The Reality Of The Future

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The Reality of the Future: Probabilistic Potentialities

How can time be unreal if humans can both perceive and conceive of it? Does time exist outside of human minds at all? If time is singularly linear, that is, there is only one future, what’s the purpose of any human action? Contemplating the nature of the future often leads to ostensible paradoxes. To Aristotle, the future only existed potentially, not actually, because it was impossible to determine true and false statements about the future. To St. Augustine, neither the future nor the past was real because everything could only be perceived in the present time. I believe that there are many possibilities for the future, and all of them are simultaneously real until one becomes the present. Those multiple possibilities are what make freedom and responsibility real and relevant, because individuals can influence the likelihood of each potential outcome. How can multiple futures be real? Aristotle says, “the predicate cannot both belong and not belong to the subject at one and the same time with regard to the future” (Paragraph 2). His solution to this was that the
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Even if the future is predetermined for us, it makes no difference, because we won’t know what that predetermined path is. It won’t be “true” freedom, but the belief in true freedom is what’s important. The fact that people think they have a responsibility to influence good outcomes is what keeps society functioning. And yes, it could be a lot better, but it could also be significantly worse. If everyone believed in fatalism, then nothing would ever get done and happiness levels would plummet. So regardless of whether there is truly one possible future or many, it’s better to believe in many, both for personal wellbeing and greater
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