Time is merely a human concept, a conscious construct that we use to try an discover the meaning of things. The same can be said for traveling into the future to see what the world will be like in 50 years. The only point in time that exists is “Now”. There is no past and there is no future. I will explain those two points, because I know that some of you who read this will have a hard time trying to believe this statement when conceiving of a past and future are so easily done. I should say conceiving only of a future, the past we do not need to conceive of because we all have it committed to memory. There in lies my point about time. It is our memories that have lead us all to the fallacies regarding time. I will provide a brief overview of these points further in the next section. For now I want to focus on the introduction of my current topic and that is Dejavu. I am sure that we are all familiar with Dejavu. It is the intense feeling of having been somewhere before or performed an action that you recall seeing in a dream. Many of my Dejavu experiences have been in the form of dreams. While some of us may only have a few Dejavu events in their lifetime others may have none at all. I, on the other hand, have very intense Dejavu events rather frequently throughout my life. There have been many times where I have been somewhere or doing something and I know that I had seen it all before. This poses a problem for me, because I know that it is possible to see future events and yet I do not believe the future exists. So, I had to ask myself; “How is it possible to see future events, when the future does not exist”? Fortunately I was able to formulate a hypothesis that satisfies this dilemma…at least for me.
The True Nature of Time (A brief Overview)
The easiest way to understand how I view time is to think of the human brain as a digital recorder. Events take place in our life and our brain allows us to remember these events. This is a very good thing, because it is what has allowed us to evolve to where we are today. If we touch fire, it hurts, we commit that to memory and try to avoid touching fire in the future. The opposite is true, because we used our memory to also store good information. Information such as what foods are good to eat vs What foods may poison or kill us. Anyone who has ever had an allergic reaction to a food they had eaten knows full well the importance of avoiding that food in the future. If we did not have the ability to retain information those individuals would not live very long. Primitive man had a great need for memorization, because their lives depended upon it. The same is true for many other life forms, but the degree to which each species can store information varies. Even cells contain memory in its very basic form. That is how each of us come to have half of the genes from each parent. DNA is passed on from generation to generation and is essentially the way that traits are passed on. This is more of a physical form of memorization with no interpretation. We can store information in our brain to access at a later time, and we are free to manipulate that information any way we seem fit. Early man used to rely solely on survival instinct, but a time came when our consciousness evolved. Instead of only using our memory for nonavoidence or avoidance purposes they began to use the information they accessed from their memory to reason. They began to think outside the box and applied their brain power to solve problems and manipulate the world around them.
They began to shape, rather than live in their environment. This advanced brain power evolved as our brains grew larger and developed more surface area. It is in this advanced state that we have entered a whole new area for human civilization. We are continuously bombarded with information every day and our brains take in, sort, process, forget, store, and manipulate loads of that information. We are now afforded with the free time necessary to use our stored information to think. We think about everything from our life, to other peoples lives, about the shows we watch, the books we read, the list goes on and on. Some of us like to imagine we are in one of those stories we read or a movie we watched. Others like to access that information for inspiration in art, music, writing, and a whole range of other topics. I myself access information I have taken in over my life time to try to formulate hypothesis for how and why things are the way they are. Each one of us has evolved into a human super computer Sonavel equipped with a brain that processes loads of information each and every second. Many of that brain power is consumed by things we don’t even notice. Our hear beats, our lungs take in air, we digest food, our brains do all of this automatically. Its like a program that is constantly running in the background of our lives. Outside of this is information that is stored that we cannot access through recall, but it is there all the same. We may not be able to remember the license place number of every car we saw while we drove around today, but the information is there. If our eyes took in the light then that information is stored in our brain.
Truthfully, our brain contains far more information than our abilities will allow us to access. Someone with a photographic memory does not suffer from this dilemma. They have a perfect recall mechanism that allows them to access information as needed. Whether we have that ability or not, the information is still there. The information we can access we use to remember the past and to plan for the future. This is what has lead us to our perception of time.
It works like this. I want to recall what I did last weekend, because a friend has asked me what I did. I access my memory and I tell them what activities I took part in. I used my brain to access the stored information and to relay to my friend. When we think on the past we are in a sense traveling back in time. The events that occurred last weekend are recalled and relayed. This aspect of memorization is what has lead to what we have come to know as the past. The past is things that have happened prior to this moment. Believe it or not, this past is entirely dependent upon stored information. Regardless of how events actually took place, if that information is changed in any way than that new past is created. This is why they say that, “History is recorded by the winner”. Our past is entirely dependent upon how we store information both in our brains and in physical form. If we relay information to some one with one or two false recollections than those false recollections can lead to an entirely different story. A story that may deviate greatly from the events that actually happened. This history then becomes fact or truth, regardless of whether or not that is actually how things happened. What is the past if no one is around to remember that information or if that information is recorded in a book? The answer is, there would be no past beyond the memory of those who are alive today. The point being that our individual past is nothing more than stored information in our brains, and our collective past is nothing more than information contained with in books and on computers. Historians will tell you that this stored information is not concrete. A person needs to only read the same version of a storied history from one generation to the next to see the slight variations on the past that the retelling of information can bring. So this stored information allows our brains to conceive of the past as a thing rather than nothing more than a collection of stored information. We then add a little creativity to the mix and you get H.G. Wells’s “The Time Machine”. Just because I can envision the earth as being entirely made up of chocolate cake, does not make it so. I can imagine that, but that is now how the earth exists. The same can be said for time travel and traveling into the past. We can imagine it, but that does not make it possible. “Not everything that is imagined is possible, but everything that is possible can be imagined.”
This brings us to the future. What is it about our ability to store information that leads to our conception of the future as a thing? The answer is more simple than you could imagine. For example, lets say I eat dinner at the Olive Garden on Saturday, in September of 2007. The food was really good and I plan on eating there again. I store all of this information for future access. Some old friends of mine blow into town and they want to get together with me for some dinner. We have to then decide where to go and when to go. I suggest the olive garden, they agree and we plan on meeting there at 5:00 pm next Saturday evening. How is it that I was able to do this? Well, I stored the information of the restaurant location, hours of operation, what nights are busier than others, and how well I liked the food. If I like the place then I will want to eat there again. The opportunity has come up to go there once again so now we have to make plans. We can decide to go next Saturday, because we know that this day will come. We know this from the stored information of the days of the week. Since Saturdays have occurred in the past, we know they will occur again at regular intervals. We know this, because human beings have devised an event tracking system called time. Events happen continuously and we had to have a way to keep track. Our time is based upon the earths motions around the sun. Years contain months, months contain weeks, weeks contain days, and so on and so forth. We can plan on having dinner there next Saturday, because we know that there will be a next Saturday. The point is that we use stored information coupled with time tracking practices to construct the accepted concept of a “Time line” complete with a past, present, and future. When in reality there is only the present. Only this time, rather than recalling stored information for the purposes of recall, we access past information to help construct a possible future. Most of us do this on a daily basis with out ever realizing it. Each of us construct our future without ever realizing it. We do this by making plans. All of these plans are only possibilities. They only become history if we follow through with those plans. If we plan to do something and then do something else, then the future we envisioned will not become the history we planned on. History is defined by events, which is separate from recorded history, which may or may not record events as they actually occurred.