Friday, 11 July 2008

Entry 27: on the paradox of seeing the future

I sometimes wonder if this omnipotence thing is all it's cracked up to be. Yes, it's important for my street cred, but after that?

Let me give you an example. Seeing the future. Sounds useful? Not as much as you might think.

Consider the case of a man standing under an apple tree. Let's say he can see one minute into the future and he sees that in a minute from now an apple is going to fall on his head.

He doesn't like the idea of this so he steps to the side and a minute later the apple falls harmlessly to the ground just where he had been standing.

So just what future was the man seeing? He saw an apple was to fall on his head. Actually, the apple did not fall on his head, because he stepped aside, so how come he did not see that future instead?

But then, if he had seen that future, he would not have stepped aside, and so the apple would have hit him on the head after all. So whichever future he sees, it tends to be the opposite to the future that actually unfolds.

I fear that simply by knowing the future you tend to change it. Or even worse both futures now co-exist, each in its own different time-line and you have actually caused a parallel universe to come to into existence.

These reflections brought on by the lad planning a spot of space tourism and wanting to know how it will turn out. "Badly" is the answer, and I don't need to peek into the future to know that.

More on this soon, when I am feeling less rattled.

4 comments:

Janelle said...

absolutely. isn't it all about Now?
anyway. i digress. i just tagged you for what its worth...!? waiting impatiently for next post! x bisousx j

Ernest de Cugnac said...

hi janelle. "Isn't it all about Now"? Thank you, food for thought. Starting here - how long is now? For example is it a second? A millisecond? An infinitely thin slice of time? There were actually some experiments on "the psychological moment". The consensus was that is was perhaps 200 milliseconds or so.

Thanks v much for the tag, replied on your blog.

Jolly Good Yarn Girl said...

It's all very well worrying about changing the future by observing it but Quantum Physics says that we change the present by observing it too. I'm keeping my eyes shut just in case... JGYG x

Janelle said...

exactement. that precise millisecond is all that counts. its something to practise. in one's mind. being precisely present....hah.