Does your past determine your present?

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Does your past determine your present, or do you completely recreate yourself and your reality anew – from scratch – in every moment? Sure, there’s a ton of evidence that supports the former – it’s almost too easy to attribute causality to randomness, to predestination, or to a superpower of some kind. The ego, in an attempt to hide itself from the observer, will always downplay the observer’s true power. It will attribute choice – your power to choose your perspective in every moment – to factors that are external to you. To make it seem as though you don’t have a choice. (With freedom of choice comes responsibility, and who wants that?)

But let’s entertain the latter, seemingly absurd idea that you, in fact, choose each moment – consciously or otherwise – in its entirety. That in every split second you recreate your whole world, including the other people, from nothing. Many, many times per second.

Imagine that you’re able to slow down time:

1:10-1 At first, as you turn “down” the time speed knob, all sounds decrease in pitch and fade out into a total silence.

1:10-2 All movement ceases: a bird frozen in flight, a brewing impact of a bullet fired into glass, which just barely began to crack.

1:10-10 Absolute stillness that almost seems infinite, no matter how far “down” you spin the time speed knob. You zoom in to the breaking glass and look at the cracks, which seem to propagate out with a slower and slower rate.

1:10-45 Light slows down – the red shift causes everything to take on an intensifying reddish hue.

1:10-48 Light slows down even more, and everything around you becomes dim. The sun in the sky looks like a faint red sphere.

1:10-49 You start noticing the flicker – at first it’s just a barely noticeable blur, but then the individual “frames” become distinct, as the time gap widens between each render. This effect resembles the old television cathode-ray tube screens, where the moving picture was drawn – time and again – by moving a beam of electrons across a phosphorescent screen, one line at a time, and then starting over – 50 times per second.

1:10-50 The framerate. Each second now corresponds to one frame – one complete render of your entire world.

1:10-51 You notice that the render itself takes only a small fraction of the second – a tenth of a second at most. Another tenth of a second the rendered image lingers and fades away. This means that during 80% of the time you perceive, absolutely nothing in your world exists, not even your body – only the dark space. There is only the One – the massless Prime Radiant, traveling as fast as it desires across the entire Universe – rendering this frame, one particle at a time.

1:10-60 Total darkness – the photons have not yet been rendered in this frame. You zoom in to atomic scale, and look at the skin on the back of your hand – you catch the Prime Radiant at work, spinning into creation each consecutive vortex of spacetime – each proton, each electron – appearing next to itself to create the illusion of matter, weaving this daydream into your experience from the fabric of space.

Who are you in this equation? Are you the Prime Radiant? Are you the spacetime? Who are you “between the frames,” when the last frame has already disappeared, but the next one hasn’t been rendered yet? When, technically, you don’t even exist? Who is responsible for the way the next frame will be drawn? Is it the previous frame – the one that’s already faded away?

Does your past determine your present, or do you completely recreate yourself and your reality anew in every moment? Our worldview largely shapes our perception of reality. Imagine the two different worlds that you would experience as a result of having one belief or the other, and look around – which world do you like better?

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On March 11, 2020
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