MO-BE-US (the future does not exist)
The theme of this essay is contained in its centre. There is no time; therefore, there is no future.
MO: Modus Operandi — how we operate in the world; how we make sense of it.
BE: Beginning-Ending — our concept of flow; a construct.
US: Unifying Semantics — thoughts communicated through words in an attempt to reach consensus about reality.
There is consensus about the physical world we live in, that it is three-dimensional. From this up-down, left-right, front-back reality we cannot know anything that has only one dimension, nor something that has only two. If we cannot know them, can they even exist?
But wait — we seem to agree that there is a fourth dimension: time. If we, consequently, are four-dimensional beings, can we know anything that has only three dimensions?
What would happen with an object that has three physical dimensions but does not have time? If we are moving through time and that three-dimensional object is not moving through time, it would be similar to a one- or two-dimensional object in a three-dimensional reality — invisible to anyone in that three-dimensional reality.
What if the dimensional construct of our experience is a delusion? We know that ideas can be limited by other ideas and that, in turn, our experience can be limited by those ideas. People positing ideas that fall outside accepted wisdom or that suggest something outside the consensus reality are often dismissed out of hand. They may even be expelled from society or, in a few cases, killed for their temerity.
We passionately hold onto our concepts of reality. This is our modus operandi and it prevents us from truly knowing ourselves and the nature of reality. It allows us — forces us? — to dismiss or ignore anything that might hint at otherness.
People report experiences that hint that our four-dimensional construct may be limited, even completely wrong. They may know something that within the four-dimensional consensus is labelled a premonition — a ‘glimpse into the future’. Within the four-dimensional consensus this should not be possible.
Quantum physicists talk of entanglement of particles and ‘action at a distance’. They struggle to fit this into the four-dimensional consensus. What if it does not fit? What if we let go of our ideas about time and distance, or at least see them as no more than an approximation of what is?
There are reports of people knowing what is happening at a different place. It is usually ‘explained’ as extra-sensory perception, which explains nothing but does point to the limitations of our four-dimensional consensus. Calling it ‘extra-sensory’ also shows the limits we place on our understanding of human senses.
We construct our four-dimensional consensus within those limits of our understanding about our senses. If we shifted our understanding of all the ways we can apprehend the world and, therefore, comprehend it, we could break out of our strictures.
Now is the centre of this dissertation, the entirety of which is contained in its conclusion.
There is consensus about the existence of a past and the existence of a future. However, there is no agreement about the exact details of the past or the future; according to the model of time as a fourth dimension, the past and the future are impossible to know. We can only know the instant we are in, in which case that is all there is: now.
We say we can remember a past, but our memory is different from every other memory of ‘the’ past. Even something labelled as ‘a recent event’ has as many versions as the number of people describing it. Each such description is a story. Each story is real, but what it describes is not.
We can imagine something we call ‘the future’ — we can tell stories about it, but we cannot experience it. It is like imagining being in a different physical place — we can tell a story about it but we cannot be in a different place from the one we are in. We can only be here. If we were in that other place, there would be here.
In the same way that we can only be here, we can only be now. Any wish not to be is just that: a wish.
We can tell ourselves, and be told by others, that we move from place to place and from the past through the present and into the future. It is only so because we tell ourselves it is so. Any notion we have of experiencing not-here or not-now is a story.
We can only be certain of something that can be tested. (The word ‘test’ comes from the name of a vessel used to essay metals.) Can we really test anything that is not now? We can think we can test (validate) the ‘past’, but we attempt to do so by comparing stories, which never match each other precisely. There is no past, for it cannot be told with certainty, nor can it be experienced.
The ‘future’ is even more problematic. We have no way of testing the future, of validating it. We can tell stories about what we call the future but, as with stories about what we call the past, no two stories are identical. The future does not exist, except in our imaginations.
That there are people who have premonitions which are accurate, points to the notion talked and written about by mystics: that everything happens simultaneously and that we humans spread it out like butter on toast, then attach labels of ‘past’, ‘present’ and ‘future’.
The instantaneous knowing of something happening ‘elsewhere’ and quantum entanglement both point to the possibility that our ideas of three-dimensional space are also a fantasy.
It is also possible that we each create our own reality, which means that there are as many realities as there are people. In that case, can we be certain of anything other than our own reality? And, in a world that we each create in our individual, unique way, can we be certain of anything outside that creation?
Time is an illusion and, therefore, there can be no future. That brings me back to the beginning of this essay, which I started some time ago.
[originally posted on Thinking-Allowed.com.au on 5 July 2017]