It's all been done before
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04-08-2013, 02:57 PM (This post was last modified: 04-08-2013 03:34 PM by evenheathen.)
Video It's all been done before




(watching the video may be pertinent to understanding some of what I say later)

Okay, so I've been trying to wrap my head around relativity for awhile now. I pretty much understand the gist of things, until I run across another perspective that makes my brain hurt.

I was enjoying some drinks the other night and watching this vid (I know, drinking and learning isn't the best way to understand shit, but it's what I do......that may explain a lot now that I think about it).

At about the five minute mark, dude explains that through our understanding of physics and relativity, all of time has already happened (he actually gets to the future part at about seven minutes). This was just a bit of a mindfuck for me. Right away the residual theist in me took to the argument that if all of time is already accounted for, thus god. There were terrible shouting matches in my head about determinism and free will and I had to have another stiff drink in order to kill it all.

After a bit of soberer thought (is soberer a word?) I came upon a couple of lines of thinking.

Quantum physics. Hardly my forte. But from what I misunderstand it's really not anyone else's either. At the quantum level, all possibilities are possible until said possibility is measured. So at any given moment, the concept of the "frozen river of time" is not referring to a future that has happened, but the possibility and all possibilities of said future.

Also, if the alien is on his bike and headed toward the man on the bench, setting his relative path towards future events, regardless of the relative time passed between him and the projected future point, said future point has not been reached, therefore has not happened. But if that's correct then what he says in the video is false, and fuck if I'm going to pretend to be smarter than a physicist.

I hope that someone with more experience in these matters than me will chime in and help out. Thoughts on whether or not, according to physics, the future already exists?

But now I have come to believe that the whole world is an enigma, a harmless enigma that is made terrible by our own mad attempt to interpret it as though it had an underlying truth.

~ Umberto Eco
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07-08-2013, 08:46 PM
RE: It's all been done before
I'm bumping my thread because I think it's a damn interesting topic but none of you bastards had anything to say the first time around. Come on, somebody familiar with relativity has got to have an opinion on this.

Anyone?

Anyone?

Bueller?

Bueller?

But now I have come to believe that the whole world is an enigma, a harmless enigma that is made terrible by our own mad attempt to interpret it as though it had an underlying truth.

~ Umberto Eco
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07-08-2013, 09:08 PM
RE: It's all been done before
Sorry. All I could think of was this:




And then I cut to 7 minutes in as you suggested and all I could think of was this:




Anyway.
Thumbsup

Albert Einstein Wrote:People like us, who believe in physics, know that the distinction between past, present, and future is only a stubbornly persistent illusion.

Anything which has happened can only be said to have happened to those parts of the universe in which its effects have had a chance to propagate. Call it a light cone - since the fastest anything can propagate is lightspeed. 'Now' isn't a thing. 'Distance' isn't a thing. 'Time' isn't a thing. Well, 'separation in space-time' is a thing, but it's really not the same as any of those.

The gist is that to an observer in the right place, any given 'event' is 'happening' 'now'. That is because 'now' is only subjectively defined. (ah, airquotes, my old friends - that's physics for ya!).

For any given observer, more and more things keep happening. The consequences of more and more events reach them.

As a famous historian once prefaced his work:
Gregory of Tours Wrote:A great many things keep happening; some of the good, some of them bad.

This is essentially what we call entropy; 'things happening' requires a net increase in disorder somewhere.

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07-08-2013, 09:45 PM
RE: It's all been done before
Hey, thanks for the thoughts, cjlr! (Barenaked Ladies is exactly what I was thinking when I wrote that Big Grin)

But I'm still just as lost on the idea as before. Physics is fucking trippy sometimes. I guess what held me up in the video is how blatantly it's stated that the future already exists just like the past continues to exist.

The way you break it down makes more sense to me (I think). But in those terms, it isn't that the future or past actually exist, but that the observance of an event can exist in remarkably different "times" relative to another potential observer in another spot in the universe depending on their speed and direction.

So I suppose that the statement is true when put into context, but you wouldn't say that events that will happen 1000 years from now have really already happened.

Does that sound correct? Or even close?

But now I have come to believe that the whole world is an enigma, a harmless enigma that is made terrible by our own mad attempt to interpret it as though it had an underlying truth.

~ Umberto Eco
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08-08-2013, 09:31 AM
RE: It's all been done before
(07-08-2013 09:45 PM)evenheathen Wrote:  Hey, thanks for the thoughts, cjlr! (Barenaked Ladies is exactly what I was thinking when I wrote that Big Grin)

But I'm still just as lost on the idea as before. Physics is fucking trippy sometimes. I guess what held me up in the video is how blatantly it's stated that the future already exists just like the past continues to exist.

The way you break it down makes more sense to me (I think). But in those terms, it isn't that the future or past actually exist, but that the observance of an event can exist in remarkably different "times" relative to another potential observer in another spot in the universe depending on their speed and direction.

So I suppose that the statement is true when put into context, but you wouldn't say that events that will happen 1000 years from now have really already happened.

Does that sound correct? Or even close?

It's not necessarily that all of the future exists as such (unless one is a strong determinist!). New things continue to happen (my future can never 'exist' to me, as an example). And time always 'flows', because entropy increases - simultaneity isn't real, but cause and effect sure is!

The part of the future that does 'exist', in a sense, is that we know of a great many distant events, all of which we are 'seeing' 'happen' (as it were) even though they've already 'happened'. What hasn't reached us yet hasn't 'happened' for us. But for some hypothetical observer, it already has happened.

So we suppose that a distant event has happened, insofar as it has reached a distant observer; it has not reached us yet, and so hasn't happened to us - but it has happened in that it's happened to someone, and as we see it happen we will then see it happen to that someone. We must see the event happen before we see the observer see it, as an effect of causality; there are other observers who will have seen things happen which we have not yet - this is necessarily so. And so we say that the future (being things that have not yet happened to us) has in a sense already happened because it might well have 'already' happened to someone. After all, no one of these observers is any more objective or authoritative than any other; it's just that one happens to be us.

I dunno, doesn't sound too complicated to me... Tongue

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08-08-2013, 09:51 AM
RE: It's all been done before
I think I've finally got my head wrapped around what's going on. Not sure that I could effectively explain it, but the understanding is there. It just threw me to be able to say that the future had already happened. It's not that it has necessarily happened, but it would seem so depending on your perspective and point of observation.

A distant event viewed in the present at your point of observation is actually the past, it's just the language that gets tricky, calling events the "future" and such.

My head hurts now. Thanks again for the thoughts!Thumbsup

But now I have come to believe that the whole world is an enigma, a harmless enigma that is made terrible by our own mad attempt to interpret it as though it had an underlying truth.

~ Umberto Eco
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