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This forward-and-backward-memory effect makes a lot of intuitive sense because explains a lot of human experience, including why confident people are more successful (because they know they'll succeed), why we "get a bad (or good) feeling" about stuff, deja vu, and so much more. Plus it's just logical that we can perceive time's natural state rather than just the linear fashion in which we experience it.

My intuitive metaphor for time is water, because of the complexity - and widening complexity the farther you get from the epicenter of perspective - of water molecules moving and interacting in fractal and almost-random fashion.

At various times in my life, usually at super-stressful moments, I'm able to remember backward; that is, if I don't intervene in, say, a painful argument, I know exactly the direction it'll take. It's not psychic powers or anything; it's more like living through a scene of deja vu, knowing that if I act out the part of future-memory-Chris, things will go exactly as in my memory from the future, my forward remembrance. The interesting part is not just that but the part where I can change the future by not following the script of my memory from the future. It's been inexplicable to me - well, in general - but specifically because it doesn't make sense that intervening would change a future deja vu. Except that time isn't set in the "future" because there's always an ever-diverging and multiplying set of alternate paths one can take, each decision and diversion from our rut enabling more and more possible paths, each one of those branching into more.

Reading this, it's pretty clear that we have infinite possibility in our lives, and listening to our gut and seeking adventure and novelty are ways to live across multiple possible universes, not just the one in which we're deeply rooted. Now if only scientists could find a way to strengthen this skill... I wonder: Perhaps by working hard to remember backward (studying for things in the past, deeply learning from experience, and so forth) we can strengthen our time-sense.

Thanks for the heads-up, clevermanka!

Cool beans!

Chris

Comments

( 5 comments — Leave a comment )
indicolite
Sep. 3rd, 2011 02:15 am (UTC)
At various times in my life, usually at super-stressful moments, I'm able to remember backward; that is, if I don't intervene in, say, a painful argument, I know exactly the direction it'll take. It's not psychic powers or anything; it's more like living through a scene of deja vu, knowing that if I act out the part of future-memory-Chris, things will go exactly as in my memory from the future, my forward remembrance. The interesting part is not just that but the part where I can change the future by not following the script of my memory from the future. It's been inexplicable to me - well, in general - but specifically because it doesn't make sense that intervening would change a future deja vu. Except that time isn't set in the "future" because there's always an ever-diverging and multiplying set of alternate paths one can take, each decision and diversion from our rut enabling more and more possible paths, each one of those branching into more.

Interesting. I must say I cannot recall any experiences from my life that fit that. I've had several dreams that turned out to be somewhat prophetic (confirmed by looking back on notes I had made the morning after the dream) - but they were memories-of-the-future of complete trivialities, like a minor homework question, or the layout of a restaurant I later paid a very casual visit to; nothing important like a critical argument or a future job or significant other (I feel like the prophetess Agnes Nutter in Good Omens, looking at the future through a window the size of a drinking straw.)

I used to believe in ESP, but I am more of a skeptic these days. This is interesting stuff, but the 53% being greater than chance did not mention the p-values, unless I missed them.
mckitterick
Sep. 3rd, 2011 05:05 am (UTC)
I think the consistent 53% is what's really interesting, especially compared to the slightly less than 50% for the other side - across many tests.

It "feels" right to me, only because of my experience. I don't think of it as ESP per se, because we all have a time-sense!
karin_gastreich
Sep. 3rd, 2011 04:56 am (UTC)

If time is not linear, and we can 'remember' the future, perhaps we can also change the past... We're living in both (or all) directions at once then, aren't we? Or maybe I'm just confused. It gets confusing , if you think about it too much...

mckitterick
Sep. 3rd, 2011 05:04 am (UTC)
Yes, exactly! We're not just living in [insert time here], we're living in all times we have lived or will ever live!
(Deleted comment)
mckitterick
Sep. 7th, 2011 05:21 pm (UTC)
You know it.
( 5 comments — Leave a comment )