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Beyond Pandora

Beyond simple curiosity, this is Thinking Too Much. If you're interested in philosophy and/or wild theories, you've come to the right place.

Name:
Location: Australia

Paddling somewhere between a mad scientist and an organisational artist. Indecisive, inconsistent and often incoherent.

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Eyes In The Back of Your Head

I've been doing waaay too much Physics lately, and thinking about things in really basic but weird ways; please bear with me.

This is a description of the way we move with regard to sight:

You can see what is ahead of you. It is fairly solid, and predictable. You cannot see what is behind you, but you can guess at what is there based on what you remember. However, walking backwards is a bad idea, because you cannot adapt to things that are in your path until you've passed them. You'll end up tripping over, or getting stuck, and you won't arrive at your destination quickly or safely, if you even end up in the right place at all. It is simply not sensible to walk backwards.

Imagine if we had eyes in the back of our heads instead of the front, but still walked the same way. It would be the same as above, wouldn't it? Just 'forward' and 'backward' would be reversed:

You can see what is behind you. It is fairly solid, and predictable. You cannot see what is ahead of you, but you can guess at what is there based on what you remember. However, walking forwards is a bad idea, because you cannot adapt to things that are in your path until you've passed them. You'll end up tripping over, or getting stuck, and you won't arrive at your destination quickly or safely, if you even end up in the right place at all. It is simply not sensible to walk forwards.

Okay, now re-read the last paragraph, but instead of the idea of moving through space, take it as moving through time.

...

Kinda scary, huh?

Moving forward in time (i.e., living) is like walking backwards. But unlike physical movement, where there are infinite directions, distances and choices, temporal/time-wise movement has no direction (and no choice); only magnitude - how long it takes. So there is no 'turning around' to face future instead of past. Not only are we walking backwards, but we are being forced to walk backwards.

You can see what is in your past. It doesn't change. You cannot see what is in your future, but you can guess at what is coming up based on what you know of the world. However, moving into the future is a bad idea, because your knowledge of the world is not perfect, and you cannot avoid the things that you don't know about. There will constantly be things that you didn't expect, and that stop you from going where you thought you were headed. Things will happen that you have to adapt to after they have happened. You won't meet your goals as easily or as quickly as you planned, perhaps not even in the way you planned. Maybe you will decide to change your goals, as unexpected opportunities arise. Maybe you will be forced to change your goals, if something big enough blows your chances. And none of this you can predict. IT IS NOT SENSIBLE TO LIVE FORWARDS!

*Sigh*

So I say... if we managed to evolve eyesight, we'd damn well better evolve precognition!

(And then I wonder... maybe that's what we're doing?)

:)

3 Comments:

Blogger Violet said...

Geez, I weirded out when you said that going forwards in time is like moving backwards in space.

They aren't quite the same thing though, because by going backwards in space you are revisiting places you have already seen - by going forwards in time, you are visiting things for the first time (only moving backwards in time means that at some point in you run out of time to travel in).

7:45 pm  
Blogger Ben said...

wouldn't travelling backwards through time make you walk backwards through every place you originally walked forwards? and if we did not travel forwards through time, how would we travel forwards by walking?

8:30 pm  
Blogger Draic said...

Warning - Distorting the time-space continuum... tee-hee, this is fun!

Actually, Violet, going backwards in space has nothing to do with whether you've been to a place or not. Say you fly to Japan (or if I fly to Japan, since you might have been there??), then walk backwards from the moment you exit the plane. By going backwards in *time*, you are revisiting places you have already seen...
Plus, moving forwards in time also means that at some point you run out of time to travel in!

I hadn't seen your profile pic before, Ben :-) And I think yes, backwards through time generally = backwards through space. And if we wanted to go backwards through time and forwards through space, we'd have to be travelling backwards through space when seen as going forwards in time!

Arg, now my head hurts. :(

9:46 am  

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