So how do we ensure that a particular future happens? It is all determined by what we do in the present. The present is where possibility space meets reality. In the present, possibilities are realized, eliminated, and redefined. Like the past, the present comes in three varieties depending on point of view. They are as follows:
This is the big present, the one thatís experienced by the whole universe at once. The T present has limited practical applicability because it requires an omniscient observer in order for it to be anything more than an abstraction. Absent such an observer, a universal present moment would require universal simultaneity. Most respectable models of space-time have little use for simultaneity.
This is the present as experienced by a group. Unlike the 3PL future, the 3PL present is determined by the physical proximity of the group. The crowd at a football game, for example, shares an extended 3PL present although most of the spectatorsí futures have little to do with each other.
This is the present moment experienced by an individual. The IAM present is where possibilities from your personal possibility space are realized, eliminated, or redefined.
Letís take a closer look at how that works.
Later today I plan to go the gym and work out with weights. Iíve been gradually increasing the amount of weight I work with, and may try for a new personal best on the bench press. Letís say Iíve decided to try to lift 400 pounds. Is my bench pressing 400 pounds today in my current possibility space?
It is. Even if my previous record was 125 pounds, itís possible that later today Iíll load 360 pounds onto the 40-pound bar and hoist it. Of course, if my previous record was 375, doing 400 today would be in a better position in my possibility space, closer to the present.
So I go to the gym, load up the bar, assume the position, and heave. Several different things will happen in that moment:
Possibilities will be realized. Either Iíll lift the weight or I wonít. One of those two possibilities becomes reality.
Possibilities will be eliminated. If I fail to lift the weight, the possibility that I was going to succeed on that try is eliminated. If I succeed in lifting the weight, the possibility that I was going to fail on that try is eliminated.
Possibilities will be redefined. If I leave the gym without having lifted 400 pounds, the possibility of my doing it today is eliminated, but the possibility of my ever doing it has not. It has merely changed. It continues to sit there in possibility space, a little further out, now, because itís not going to happen today and I probably wonít be back in the gym for a couple of days. On the other hand, if I succeed in bench pressing four hundred pounds today, the more remote possibility that I might one day lift 500 pounds draws closer.
The ability to redefine possibilities is the Practical Time Travelerís most important tool. We can take actions that skew the odds in favor of the future weíre trying to reach. For example, if I do in fact drive over to the gym today, I will vastly increase the likelihood that Iíll bench press 400 pounds. If I stay at the office or go straight home, Iím a lot less likely to do it. Some very unlikely possibilitiesóhaving a weight bench installed at the office or homeówould have to be realized in order for that to happen.
Persistence works hand-in-hand with the ability to redefine possibilities in making a particular future happen. Each time we fail to bring that future about, we have to assess the possibilities that weíve redefined and draw a line from where we are now to the desired outcome.Posted by Phil at October 6, 2003 06:19 AM | TrackBack