Temporal History Versus Physical/Geometric History

By "temporal history" we simply mean: "events which have already occurred." Unfortunately, we also apply this same word--"history"--to an altogether different and unrelated concept: the concept of "physical, geometric time." When used within this context, the word "history" actually carries no temporal implications whatsoever. As we know, physical reality exists in its totality, in a block-like fashion, with all spacetime points existing in an "all-at-once," concurrent manner; there are no before/after, earlier/later relations to consider in this context. And the word "history," here, simply describes a "frozen" and concurrent group of points.

Let us consider the peculiar relation between temporal and physical history. In principle, a mind (i.e., "a present") can observe a given point in geometric time repeatedly. Such repeated observations occur, by definition, in temporal succession to one another (observation #1 occurs first, followed by observation #2, and then by #3, and so on). We recognize, of course, that observations (i.e., "events") that "have occurred" can no longer be "accessed."(1) Events in temporal history recede dynamically into an irretrievable temporal past.

Certainly, each successive, repeated observation of a given point (or "slice") of physical/geometric time creates new quantum events at that location in geometric time (and at other locations as well). But this circumstance in itself creates no temporal/logical conflicts. We must remember that it is "temporal history," and not "physical history" which "recedes dynamically into an inaccessible past." Temporal history--i.e., "the temporal sequence of experiences"--must certainly remain fixed forever; but physical history itself can certainly be manipulated (altered).


1. In my article, "Temporal Passage: Geometric Considerations," I argue that the concepts "past" and "future" are actually applicable only over the duration of a single mental state. Consequently, the various mental states which constitute the mental life of an individual cannot correctly be described as having past/future relations with respect to each other. However, the presence of "memory" in individual states results in the experience of mental life as a coherent succession of states.

The Theory of Persistence: Part One