How the Past, the Present and the Future Can Exist at the Same Time

The incredibly insightful animated series Kurzgesagt put together a colorful animation that discusses how the past, the present, and the future can all exist at the same time, as explained by several different theories.

Do your past, present and future all exist  right now? Are you watching this video, being born and lying on your deathbed  at this very moment? Surprisingly, the answer could be yes. But how can that be?  What does that even mean? How does time work?

The “Theory of Relativity” and quantum physics can explain this temporal paradox, as they both see the world as a single space-time continuum, with the “now” being collective.

How can the past  and future be real right now? The problem is that according to the Theory of Relativity, they kind of have to be. Heavily simplified, relativity says  that time and space are not separated, but one connected spacetime. …This means time passes differently  for different people, depending on how they move through space relative to each other. And  this also means that what someone perceives as “now” is a certain cut along the block – a cut that will depend on how fast they are moving.

They remind us that, while scientific, these are just theories. Other theories view the now as belonging to individuals, while others see time as a human construct. But there is no definitive answer.

Some scientists think  that the idea of “now” only makes sense near you,but not in the universe as a whole. Others think  that time itself doesn’t even exist – that the whole concept is an illusion of our humanmind. And others think that time does exist, but that it’s not a fundamental  feature of the universe – rather, time may be something that emerges from a deeper  level of reality. The concept of time is abstract and  elusive, possibly beyond complete human comprehension.

Lori Dorn
Lori Dorn

Lori is a Laughing Squid Contributing Editor based in New York City who has been writing blog posts for over a decade. She also enjoys making jewelry, playing guitar, taking photos and mixing craft cocktails. Lori can be found posting on Threads and sharing photos on Instagram.