Piercing-the-Field-of-Knowability-2“If at first, the idea is not absurd, then there is no hope for it” – Albert Einstein

As a futurist, I’ve always been interested in our relationship with the future. But lately I’ve become obsessed with understanding more about the dividing line between the present and the future.

I constantly find myself asking questions like, “when does the future end and the present begin?” and “how does the future become ‘now’ and where does it go from here?”

When thinking about this topic it’s easy to slip in thoughts about premonitions, ESP, and similar unexplained phenomena. But that’s not what this is about. Instead, I’m searching for a hard-science approach to the unveiling of the present.

Over the past year I’ve been developing a theory about what I call the “Field of Knowability.” Parts of this were described in a column I wrote on the “12 Laws of the Future.”

My theory begins with the assumption that there is a small gap in time between when the future is formed, and when we know about it. The point when we become “aware of the present” is what I refer to as the field of knowability.

This means that the “present” would exist for a tiny period of time, perhaps just a fraction of a second, before we ultimately experience it. Think of it as a staging area for what occurs next.

Here’s why I think this is important.

Explaining Time – We Can’t!

The concept of time is a human construct that works well enough for us to measure duration of events and intervals between them. Time has long been a major subject of study in religion, science, and philosophy. But all theories of time are riddled with unanswerable questions and eventually break down.

Some simple, relatively uncontroversial definitions of time include “time is what clocks measure” and “time is what keeps everything from happening at once.”

Two contrasting viewpoints on time come from Isaac Newton and Immanuel Kant. Newton’s view was that time is part of the fundamental structure of the universe—a dimension independent of events, in which events occur in sequence. This explanation has become known as Newtonian time. Kant believed that time was neither an event nor a thing, and therefore not measurable nor travelable.

Putting those definitions aside, time remains one of the seven fundamental physical quantities in the International System of Units used to define our world.

Separating the Present from the Future

Einstein described it this way. “The distinction between the past, present and future is only a stubbornly persistent illusion.”

The present is constantly forming around us. We are continually immersed in “presentness.” In many respects, we are swimming in the present. And like fish immersed in water, we have no way of gaining an outsider’s perspective of something we are continually submerged in.

But where does the present come from? How does it get formed? Who decides what form it takes?

The movement or progression we experience from one moment of time to the next is driven by what I call inertia.

The inertia that is in place as we leave the present is still in place as we enter the future. If we witness the act of someone throwing a baseball, using a superfast strobe light, each billionth of a second motion is tied directly to the next billionth of a second motion. Our inertias give motion to the present and direction to our future.

On a personal level, we are each dealing with the inertia of our body and the inertia of our mind. Both are constantly in motion. At the same time, our personal inertias are taking place inside the context of every other person’s inertia, as well as the inertia of every other thing around us. Nature has its own sets of inertia, with the forces of nature providing the inertia for every living and every non-living molecule in the entire universe.

Using that basis of understanding, is it possible to know something-anything about the present before it happens?

We’ve all experienced situations where we know someone is calling us before the phone rings, or that someone we’ve been thinking about is standing at the door before there is a knock on the door.

Is it possible that humans have sensory perceptions that feed us information about the “pre-present” with quiet signals directed through our subconscious? Would this be something like seeing lightning long before we hear it?

What Happens to the Present When it’s over?

After we experience the present, we are done with it. It’s over. So then what?

What is the duration of the “present?” Some of our more recent movies have been filmed at 48 frames per second. Do we experience the present at a rate of 48 “presents” per second, or is it faster than that?

What happens to the present when we have finished with it? Does it simply get discarded?

Is there some cosmic junkyard in another dimension where all of our “used” experiences go? A wasteland of former “presents?”

Every existing “present” is becoming displaced by the next “present.”

Since two “presents” cannot coexist, one volunteers to become the past? How does that work?

Does the past permanently disappear or is there still some record of it?

Requesting Help – Piercing the Field of Knowability

Reality is constantly unfolding, but is it possible that there is some sort of time-delay between when it is formed and when our human senses are able to comprehend it. If so, many of today’s mysteries of science and physics could be explained.

As an example, the nature of gravity has been one of mankind’s greatest unsolved mysteries. So what if the forces of gravity were exerted in this ultra-brief period of time, prior to knowability, with the only thing remaining, once the present arrived, being the effects of gravity, not the measurable force itself.

So how can we create an experiment to test this hypothesis?

The first test needs to prove the existence of a “present” before we know about it, even if it’s only a fraction of a second before human knowability sets in.

The second test would be one to pierce the field so we can “know before we know.” How do we time-shift the present into the pre-present?

Final Thoughts

Yes, I realize you may consider this to be the delusional thinking of a madman.

But as we amp up our microscope in viewing how every moment of the present is transacted, how we shed these fleeting occurrences of the here and now, and take our next micro-step into the future, we begin to see far more questions than answers.

I will end with one more of Einstein’s thoughts, “The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and science.”

I think this one qualifies as beautifully mysterious.

That said, I’d love to hear your thoughts. Have I sincerely gone off the deep end this time, or is this something that deserves further study?

Thank you for listening.

By Futurist Thomas Frey

Author of “Communicating with the Future” – the book that changes everything

13 Responses to “Piercing the Field of Knowability”

Comments List

  1. <a href='http://www.agresourcestrategies.com' rel='external nofollow' class='url'>Tim Gieseke</a>

    Let's see. Present + inertial ~= future. So I can "know" to a very high degree what the future will contain. I guess that is more of a forecast, not an experience.
  2. <a href='http://www.asapisoft.com' rel='external nofollow' class='url'>Kevin Weller</a>

    This sounds more like a study in neurology than physics to me. The neuroscientists among your readers could probably say way more about it than I, but I do know that some parts of the brain react to certain stimuli sooner than others. For instance, the autonomic "fight or flight" response begins long before we are consciously aware of what may have caused it (if we become aware of it at all). That's because those parts of the brain that recognize (correctly or incorrectly) danger attempt to interpret information from our senses quickly, before we get a chance to really think about and evaluate what we're experiencing from a rational or deep intuitive perspective. Maybe the rest of what you're talking about happens in a similar fashion.
    • admin

      Kevin, Thanks, some great insights. I'm thinking of this more as the intersection between physics and the human brain, and I'm not sure if there is a deficiency in our understanding of one more than the other, but there seems to be plenty of deficiencies to go around. If our lives are like the frames of a movie, there is plenty of reel before and after the lighted one occurs. So in real life, does the equivalent of a spooled "before reel" exist, perhaps in some other dimension? And if that's the case, does the "after reel" also retreat back to those same dimensions? I'm getting way better at questions than answers. Tom
  3. <a href='http://www.storytellingunicorn.com' rel='external nofollow' class='url'>Jeanne McAtee</a>

    I think I understand what you are saying, Tom. I have always pre-experienced the new present in night-time, lucid dreams where I meet new people and network in new situations before actually meeting them in the presenttime. Ratheer than viewing this as madness or "airy-fairy" pre-cognition, I believe it is my unconscious downloading new information to my conscious mind in preparation for its appearance in my present life. What seems to be a pause in forward motion, when my life cannot be seen to change in any physically measurable way, is actually that transitional moment where inertia is in play. I will feel that I am in a waiting time, where no action is necessary on my part or where action will even slow the manifestation of the new present. I have experienced this my whole life and have finally learned to "wait for it", trusting that the change is occuring naturally. As to where the "old present" goes, the ancients believed that there is a library of all our experiences recorded in the consciousness of mankind that is always available to us. It is part of the "knowability" of which you speak. Thanks for your article. I thoroughly enjoyed it! Jeanne
  4. <a href='http://www.samsondesign.com' rel='external nofollow' class='url'>Jeff Samson</a>

    Tom, I'm not certain that I agree with the statement that two "presents" can't exist at the same time. Your are experiencing a different reality than I and we both record them differently. We share each others present path differently and our encounters may be like balloons bouncing off each other. One spins away in a curly cue and the other a more straight line. We won't go into which line is who! Since some people live longer than others we may also exist on different time lines. My neighbor is only three years older than I am but his intellectual references are very much older than mine and he uses an I Pad tablet to research information so his references should be current to mine; shouldn't they? Besides, I am certain that my wife thinks I'm on a different wave length. Jeff
    • admin

      Jeff, I would agree with your wife that you're on a different wave length, but that's not a bad thing. :-) Its interesting that I was going for universal truths and you went directly to individual truths. In any case, this topic warrants much more analysis and discussion. Thanks for weighing in, Tom
  5. <a href='http://www.newalexandria.org' rel='external nofollow' class='url'>Zachary StarkJones</a>

    Given the documentation and analysis of presentiment, this may be a viable piece of research, Tom! http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/11/05/presentiment-bodies-predict-future-skpetical_n_2075632.html
  6. Don Greenfield

    Your topic can be either very complex or perhaps quite simple. I’m going to lay out a process of thinking that tends to build on what I believe to be some fairly simple truths. Here goes! The universe is energy. Living things (including humans) are energy. Even inert things are energy. We take physical form for a while but when we die our energy passes back to the realm of universal energy. Step one. Our physical presence is our creation or manifestation. We are what we believe ourselves to be. Time is a human creation and in the broader concept of the universe, time is infinite, without end, so it does not exist. Since the past, present and future are time concepts created by man, are they not then merely our manifestation? In truth, they do not exist. Step two. As Jeanne described dreaming about future events and then waiting for them to appear in her waking state, I believe we all experience this. Our awareness is dependent on how conscious we are of our dreams and our openness to the possibilities. Another way of thinking about this is déjà vu. I’m sure we all have had those experiences. We even sing about it, “Life is but a dream.” I hope this explanation answers all of your questions, Tom! ;>) What is puzzling to me is - what happens to our memory energy, our intelligence, at the moment of our death? Does the hard drive of our mind just erase? ;>) Or, does that energy move to the “waste yard” of intelligence?
  7. <a href='http://www.Market-Engineering.com' rel='external nofollow' class='url'>Gary Lundquist</a>

    Tom, am a persistent editor. My first post was ... unfinished ...TIME Differential equations handle time with elegance and constancy. Science in general applies time in rigorous ways. Only philosophers turn time into a quandary. Philosophers of time work on the wrong axis of existence. What they call time (as philosophers) is CHANGE. What philosophy wants to manage is CHANGE, not time. Change happens, everywhere and all of the time. The only way to manage change is with change. CHANGE will never, ever again be as SLOW as it is today. >>> Time is manageable. Change cannot be managed. >>> Time ticks. Change influences. >>> Time is boring. Change is dynamic. Evolution, rethinking, and learning, forever more. >> Change is the life of the universe forever. Only philosophy can manage change. Copyright Gary M. Lundquist Best, Gary
  8. Bret

    I don't understand how there can be a "pre-present". Wouldn't that instance then just BE the present? This hypothesis is similar to the quantum physic's question "where does the surface of the water start?" Indeed, on the scale of a human being, there is a distinction between air and water. But get small enough, and you can no longer tell. We should think of time the same way. To a human mind, it seems like a certain thing, past, present and future. But on a different scale, I would hypothesize there is not. There is only one time, now, eternal and infinite.
  9. <a href='http://www.radicalideasgroup.com' rel='external nofollow' class='url'>Ay Bee</a>

    Great post Thomas! I'll need more time to respond properly. In the meantime: "From the smallest sub-atomic particle to the mightiest system of stars, how fortunate we are to have an entire universe in which to keep us fascinated, entertained and guessing!"
  10. <a href='http://linkd.in/rDKecu' rel='external nofollow' class='url'>Donald Beagle</a>

    Nice post, and I suspect may open areas of research that (ironically) we may not now be able to fully predict. The question of information flow in spacetime may be more complex than we assume. Any event, like a pebble dropped in a pond, may send information ripples out in all "directions," and I am including past and future in those "directions." At a given proximity, we might sometimes detect information ripples emanating from future events, like ripples from future pebble-drops. But ripples from future events might well be distorted by an overriding flow of "intertia" from past to future. I've often wondered if the sense of deja vu ("I've been here before,") might not really mean you were ever "there" before, but instead that an act of perception may trigger recollection of a dream previously forgotten--a dream in which the subconscious happened to receive a few ripples from some future event, scene, or encounter. Lastly, even if all the above proves nonsensical, I recommend David Layzer's classic article in Scientific American (1973?) titled "The Arrow of Time." Layzer's view of information flow from macro-states to micro-state constituents corresponds in a fascinating way to David Bohm's concept of "implicate order." I did an article in the 80's (in the journal Libri; published in Copenhagen by Munksgaard)postulating that this information flow might explain how knowledge can "grow" against a cosmic background of entropy.

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