From: Piet Hut, 29th julu 2001, in response the following question from me :
“The past is imagined – but somewhat real – yes ? It happened – but ofcourse now exists in thought only – although physical ramifications of past actions are real – yes ? therefore from that point of view there is a reality ?”
But let us go slowly. It happened — so it seems. It surely makes our life simpler to think so and not to doubt that. But how do we know it really happened? All the evidence is only PRESENT evidence, PRESENT memories of past events. Let us go one step further. What difference would it make if the past was not real? Could we ever test that hypothesis scientifically or otherwise; in what way could we go about that?
And yes, we do normally live in the unquestioned belief in linear time and its inescapable rule of past events with its consequences governing present happenings. This is our real religion, more unquestioned and more ingrained in our bones and nerves than any more teneous `belief’ in any form of religion or science. But this does not make it more likely to be true. On the contrary. That what escapes investigation because it is so unquestioned is more much likely to have holes, to be only partly true and possibly seriously flawed in important ways.
What guarantee do we REALLY have for the law of karma and the scientific rules of cause and effect? I often think we are prisoners of linear time, cloistered by shackles that are totally imaginary. With Karl Marx I suggest that we, finally, have nothing to lose but our shacklers: our belief in being enslaved in linear time.
> the paper work I threw into the rubbish bin yesterday – still lies
> there today in this moment and the action is confirmed by the memory
> of others that saw me do it.
at first this seems totally powerful and convincing, but couldn’t this be on the same level as “you can see that the Sun goes around the Earth” or that “mass and energy are inherently different, cannot be converted” and similarly for time and space, which turned out to be at least partly transformable into each other in relativity theory?
I’d like to start asking, slowly slowly, who is the I in your quote. The I of today is not the same as the I of yesterday. By identifying those two, are we not already doing part of the work of putting on our shackles to linear time? What is the world would be REALLY created afresh in each moment, not as a poetic metaphor or romantic dream, but what if this would be the only reality — in which we use this infinite freedom at each moment to recreate a sense of bondage to linear time. Wouldn’t that be a terrible realization? The point is: sages in many times and places and very different cultures have reached such type of a conclusion. And I am beginning to see how science is moving in a similar direction. I would be willing to be a lot that this picture of true freedom in every moment is correct. In accordance with that, I’m trying to live my life in resonance with such a perspective.
> So perhaps it is not us that are imprisoned by time – but Time that is
> imprisoned by us. We have to let it go and watch it flow freely with a will
> of it’s own. But how do we divest it from it’s rlationship with action ?
AND there is the `us’ we normally identify with that is imprisoned by the `us’ whom we realy are. Like in a tapestry, you cannot cut out a single figure from a scene to `liberate’ it. You cannot liberate the image of a person from a snapshot from a movie. You can liberate the actor; or better, the actor is already liberated, was never really `caught’ by the movie. Similarly, the MAIN struggle in any spiritual path is that we tend to waste a couple decades trying to liberate the picture we have of ourselves, trying to enlighten that picture, something that will NEVER work. Then, tired from trying, and with a little guidance and lots of luck, we may stumble upon a way to find out more of who we really are. Together with that goes the realization that there was nothing to liberate or enlighten in the first place. These stories crop up here and there in esoteric literature, but are never offered for popular consumption; it would be pearls before swine, completely undigestible and leading to angry reactions. But they all point to the fallacy of linear time, in my opinion.