Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Lure an Instant Blast. Past-Present-Future

Well, it is almost confirmed: neutrinos go faster than light. Which raises the question of what else could go faster than light? Well, if a fundamental particle goes faster than light, can we still believe that the rest of the world follows the speed limit? There are no sanctions against going faster than light, otherwise Switzerland ( and I love this scenario) would have been warped in a black-hole and never heard off again.

The recent study that is left apart from the mainstream media is a research done at Cornell University where a psychologist managed to prove that some people are precognitive, when compared to the average. Which means that they could guess the event coming, even if that event was random and not capable of being calculated. I know, it sounds crazy, but how come it sounds more crazy than neutrinos going faster than light? Isn't it in the end maybe the same paradigm forbidding anything to go faster than light that forbids us to think that the future exists before we make it ?
So here is the theme of this article: the paradigms of time.

It will of course be composed in three, because so far we are only capable of doing such a taxonomy: past, present and future. What it might be is also an evolution in humanities evolution, in a very weird way and I hope that I am wrong, because Copernican revolutions are starting to be annoying, in the sense that we always restart from the start all our thoughts and at the same time feel the need to work at filtering the ideas from the past that should not be taken for granted.

I'm not sure how to structure this article, as dividing in it three and it looks like I'm repeating point, but if I work thematically, it will be worst as I would lose myself or repeat arguments, the perfect ingredient for boredom ( if you aren't already). Just to throw out my thesis before everything, and try not to be too linear, I will try to defend the idea that we have not concentrated enough on the future, though it is, in the public, only part of our society since the end of the nineteenth century ( thank you sci-fi), it will become ever more important.

How and why and what the fuck are three good questions to this erratic claim. What I want to observe though is that in antiquity and in our history, until I don't know when, it is actually relative to societies and individuals, we have concentrated ourselves on the past as a way to see the world. It is of course logical, in the sense that we can more easily generalize and make sense of the world if we have examples we can build on. It is though more than the logic. The past has been a way to legitimize our present and our future.

We were anchored in rituals and mythologies that would tell us 'eternal' truth that guided us. It is why these societies had a slightly more deterministic outlook that our present. It wasn't scientific determinism, in the sense that everything was the consequence of some cause indirectly related to the Big Bang, but that everything was already written or the choice of some unearthly human-looking god figure. This god(s) figure would also be related to the human in power, through some kind of story or ceremonial selection. And the gods always came from a long time before humanity and only our memory served us. Knowledge, then represented the accumulation of stories and rules.

Then came the present in our mind, and we killed the gods, and we invented free-will. Free-will is the lie of the present. When the past uses memory, we uses perception to make sense. We look left and right and study how the world goes through repeating experiments and transforming them into formulas. No matter we know that the formula can always be discussed. Which is the bases for contemporary knowledge: discussing what has been accumulated. The present is the most important time at present ( haha), in the sense that we tend to see history as something that glue us, but we are not ready to build a better future because present problems seem more important. The present is also seen as somehow accidental, so legitimacy doesn't come from the past, but from the fact that things are the way they are.

And the future will come some day as the main perspective. Of course, I will not be there to see a society of individuals future-oriented I think. Hopefully though, I will help towards that like many others have in the past. How would that look though. Well first of all, we would be more morally responsible, as a better future for each of us is the only reasonable answer to the ultimate question of ' why be good ?'. More than that, the future is based on imagination, which might be the faculty the makes us different from animals. It is also the faculty that made our reality nowadays. For all the Ian M. Banks readers out there, if they do read scientific publication, they would understand that a lot of the new physics theories or engineering marvels come out of his books, just like Isaac Asimov invented ethical robotic and the concept of Earth as a self-regulated-system otherwise known as Gaia.

Overall, it is difficult to understand that we need to forget our memory, we need to not trust what we see, but only imagine what is to come to jump unto the next realm of understanding. I know that it is still a limited way to absolutely understanding the world, but it is always within limits that we have understood the world, and every time the limits have grown. Which might also be the center of limited-rationality, that we act as rationally as we think we can, but only because we do not understand our limits. Would we consider a future, where our limits have augmented, we already are opening our frame of decision and extending our rationality.

So now, I will try this difficult task of considering futures, even near futures and then think about how the present can lead to the different scenarios. The past and the present will then be mixed into one since they are the same from a future perspective. The question about the present will only be how it will be judged, though that's actually a trick of our present-oriented mind, since a future-oriented mind won't have to judge the past. All in all a difficult question, where I've lost myself in this free writing exercise which I feel will lead to somewhere.

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