a heavily loaded question in disguise. It implies that the words 'Past' and 'Future' have some meaning - and now we can try to work out something about them. 

But unless we have clearly proven that 'the past' and 'the future' are things that exist and have a particular nature, then starting by asking questions about them is not logically valid.

(It is perhaps similar to asking "how can a magician make things 'appear' or 'disappear'?". Which is a valid question only if you have proved that magicians actually do these things) 

If our only evidence of 'the past' is the contents of our minds, and the state of the world around us - then perhaps that is all there is. And that is why we can see the evidence. 

If our only evidence for the future, is 'thoughts we have about how things can change' then perhaps that to is all there is.

What is 'the past', what is 'the future'? how are they created? where do they come from? where are they stored ? These questions seem to point directly to some kind of mystery relating to time, and therefore indicating time’s mysterious nature.  

The questions seem also to prove, or at least indicate, the nature of the past and future as they do so. Because the simplest answers seem to be ‘We can see the past, because we saw what is now in the past happen as it happened”. And, we cannot see the future because the future has not happened yet’. Case closed.

But there is another way of looking at these questions. Perhaps they are similar to questions like What is magic? How does it work, Why cant it be filmed in action? How can things suddenly appear from nowhere? Where do things disappear to? And so on, in that perhaps they are hard to answer not because the answers are mysterious but because the questions are invalid.

Firstly, when you or I are talking about ‘the past’, what we are always actually doing is talking about ‘certain contents in our minds, and calling them the past’. When we talk about ‘the future’ we are actually making up things in our minds, and talking about them using the word ‘future’. This is what we almost always do when we think we are talking about anything. E.g. If we are talking about the moon, in a place where we cannot see it, we are really, actually, just talking about certain  contents of our minds which relate to the moon.

Now experiments, e.g. a phone call to an honest friend on the other side of the world who can see the moon, can beyond reasonable doubt prove that ‘the moon’ that our thoughts realt to, does also exist.

The question is, when use words like ‘past’ and ‘future’, In a ‘temporal’ sense, do these words also, actually relate to other ‘things’ that do exist? And, can you prove this beyond a reasonable doubt?

The future in our minds.

If you can't prove that 'the future' really exists, then given our ability as humans to make up ideas, or imagine things (now), and ‘call’ them ‘about the future’ - can be explained by ‘matter just existing and changing in our minds now’ – then perhaps this is all that there is - matter existing, moving, and changing out side of us - and inside of us.

So, we can misunderstand this external and internal movement and change as apparently relating to 'the future'. 

We may also see all this 'random' or 'orderly' change outside of ourselves – and call this ‘the unpredictable, and predictable events of the future arriving’.

as an experiment, if you sit in a park and 'wait' to see the future arriving, all you will in fact constantly see is existing things moving and changing in different ways 'now' - if they have the energy to do so.

Unless you can prove that 'extra' to the chemical fuel stored inside the rocket there is also a 'temporal future' - Then the fact the rocket may be climbing, is just a result of  of the fuel existing in the rocket, being released - chemically expanding very rapidly, and physically flowing from inside the rocket to outside of the rocket. - and not also a result of 'time' also flowing from the future, into the present.

Likewise, unless you can show that as well as the changes that happen in your head as you see the world around you change, there is also a 'temporal record - or past' created some where some how for some reason - then perhaps it is unwise to think time exists, and flows from the present into 'the past'.

'The past' inside us.

Also, given that just as we walk down a muddy path the foot prints created behind us can be explained just by matter existing and moving, so to can the ‘impressions’ or changes created in our minds be explained if matter can just exist and change. 

So these ‘memories of the past’ don’t also prove a ‘temporal past’ also exists. They just prove that we can create internally a 'copy of the wake we create' as we walk along a path.  

Mystery solved.

So, if the above is true, then the mysteries of these questions actually seem to arise from the mistaken assumption that terms like ‘the past’ and ‘the future’ both relate to real things, that exist or make sense in some logical way. And so it is legitimate to ask questions about them – because they exist.

In making this false assumption, about time’s basic attributes, and seeing where the answer leads us, the question seems to prove time exists.

But, if we first assume only that matter exists and can move and interact (now), then we can see that when we say ‘the past’ what we are really talking about is either ‘some particular set of contents in our heads’ – or – an ‘idea’ of events that have happened but are not happening now – again this idea is in our heads.

'The future', or, what’s just around the corner?

If we walk down a built up street in our home town, as we approach a particular corner, we may generally have a very good idea about what buildings and trees we will probably see… ‘in the near future’… as we turn the corner. Similarly we will probably not have such a good idea as to just what people and vehicles we may see, or precisely where they may be in the street.

As we turn the corner we are more likely to be right about what buildings we see, just because they are hard, and expensive to move, and wrong about what people or vehicles we see for the opposite reasons. Either way, wherever we happen to be or not, there will be something around the corner, for us to see if we choose to take that turning.

So we can also see that while the term ‘the future’ may seem to be about what may be happening ahead of us in a time senses – if time exists –what we call ‘the future’ can also be considered as ‘what is around the corner now, that we simply cannot see’.  

Therefore, if we just assume that the world is just as it appears to constantly be, i.e. that matter in it exists and is moving and interacting in different ways and rates in different places, then it makes sense to rephrase the question…

Why can we see, or remember, the past but not the future?

And ask instead…

‘Why can we see the contents of our own minds, and not what is physically around a corner?’

The answer to this question is simply,

 ‘because wherever we are, we are directly in contact with the contents of our minds, but light reflected off objects around a corner cannot make it through buildings to our eyes’!


>>∆ Timeless v.Time distinctions.