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On Time and Death

Is there life after death?

No. It is right there in the question. Death is the definition of the end of life, there is no life after it.

Do we still *exist* after we die? We're getting closer. But since the word "after" is still there, I'm going to say no again.

So do we not exist at all, anywhere when we die? Given my previous two definitions, you'd think this answer is straightforward. I disagree.

When I have driven up to Duluth on various occasions, there are often railway cars parked along some of the disused tracks. Miles and miles of them.

Now, as I pass them, I can see the cars, count them. Read the faded logos. A mile later I can see different cars, roughly the same, those in the long distance forgotten.

Finally, I pass the final car and continue driving. The last one fades in the view of my rearview.

Does that train still exist?

To all but the solipsists the answer is obvious, of course it does. A traveling perspective is not a destructive force.

Maybe you see where I'm going with this, but that is probably me vastly overstating how obvious I think this is.

So, we are traveling though time. There are no physics observations regarding time that indicate it is anything other than a two-way dimension like the three-dimensional ones we are used to. Everything that could go forward could go backward. It just doesn't. We don't know why.

Yet, we all seem to assume the solipsist's view regarding time, that the times we have passed are gone completely and forever. That there is only the very current moment in all of existence.

But still, burden of proof still exists. Does the snaphot of our universe go away every moment forever? It sure seems like it does to our every sense.

Quantum Mechanics is litered with examples where, while not hinting at all of time continuing to exist, that current events can interact with past moments in a way that seems to imply that there is at least *one additional* entire copy of our universe (time - 1) at work for even day to day operations.

If there was but a single instance of the universe there would be nothing to interact with.

That right there, seems to be strong evidence, that every single one of our past selves at every possible age and moment, still exist.

That left streaming behind us, are the now crystalized quantum moments from every decision or rock you have skipped, etched permanently into the 4th dimension as we speed through the universe on a rock at 483,000 miles per hour.

Vast quantum statues of our past moments, happy and sad. Complicated and simple. Wrapped around and intertwined with everyone we know.

The train cars don't disappear if you drive 100 miles past them, nor a thousand, nor a million, and by even modest standards each of us absolutely wrecks several billion miles of uncertainty. Everywhere around you indecision crushed into a single reality that absolutely indelibly happened, and will continue to have happened even if the universe itself collapses back onto it self over and over again for an eternity.

What if all of your life still exists? What if the lives of all the loved ones you have mourned are still there no less destroyed than the last city you visited.

What if everything we do and have done is recorded and permanent by the laws of the universe?

In any case, I find it an interesting thought experiment.

Of course, all this is assuming there isn't some sort of 5-dimension thing that lives by consuming crystalized structures of certainty. At which point, I should probably stop before one of you calls a loony bin on me and/or I start babbling about Time Cube

Thanks for reading.


A friend of ours and I were discussing your blog. Several thoughts about life after death were raised. First, the idea that physical death can be separate from spiritual death (hindu). Thus, "death" is generally used as short hand for physical death. Second, that you can die and then be resurrected in heaven (christian). Thus, you die and are "brought back" via the power of a creator. Both of these get past the apparent contradiction in terms.

In other news, did you hear about the discovery regarding the shape of atomic nucleolus and how it maybe means there is no going back in time.

Honestly, I don't grok it, like I don't grok most of quantum mechanics, but I thought maybe you would.
by: Mike (contact) - 21 Jul '16 - 01:00
That is an interesting article. I don't think it necessarily invalidates

I probably should have googled my theory before I wrote this post, unsurprisingly it isn't a new theory:

In Philosophy:

In Physics it is usually understood as "Block Universe", and the physics community is very split on it (this article is from yesterday):

I think my main point still stands if time has a direction. In fact, quantum states of unknown collapsing via observation *requires* a directional (before and after) time "wave".

And it would make sense you could not go back in time, no more than you could swim in a pool that has frozen over.
by: Kyle (contact) - 21 Jul '16 - 10:00
Although if I had read all that stuff to being with, I probably would have written a more focused blog post, arguing that "presentist" hypothesis is wrong.

My alternative hypothesis is probably weak and wrong in many ways, while all I'm really hoping to do is to point out what most physics and philosophers pretty much agree on, is that the "presentist" view of the world is likely not correct.

Although they disagree about what should replace it.
by: Kyle (contact) - 21 Jul '16 - 10:16


Meta Information:

Title: On Time and Death
Date posted: 11 Jul '16 - 16:04
Filed under: General
Word Count: 641 words
Good Karma: 86 (vote)
Bad Karma: 57 (vote)
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