I’ve been thinking about the flow of things. That is, if one thing happens, and then another, and another, ad infinitum, how does that work? What does it mean? The first event is caused by an event before it, and it, in turn, causes another event afterward. Thus, by necessity, according to the laws of causation and natural science, one must occur before the other. First, second, third, etc. These events occur sequentially.
This suggests that time, as a measurement of distance between events, is necessary for us to describe the order of events, not unlike distance measurements being used to described the distance between two objects. The trouble is, such descriptions are subjective.
Consider, for example, a series of three events: first, second, and third. From the perspective of someone observing the first event, it is occurring in the present, while the second and third events remain in the future. As future events, there is a question as to whether they exist at all. Yet, when the second event occurs, it is happening in the present. From this perspective, the first event is now in the past. Some now argue that the first event, having come and gone, no longer exists. Also, at this point in time, the third event has not yet occurred and so might not yet be considered “real.”
As you can see, references to the measurement or description of time is subject to the perspective of the observer. The real question though, is what is the implication then for the reality of that observer? Do future or past events exist for him? One might argue that the second event, in the example above, did in fact occur. As such, it now exists. And, if it exists now, it must have always existed in some form, for nothing can come from nothing. The same logic might also be extended to the past. However, if this is true, what then are the implications for our future? Is it predetermined, in some form, already? If so, what then is the nature, or even the point, of freewill, if our outcomes are already cast in front of us?
These thoughts quickly become lost in a cascade of ontological questions that have no simple answers, for they are intertwined upon each other, dependent upon each other. One cannot be answered until all of them are. Such is the nature of reality.
Or is it?
I have experienced future events before they occurred. I have relived my past. I have seen the present with knowledge of what came before and what will come next. I have seen these things, and yet have come to believe that I stand in the midst of a river of fate that I cannot control, though I fight it with all of my mind and soul. I struggle to make sense of it, and trying to make sense of it threatens to free me of my sanity.
All I can do, I fear, is observe.