ElI5: What Einstein meant by “the distinction between past, present, and future is only a stubbornly persistent illusion”.

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ElI5: What Einstein meant by “the distinction between past, present, and future is only a stubbornly persistent illusion”.

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Anonymous 0 Comments

Because light travels at a fixed speed, people very far away from each other will see things happen at different times.

Because of this, theoretically, if you could teleport vast distance instantly, you could see (or do) an event in ‘real time’, and then blink millions of miles away, and watch it happen all over again at a distance.

Therefore, chronology is relative to distance, and so the idea that everything everywhere is happening at the same time is not only useless, but fundamentally incorrect. It is just a ‘stubborn illusion’.

This gets weirder when gravity gets involved, but we’re already way beyond an ELI5 question there.

Edit: Technically it’s speed that makes time go funky as well, but I’m too sick for a special relativity ELI5.

Anonymous 0 Comments

In special relativity, time and therefore simultaneity is also relative. The order of events is observer dependant. An event that I would say happened in the past looks to be a future event in someone else’s reference frame.

Therefore future and past are subjective notions, not actual physical distinctions.

Anonymous 0 Comments

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Anonymous 0 Comments

It was sent in a condolences letter to a grieving family of his, now-dead, good friend.

It wasn’t meant as a philosophical statement on the nature of time. It was merely him saying that the dead in question would stay with them in spirit

Anonymous 0 Comments

Its a statement on block universe theory, that past present and future already exist, the entirety of space time can be thought of as a complete block. being three dimensional beings who experience time, we effectively move through the block and perceive a past present and future, but the block already exists in its entirety. The past and future are just as real as what we perceive as the present and all are equally existing continually.

This means that our perception that time “flows” is artificial, an illusion, and that instead time is something you move through (albeit we only move in one direction) just like any spatial dimension. All points in the block are equally real, past present and future, its just our perception that gives us the illusion of only the point we observe being real.

Anonymous 0 Comments

Things that have already happened affect things that are about to happen, and things that haven’t happened are causing what’s happening now.

He managed to sus that out at a galactic scale, but can only hint at what it ‘might’ actually means at a personal human level.

Anonymous 0 Comments

It means that TIME is an illusion, true reality is timeless

The future and the past are unchangeable and they will pan out exactly like they were meant to.

Anonymous 0 Comments

I read a good analogy of our perception of time written by Kurt Vonnegut, I think it was in *Slaughterhouse Five* but I’m not positive.

You’re strapped down on your back on a railroad flatcar moving along a track across a vast landscape. A long tube is fixed over your eyes so you can only look straight up through the narrow tube. You’re traveling through that world, but you can only perceive what passes your limited consciousness. To you nothing else exists, even though it is all there.

That, I think, is the illusion.

Anonymous 0 Comments

Were you listening to Science Friday? I heard this quote last night!

Anonymous 0 Comments

Actually, because of time-space relativity. The present seems the same, because the now “feels” now because you aren’t comparing it with the past. The past feels old because you compare it with the now. But the future is nothing more than a conjecture off of the past and present. Basically a “fiction”—a human construct. Because of these, they aren’t physically tangible, therefore, imagined and illusions.

All are transient manifestations of the imagination, though “the now” is the closest thing to a non-illusion you can hope for. Then again, most people are so caught up with comparisons that their “now” is made up of such imaginations that it remains an illusion made of constructs.

We shouldn’t forget that Einstein’s Relatively Theory was born out a thought experiment: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Einstein’s_thought_experiments

Edit: Auto-correct or fat thumb or both typo and the need to add a citation for added text.