Past, Present and Future - Philosophy

Past, Present and Future

Concepts past & quot ;, present and future. signify the meaning of the directed movement of time. Physically, the most clearly defined concepts are treated by the theory of relativity. It gives us a physical scheme for comprehending the past, the future and the present. Physics supplies us with the correct limitations in the application of these concepts and in a visual way (a light cone), but it does not say anything about the essence of these concepts. Physics itself uses the interpretation accumulated by human experience and philosophical knowledge. Let's touch and we again to the mystery of the movement of time - the eternal mystery of being.

How does the past exist? Is there a future in any way? If not, how do you know it on the basis of the present? And the time as a whole, and any part of it, is not given to us as something tangible and visible: one part is no longer there - it has passed; the other part is not yet - it has not come. The same as is, i.e. some "now", present, every time elusively disappears, at every moment it turns out different and new "now". Can we assume that the past and the future are as real as the present? Apparently, it would be more correct to say that in the real sense of the past and the future does not exist; that the reality is possessed only by the present, including present past and future: one - in his reality, the other - in his opportunity. As A. Bergson says, the present is the elusive course of the past that is eating the future.

What is the present, past and future time? It lasts only to the extent that the movement occurs. But when there are no corresponding movements or not, how can you talk about time itself and its duration? A profound analysis of the problem was done by Blessed Augustine in his "Confessions". He wondered how to measure the length of the past tense, because it only had a duration when the movements and changes that made it existed. When neither the one nor the other was there, then that time itself did not exist, and consequently, therefore, it can not be either short or long. And if the same can be attributed to the future of time, i.e. to changes and movements that have not yet occurred, then the more powerful the question arises of the present: what is it? How long does it have? How long does the present last: century, year, month, day or hour? "I am fully aware," Augustine writes, "that if nothing happened, there would be no future; and if nothing was really existing, then there would be no present time. What is the essence of the first two times? past and future, when the past has already ended, and the future has not come yet? (Confess, XI, 14). Blessed Augustine proposes a thought experiment. When a certain sound starts and then ends, we can measure the duration of the sound. Until the sound began, in the future, when it ceased, it is in the past. But imagine a continuous sound, the beginning of which, or the ending is not given to us (a mathematician would say about an infinite plane wave). In this case the flow of sound is pure duration. But is it time, because this duration can not be measured? It turns out that when the past (the beginning of the sound) and the future (the end of the sound) are not selected, the time and the time are not selected. But Augustine can conclude from this that what is in the end measured: time or only the movement associated with it (duration). After reflection, he comes to the conclusion that the grounds for judgments about time are given to us in our own souls. Because of its tension and duration, we judge the temporal duration, therefore the knowledge of time is preceded by our spiritual experience.

Analyzing the dimension of time, Augustine offers an excellent dialectical understanding of the present as the aspirant, passed as ceased and the future as becoming. All three times really exist not in isolation from each other, not on different sides of the moment "now", which divides them, but in this very moment, in the present: it is in the present that the times become and cease.

A. Schopenhauer affirms: the immediate form of life, or the manifestation of a conscious will, is first and foremost only the present: the past and the future are joined only by man, and moreover only in the form of a concept, they are cognized in an abstract way, and at best on them throw light images of fantasy. At the beginning of life we ​​see a long future ahead of us, towards the end of life - a long past behind. Predicting time is reasonable only theoretically, mentally, predictively, but not practically: who rushes forward in his deeds, demanding ahead of time what must come with time? Anyone who wants to do this will experience that there is no bitter enemy than an untimely undertaking. Much more prudent is foresight, when a person is ready for the sake of future benefits to endure difficulties in the present, even if these goods are rather remote. This kind of orientation refers already to the depths of gray-haired antiquity, when people began to cultivate the land and sow the grains, plant fruit trees and vegetables in the hope of harvesting. Moreover, for the future animals are instinctively guided: bees store honey, and proteins - nuts.

True, the past and the future correspond to three forms of human perception of reality: the past, memory memory for the present and aspirations for the future, as well as three forms of defining our actions: 1) actions carried out by the strain of our forces; 2) actions that have already taken place; 3) actions still to come. Was & quot ;, is and will They are given to us in these forms of the experience of acting and the experience of thinking about action. The eternal, really existing time, according to Blessed Augustine, is concentrated in the present. Time has actuality only in the present. Time is a value and a measure of communication, mutual dependence, a mutual definition of what has already passed and gave rise to the present, and what has not yet come This time relationship is what should be called the present time - real in both senses of the word, because both these meanings are one and the same the same meaning.

Time is not a current, but a link; is not a move, but a transition, present is the point of this transition, node of this connection. A person can not live without looking back, forgetting about what is left behind, and not looking at what is ahead of us. You can say the present, dropping in the future, immediately becomes the past. And how do we imagine our past? In the form of conservation of the once present, ie. in the form of a special reality in the memory of mankind (in the gene pool everyone remembers the past alive), in objective and symbolic information, in the form of a myriad of cultural monuments, so that you can go down the stairs of the years both yesterday and the day before yesterday, and in a very distant past. There is also a moral aspect: on the "personal bet" with the past (however, as well as before the future), we must keep an answer. It relates the times, the beginnings and ends of existence, the beginning of the future with the ends of the past.

When it comes to the past, it does not exist] And about the future: it does not exist either. But in the past I can immerse myself by studying history in general and my own in particular. Moreover, in the past we all are fated to depart. But in the future? More or less distant - yes! In the distant - no! Here you can only talk about scientific foresight, prophecy, prophecy, clairvoyance. And the farther the future, the thicker the fog of uncertainty. However, ask yourself, your relatives and friends: do you want to know everything about the distant future, if it were even detailed in the book of being, even in details? There is something that God wanted us to not know at all. For example, about the day of death and the day of the Last Judgment, for it is not your business to know the times and the terms that the Father put in His power (Acts 1: 6-7).

The present expresses the essence of time: in the present, not at its point, but in its connection there are times, bind and support each other passing and becoming, which break up and lose their definition there, where the present disintegrates, where for a moment his connection is broken. In the present the source of being. It has its outcome. In him, the transition from being into being, from non-being to being, from being into non-being ...

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