Are any of you writing about or interested in the concept of reincarnation? If so, I'd love to hear about it. I write novels and like to include spiritual events. My next novel, Amelia 1868, features a restless spirit who comes back to life seeking revenge for her murder in a previous lifetime.
You may want to check out the attached article, "The Reincarnation Case of James Huston, Jr." by Walter Semkiw, MD. I find it fascinating... I also recommend exporing the website of The Institute for the Integration of Science, Intuition and Spirit (IISIS)
I have two short fiction stories written in the magic realism style that deal with past lives. Where can I publish short fiction of this kind? I tried literary journals and even an e-book publisher, but no luck so far.
I believe reincarnation is possible and it was the subject of a massive, multi-media sci fi project that I began working on in 1979. The odd thing is that the storyline began to come true, with even probability experts from Battelle Memorial Institute in 1992 saying that there was an 85% chance that events from the plot line would continue to happen.
They were right...
This might sound absurd, but stay with me. What about reverse-incarnation, an entity moving "Backwards" through time. Why can't they commence their sole journey in the future and end up way in the past?
Jeff, I knew I was going to get sucked into the wormhole of this whole time-traveling thing! This sounds like a real interesting concept, and would probably make a good premise for a spiritual/fantasy novel, but I'm of the mind to think it's essentially impossible. The reason is that I don't believe that traveling to, or coming from, the future is possible because the future has indeed not occured yet -- in any dimension.
It helps for me to understand the passage of time by equating it to the motions of matter and energy through space. At every microsecond, every molecule is in a different place than it was the microsecond before. Every molecule is traveling in an ever-changing direction. We aren't always aware of this because we don't usually sense the motion of the Earth traveling around the Sun (18.5 miles/second), the Sun rotating around the center of the Milky Way (150 miles/second), and the Milky Way traveling through space (estimated at thousands of miles/second, depending on which galaxy you compare it to). The future occurs when we've left this microsecond and traveled to the next. It also occurs when we leave this present comma , and travel to this future period . ;o)
So I'm of the opinion that the future, the place where the whole universe will travel over the course of time, has indeed not happened yet -- not for us, not for anybody. And this is why I don't believe an entity will "commence their sole (soul?) journey in the future and end up in the past".
I think the idea of a soul incarnating in the past is problematic for a number of reasons, however, the idea that the future doesn't exist yet only depends on your frame of reference. According to the block universe model, everything has already happened. The only reason we view future as different from past is because of where we are in the block of spacetime.
Just as you gave your example of a comma and a period, I was able to see both simultaneously, so from that viewpoint they were simultaneous events. Only when I read the sentence one word at a time do I encounter the comma first and the period later.
Likewise, the whole universe isn't traveling to the future. In fact, the universe is so large that from any reference frame inside it, the rest of the universe doesn't even fit into the same time. What you see when you look out in space is happening in increasing degrees of time into the past. The sun that you see is 8 minutes in the past when you see it. The stars are even farther. A single, supermassive black hole does not fit into a single slice of time from all viewpoints. In any, less or greater than 90 degrees from the edge of its accretion disc, you will see the black hole in multiple slice of time, varying from edge to edge.
Relativity states that both time and space are malleable, and as such, time is no longer a nice and neat Newtonian construct. Simultaneity within the universe is impossible within reference frames under going various rates of acceleration or gravitation fields.
So while we may not know the future, it still exists in a superpositional state until we observe a particular outcome resulting from our observations. Faster than light signaling will help reveal this, which is a project I'm working on, hopefully with a university before the end of the year.
Glad to meet you, Marshall. Thank you for your reply.
I'm glad that we both agree that the idea of a soul incarnating in the past is problematic. It might be one of the few things we agree on, at least in this discussion.
When you state that "the idea that the future doesn't exist yet only depends on your frame of reference", I'm assuming that you're speaking from your own worldview, which is in line with the block universe model. I first became familiar with this concept in the 70's when Richard Bach compared the experience of time to a reel of film in his classic work Illusions: The Adventures of a Reluctant Messiah. He invited the reader to view existence as a film that could be watched over time, but that all existence could be viewed as the reel of film itself. I think it's ironic that an analogy I embraced in my youth I now consider to be outside of Reality, or an illusion itself.
I don't agree that "everything has already happened" -- in any way, shape, or form -- just as I don't believe that we view the future as different from the past because of "where we are in the block of spacetime". You used my analogy of the comma and the period to illustrate your worldview, much like Bach used the reel of film to illustrate his. I used the analogy to illustrate how we move from the present moment to a future moment, in the time that it takes to read a sentence. I regret to say that your ability to see both the comma and the period in a sentence doesn't illustrate that everything has already happened -- that every particle in the universe has somehow already traveled to its final destination, in the immense amount of time that it takes to get there.
Just as I disagree that the whole universe isn't traveling to the future, I also disagree that the universe is so large that "from any reference frame inside it, the rest of the universe doesn't fit into the same time". I still maintain that this present moment is occuring simultaneously everywhere in the universe. I know that we don't experience the effects of the different phenomena in the universe at the moments they are being caused by that phenomena -- that the sunlight we see was caused by the Sun eight minutes ago, that the starlight our telescopes detect was emitted millions, sometimes billions of years ago. But that doesn't discount the fact that we are seeing them both now -- at this present moment -- and that this moment of now is happening at the same exact microsecond everywhere in the entire universe.
I understand that the General Law of Relativity states that "both time and space are malleable, and as such, time is no longer a nice and neat Newtonian construct". But I disagree that "simultaneity within the universe is impossible within reference frames undergoing various rates of acceleration or gravitional fields" if you are disregarding the simultaneity of now occuring everywhere in the universe at this present moment. Yes, time can travel at different rates, and be affected by different gravitational fields, but now is still now -- for every particle in existence, as I see it.
And finally, I disagree that the future exists in a superpositional state, for reasons I've already stated. We are at the very tip of the spearhead of time. Beyond that tip are only possibilities and probabilities. The future simply hasn't happened yet.
When I speak of "frame of reference" I'm referring to the scientific terminology, not worldview. We are all in different reference frames of varying degrees, which have effects on how we view time. A person on a high velocity spaceship will have time slow down for them compared with a person left on Earth. Their reference frames, in that case are dramatically different.
I would agree with Bach. Just looking at the known universe itself, if it were possible to observe the entire thing at once, you could make predictions that would be in the distant future from the reference frames of various observation points. The difficulty you're having with reconciling these ideas is reflected in your insistence on viewing time as having some relationship with movement. Time is the dimension that allows movement to take place, it is not movement itself. When physicists speak of simultaneity, they mean the ability to say that things happened at the same time. The reason that idea is out the window is because relativity proves that observers from different reference frames will see things different ways and so will not agree on when simultaneous events take place. That's why it's only possible to say such a thing completely outside of the system, which of course is impossible.
You say that this "now", is happening all over at the same time in the universe, but yet you say that you know what General Relativity says about space and time being malleable. If that's the case, then you should understand why it's impossible for your belief to be correct. Every "now" that you count, that you think is simultaneously happening every where in the universe will be completely out of synch with most of the universe. Why? Because although your starting point may be synchronous, the next one won't be because everything is running at different time rates. So your next "now" will happen too soon for some and not soon enough for others. Particles like photons don't even have "nows" - time for a photon equals zero. Not only that, your "now" won't agree with any universal "now" because your "now" is influenced by the Earth's gravitational field.
I could go on but you seem intent on ignoring scientific data that's provable and part of why GPS systems work and other technological advancements. When you say disagree that the future doesn't exist in a superpositional state, you're throwing out decades of proven data from quantum mechanics.
The bottom line is that you're free to believe what you want, but this subject is part of my job. I have to know what I'm talking about because I actually use this stuff to make things work and conduct research. As such, I can prove every bit of it, because I have to. Belief has nothing to do with it.
What I'm trying to convey, Marshall, is that the reality of now transcends the fluctuations of time, something that might not be grasped through physics. I do embrace everything you're saying about the varying rates of time. However, when it comes to now, I still hold that everthing is happening simultaneously everywhere.
Maybe my mistake in communicating my thoughts was in saying that everthing was happening at the same moment, which could be misconstrued to mean that time is experienced in the same way everywhere. Clearly it is not. But however it is experienced, now can still be now throughout the entire universe at once. It's through a measured succession of nows that the expansion of the universe has been detected in the first place.
If you can show me where data from quantum mechanics has proven that the entire future already exists in a superpositional state, then have at it. That's a pretty big claim, even for quantum mechanics.
It's clear that your knowledge of science is important for your work, and I respect that. But the concept of now occuring simultaneously throughout the universe, regardless of the fluctuations of time, may be something that science itself hasn't grasped yet. Will it ever? Only time will tell.
One of the major problems with discussing time, is language, so I understand your predicament. The other is comprehension. When you say that everything is happening simultaneously everywhere, it just doesn't mean anything once a critical look is taken at that statement. Perhaps if you give me an example of what you're trying to say, I'll understand it better, but simultaneity isn't getting it.
The data from QM is simple. Is called the measurement process. If I have a subatomic particle in a sealed box with a 50% chance of decaying in one half hour, until I open that box I won't know which state it'll be observed in. That means that the future, depended upon that observation, is in a superpositional state - half decayed particle, half not decayed particle. However, when I open the box, the alternate outcome that I don't observe would still exist in a parallel universe.
Because the superpositional state already existed, just waiting for the measurement process, those futures existed as well. Which future is observed is part of the randomness of chaos theory which is what I was talking about to Jeff. Everything we do effects the future because we can decide to do it or not, but it's only the future that we observe. The distances of space also effect how we see the future, from small scales to cosmological ones. A football player running to catch a pass, with his eye on the ball, may know that he's going to catch the ball as it falls towards his arms, but the fans in the stands, because of their wider point of view can know that the player won't get far because of opposing team members running to blindside him. The fans know that a brutal tackle is in his future, but he is not aware of that. Meanwhile, in outer space, NASA observers with the Hubble can be watching an event with a black hole as if what they see is happening now. In reality, it happened in the past and right "now" that same black hole has long since evaporated - an event that won't be observable here for another million years. That future, from our perspective, already exists, except that I've cheated a bit with that example because I indicated what that future is. In real circumstances, we wouldn't know and uncertainty results in probabilistic superpositions. Maybe the black hole is still there, maybe it evaporated, or maybe a larger black hole swallowed it. That uncertainty can be described as a wave function.
The quantum mechanical view of superpositions is referred to as a wave function and when one observation is seen instead of others, it is viewed as the collapse of the wave function. However, the Everett Wheeler view is that the wave function does not collapse and that the alternate outcomes still exist in parallel universes. The Everett/Wheeler view is gaining support in the physics community and it's the view that I subscribe to because mathematically and experientially, it fits the observable world the best.
The science world has grasped and rejected the idea of everything happening at the same time because science deals with what happens in the universe, and there's nothing happening on the scale that you're referring to. To say otherwise would require you giving an example.
All right, Marshall, so along with avoiding saying things like "this moment of now is happening in the same exact microsecond everywhere in the entire universe," I also have to avoid the word "simultaneity" altogether. Oh well, I guess this is what happens when one discusses the concept of a universal now with a theoretical physicist.
The best way to handle this, in my opinion, is to try and somehow separate the concept of the universe as a whole experiencing the same present from the fluctuations in the rates of time occuring in that universe.
But before I attempt this I must say a little something in regard to your explanation about the future already existing. You said "because the superpositional state already existed, just waiting for the measurement process, those futures existed as well." I have to admit I don't understand how that proves that the future of the entire universe has already happened. But then I don't have a background in physics. It seems to me, though, that if QM had proved that the future of the universe has already happened, then it would be a much more publicized fact than it is. Just sayin'.
Now back to trying to somehow separate the concept of the universe as a whole experiencing the same present from the fluctuations in the rates of time occuring in that universe. I think it's time for a thought experiment, or better yet, a poetic thought experiment. I think I'll call it:
A Universal Now
Imagine an object existing.
That object has a past, a present, and a future.
That object is only truly actualized, is only truly real
in the present -- in the now.
It is not real in the past, which is the object's history,
nor is it real in the future, which is the object's destiny.
It is only experiencing actualization, its full quality of realness,
in the present -- in the now.
The rest is but memory and vision.
Now imagine that object as being the entire universe.
The entire universe is experiencing this point of actuality --
this quality of realness -- as a unified universe.
The gravitional fields within the universe are dramatically diverse.
The rates of time within the universe do vary
according to those gravitational fields.
But the entire universe is still being actualized,
is still being ushered into its reality --
leaving behind its past, heading toward its future --
as a whole, all together, in the present ...
in a universal now.
Thank you, Marshall, for challenging me on this issue. I feel like I've come to a deeper understanding (at least for myself) of the concept of a universal now. It might come in handy somewhere down the road.
Looking forward to any future discussions. You take care, now!
Frank, I don't agree with you because of my belief in prophecy. I don't feel that the future can be seen and felt unless it already happened, and can even be reinvented from the past. I also believe that forms of existence are outside time, which creates instant mobility in any direction without limits. Our minds enable us to understand what's evident, but I suspect we are trained to dismiss much else that's also in front of us and would make us non-dependent upon mortal hierarchies.
Simply for the sake of accuracy, the phrase, "existence outside time" could only accurately apply to existing outside of a particular time continuum, or being able to move back and forth within a time continuum at will. Nothing exists without time, not even God. He may exist outside of our time frames and be able to do all sorts of things with time that we can't, however, you can still put a clock on it. In fact, in Genesis, it times how long it took God to do the creation.
Something to think about...