Written By: Damien Knight
“Is There a Good Sense in Which the Past is Fixed and The Future Open?”
I do not believe the past can ever literally be fixed. Even if some say that time travel to the past is conceivable going back might not fix the future that already occurred. It might instead create an alternate timeline. But could we possibly fix our past mentally. The answer is yes we alter our memories to suit our purposes and often have false memories in place given to us by our own-selves and family members around us. The future is believed to be an open page or blank slate but in reality our future is affected directly by our present action. We alter our chances by acting presently therefore the future is never truly open. We are defined by our present through altering our past memories.
I wrote the above back in 2012 and reading the question I realise I misunderstood the point of the question. How I passed my philosophy 100 and 300 level courses and not realised this I do not know. Is the past fixed and the future open? What this is asking is time fluid or static? Is destiny predetermined?
All things that have happened in the past can’t be changed, but memory is a funny thing. How we perceive our pasts changes. Our memories have a way of lying to us based on our present. In a figurative way the past is only as fixed as our memories allow it to be. So, I guess my answer on the past isn’t changed with this new understanding of fixed being not to repair but held in one place.
So, what of the future? Is it fixed or open? This one I think as I answered above is still relevant, but a part of me think the future should not be tied to our past. Our pasts can be burdensome. As long as you leave the present an open slate, the future can become open. If you’re burdened by your past, in your present, your future is as fixed as your past.