This is a philosophical post. But I wouldn’t write it if I don’t think that it could help your personal life. The present is the time you’re in at the moment. You’re reading this post. Staring at the screen and thinking whether you should really read that post. The present is the most interesting and also most important time. Because it is the only time you can act in. The past is ONLY here to learn. There is nothing else about it. If I would go really philosophical I could say: You don’t even know the past happened. You also don’t know much about the future. The only thing is the present.
But how could this help you in any way? I run into many people talking. They are saying stuff like: “I should never have gotten married/children.” or “When I had studied more I would have passed the exams.” There are many more of those statements. They talk about the past. But in a non-constructive manor. You know there are things in the past that help you for the present. But those don’t. Me myself just got rejected by many master programs but I don’t think too much about it. I am in the present. I have to move on. And the faster I am able to move on the further I can go. So I only think about the consequences of the past. So I need to look for another masters-program. I think about what was wrong with my applications. But I don’t wast too much time, because it was not clear why I have been rejected. So next time I make a better application and repeat the whole process. I’m not sad about the past. So only think about the past for a short time. As long as you really think you can extract any information from it and move on.
But what about the future? Isn’t the future the present of tomorrow? Yes it is. And you have to think about it. But don’t think too much. The present is much simpler. For example you can think too much about the future. You can make plans year for year but you can’t guarantee anything about it. So in reality there are two types of decisions to make. The ones where the present is changing and you have do decide “What now?” and the ones where you realize something new and you have to decide whether you change anything about your life. The last one can also be more subtile, like “Should I start studying now or later?” But the more you think about it the more you see that there are only these two. The one that can come at any time. A moment of realization that you were slacking around and than the decision to do something about it or to reject any change. So you are deciding for the future. You are always only deciding for the future. But the decision is in the present and if you can live in the present you will have a hard time making decisions.
Last but not least I want to tell you how I cope with this. And how I managed to stay most of the time in the present. (It is not the “Power of Now” Present. Your mind is allowed to wander, and to think all the time.) The main trick to achieve most things is to make yourself an emotional bond to the thing you want. This looks like this for me. Whenever I am complaining about the past or worrying about the future. I get intentionally upset when I realize it. Like playing a role. Like I discipline myself. After some time and some realizations it worked for me to get automatically upset about complaining. The downside of that is that I also get upset when others complain but well I just hold myself back.
Real is what you sense. There is no addition to it. Why is this important? When it differs what we see as real it is hard to find consensus on a subject. It is like a axiom in mathematics. You need to find a base on which you agree on. As you may already know now, I am Christian, and this definition of reality is not trivial for us. But I say if this is not the case, it is really hard to discuss what is true. For example many religious people are saying that god is the true reality. But just for pragmatic reason let’s agree that he is not. God is only part of reality when him. The times when you feel fulfilled and when you close your eye you almost feel the touch of god.
For people not in faith this may seems strange. Try to see it in my framework of reality. When you’re thinking something or you’re having a feeling, this feeling or thought is real. Not especially what you are thinking of but the thought itself. I give an example: When I think of brown unicorns, then this thought is real. I have it. Neurologist may measure it but still brown unicorns aren’t real. (Everybody knows unicorns aren’t brown.) I don’t want to say god is as real as a unicorn but I say when you don’t experience god they are equally real.
Try to look at your paradigms and your worldview. On what are your paradigms based on. Which experiences manifest them. If you hardly can find any they may be wrong. How to shift paradigms it is important to be aware of your ego (My Blog about Ego). Assume you have read the Ego part. I now know you know that it is beneficial if you let your emotional binding to your worldview go. The most important thing is that you always do a reality check. Are the things happening as you expected. When not: What has to change in your worldview that your expectation hits? And as I have experienced many times I want to give you a hard baseline, what things you never should aspire, independent of your worldview. When you hurt many people without saving others, just because your worldview detest them you should not do it. If you think not to help dying children, or killing Moslems, or letting refugees die and so on is good in the long term. Please think again. Make a reality check. We are social and emphatic beings. Don’t betray your nature that much.
Maybe in another blog I will write about human design to make this last point clear. But I am aware that if one has too much time and lacks confrontation with the consequences of their thoughts, there is a good chance that this one will develop some crazy worldview.
I often asked myself this question. I realized that all well known phenomenons in nature behave according to some very mathematical laws. Since I study computer science I had the chance to get a look into the mathematical world. I also realized that mathematics is strongly coupled with computer science because in computers we could define some laws that it has to follow and afterward it does exactly what we said. So you could transform an equation into a program and vice versa. So theoretically when we would have a perfect mathematical and complete description of the world we could possibly simulate some parts of it. (Nearly all the computer simulation done today are very coarse and not complete. They mostly simplify the problem such that it runs efficiently on a computer.)
But for me is clear that a program and the physics of the real world are coupled. At least you can’t say wich world can describe more information. Both can “simulate” the other. Something you might think is, that a simulation without real physics is not possible. This is true but it is possible to have a physics only inside a simulation independent of the real physics. And inside this physics you can say there is no physic without the computer. Ok enough from that. Why should we be a simulation? As I said everything well-known behaves very mathematically like a computer program. Another argument is that we don’t know any infinite thing. Maybe the universe is infinite but maybe not. We don’t know. So in a computer program there is also nothing infinite. There are cycles but nothing infinite that doesn’t repeat itself. If we assume that the simulation we run on is made on a computer similar to ours, than there is a smallest length of space and time. This length can not be divided further. This length is proposed be Max Planck (Planck Length) but it is way too small to detect it with our instruments today. Let’s assume there is the Planck Length wich can not be divided. This is similar to a number on a computer. Say you have 3 decimal places. So 0.01 is the smallest unit. There is no 0.005 in this computers world. (finite precision floating point) If our world is simulated on a computer working with finite memory than if we fly out from the earth to the border of the universe we either come to the same place again (overflow of the variable that defines the position), we get stuck in some state (state that decodes that the position coordinates are too big to store) or we crash the simulation (we use all the memory for our positional coordinates). Sadly there is no way to compute the distance to go until one of this effects need to occur, we would have to know the size of the memory and how our world is represented. On the other hand if we get one of these effects we could infer pretty straight forward how our world is implemented. Maybe some think that the aliens simulating us don’t use a computer like we have. That is possible I only describe what observable phenomenons could be if they do. But let’s be clear if they use a computer with finite precision and finite memory than such effects have to occur. And also the fact that we haven’t found any infinite thing suggests that the the simulation we run in has also no infinite structure.
Some people say they are surely not a simulation because they are conscious. Consciousness is the last stand for many of the more esoteric or religious questions even though, few religions are talking about it. But this topic is for another blog.
But what is the answer? I think it is obvious that this question is not easily answered and I only wanted to give some arguments. (The title was only to bait 😉 )