We all have this perception that TIME occurs linearly i.e there is a natural linear progression of events from the past, to the present, and to the future separated by space. The SPACE-TIME continuum (space with its 3 dimensions ie lenght, width, depth, to which Einstein added the dimension of TIME into the mix, via the construct of Quantum Mechanics) that our universe exist in, is not linear, but a cube. Depending upon where an observer is located inside that cube, and the speed with which that observer is traveling, his preception of an event in TIME may be totally different from the perception of other observers located in other places and traveling at different speeds in that cube of a SPACE-TIME continuum. This results in an immensely vexing scenario where a single event is perceived simultanuously as the past, present, and future by different observers.
If the past, is already the present and the future, what does that do to our idea of personal responsibility/accountability and our concept of free will and destiny? If the future is already set, and the present is also the past, could we say that Hitler should not be held responsible for his misdeeds? Could we not exercise our free will to carve our own destiny, if that destiny has already been set in the past/present/future all bundled up somewhere in that cube of a SPACE-TIME continuum?
"This results in an immensely vexing scenario where a single event is perceived simultanuously as the past, present, and future by different observers."
I have heard that time slows down for different observers, but that's it.
Says me. If in fact the future is set, as the past and the present, albeit from different vantage points inside the cube of a Time-Space continuum, then could you claim that you are not responsible for your actions because it has already been set, and that you did not have any say in making the decisions you made because it has already been decided for you. Thus the bigger question that I am asking? What does that do to our idea of personal responsibility and accountability. Does it put asunder our perception of free will and destiny?
I don't believe the future is set, so I don't have to worry about it.
But yes, it probably would affect me if I thought the future was set and I didn't have control over my decisions and my life.
If the events of a future time are set and immutable, then yes it destroys any concept of free will.
For this reason, I choose to agree with janesix - the future is NOT set. It's true that the only (shaky) evidence for that belief is that some events occur without a cause and apparently randomly, but even without that I would hold to the same belief. The alternative, as you point out, is to conclude that no effort on our part, however large, could affect the future, so why try?
Another question to ask: Did Einstein go too far when he applied quantum mechanics to the inner working of space-time. Quantum mechanics may work perfectly well and could explain the "weirdness" of the sub-atomic realm, but could we extrapolate that what happens in that world also occurs in the larger world of humans, and the cosmos?
As the larger world is composed of the quantum world, the answer is a qualified "yes". What we cannot do is extend the rules to the macro world; we already know it doesn't work there.
It's like observing the actions of a bacterium and saying an elephant will behave the same. Even though an elephant contains trillions of bacteria, and that bacteria plays a part in the elephants actions, it is not a straight equality. Elephants do not behave as bacteria do, and rocks do not behave as sub-atomic particles do.
So how do we deal with this philosophic conundrum ie the absence of personal accountability in a conception of reality without time. IMO a new model must be developed that keeps the best features, including experimentally confirmed predictions about how time is relative (not speculative), while reinstating or reiterating the notion that the present is fundamentally and unreservedly distinct from the past and the future.
Umm...I haven't said anything about there being no time. Just that the events of a future time are not fixed. Keep in mind that without time, there is no motion. No gross movement, no molecular/atomic vibrations, no light waves.
We already know time is relative, and that it is dependent on velocity and gravity - these things are well tested and documented. Beyond that I'm not sure what you refer to.
The cosmologist George Ellis has proposed a modified model of Einstein's cubed or block universe. In it, he retained the four dimensional space-time in line with relativity's predictions. However, he emphasized that there is no need to assume that the fourth dimension i.e. TIME must already exist out into infinity, thus the future's boundary does not encompass all that will ever happen. So in his proposed scenario, the leading edge of SPACE-TIME marks the "present" crawling outward, moment by moment, transforming tomorrow's maybes into yesterday's fixed happenings. Ellis stated it quite simply: "Tomorrow there will be one more day in the universe than there was today. The past is real and can have an effect on us today, but the future cannot influence us because it does not yet exist.
The way i rationalize time in relation to my free will is this: time is realative and illusionistic to me and my perception whilst i am at this density. When i get to a cross roads i make a choice, but all the choices i could have possibly have made are happening simultaneously as soon as i decide upon one. The choices and their paths are already pre determined. And i mean all of them down to wither i pick up a stone, kick it, walk on it, or over it. Since there is always a purposeful reaction to what our actions cause the choice is there for us to make with out a knowing of ALL possible outcomes so that it is made genuinely so thet we end up where ever we end up and learn what we nees to to make the next choice.
The interpretation of Time really becomes almost incomprehensible when viewed from the perspective of observer dependent quantum events. According to quantum mechanics , at any given moment one could be both alive and death, but which of these two totally divergent events are real depends upon who is observing it and how it is being perceived or observed depends upon the observer's position/speed of movement at the moment light strikes and shines on these two events.
Since the universe is not filled with observers, like humans on earth, who then are observing these events. If not being observed, are these events truly happening? Stretching the analogy further... Do the universe exist if there are no entities ie humans and or other sentient beings, to observe, and perceive and know that it exist?.
"Time is an illusion; lunchtime, doubly so." -- Douglas Adams
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