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chelle21689's avatar

If past, present, future exists silmutaneously does this mean we don't really shape our destiny?

Asked by chelle21689 (5259 points ) December 26th, 2012

I know Albert Einstein and a lot of scientists believe that time is not linear. So if the future, past, and present exists at the same time…does this mean we’re just doomed to repeat our mistakes and outcomes?

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7 Answers

Mariah's avatar

What you’re getting at is the idea of determinism – the idea that free will is somewhat of an illusion because the future is already ‘planned out’ – it’s fixed, in the same way that the past is fixed, even though the future feels fundamentally different from the past.

But a belief in determinism does not necessarily require a subscription to fatalism which is what you’re getting at in your last sentence. Determinism doesn’t say anything about what will happen in the future, just that what is going to happen has already been determined. This means that fatalism, which basically says that there’s no use trying because what’s going to happen is going to happen anyway, is pretty flawed (in my opinion).

You may not be shaping the future, but nonetheless, giving up out of some belief that you’re doomed is not going to get you anywhere good.

marinelife's avatar

Potential past, present and future exist simultaneously, ever-changing with our actions and the actions of others.

LostInParadise's avatar

One way of conceiving of space-time is as a four dimensional grid, containing everything that ever happened and everything that will happen. In this view, the passage of time is an illusion. Our actions are not only predetermined, but in some sense have already happened. I don’t know how useful this view is.

There is a theory that our universe is only one of infinitely many universes. One interpretation of this theory is that every possible universe is duplicated infinitely many times, so that everything that happens has happened before and will happen again infinitely many times.

I find it best not to spend too much time thinking about these things. We have just one short life and we are best off spending our time making the most of it.

Response moderated (Unhelpful)
burntbonez's avatar

We only have one experience no matter how many futures there are.

FireMadeFlesh's avatar

I do not accept the idea that past and future coexist with the present. If that were the case, we should be able to access them at a rate different to the normal progression of time. In fact on a metaphysical level, we are unable to demonstrate that the past or future exist at all.

It also does not make sense that the future is pre-determined. The universe is fundamentally unpredictable, and it is only on the macro scale that we can even estimate what the future holds. In my opinion, the future does not exist until it becomes the present, and the past exists only in memory. Determinism is not a useful concept, and is most likely incorrect. We do not have any doom or fate awaiting us, except that which we create for ourselves.

chelle21689's avatar

Thanks every one. Had a big headache pondering this. I hate when I think too hard about philosophical things

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