From: "Patrick Leahy" <[EMAIL PROTECTED]>
To: <>
Sent: Friday, May 12, 2006 12:56 PM
Subject: Re: Smullyan Shmullyan, give me a real example

> On Fri, 12 May 2006, Saibal Mitra wrote:
> >
> > Einstein seems to have believed in ''immortal observer moments''.
> >
> > In a BBC documentary about time it was mentioned that Einstein consoled
> > friend whose son had died in a tragic accident by saying that relativity
> > suggests that the past and the future are as real as the present.
> >
> I'm sure Einstein would turn in his grave at your quoted expression. An
> immortal moment is a contradiction in terms, unless it implies a "second
> time" which passes as we contemplate "first time" embedded in 4-D
> space-time.  Unfortunately a lot of popular discussion of space-time
> implicitly invokes this spurious second time, because it is hard to
> decouple the language of existence from the language of existence *in
> time*. To believe, with Einstein, that all points in space-time are
> equally real (because the relativity of simultaneity means that there is
> no unique "now") is quite the opposite of the nutty idea that all events
> exist "now" --- not even wrong, from Einstein's point of view.
> Einstein actually expressed this view in a letter of condolence to the
> widow of his old friend Michele Besso. His words are worth quoting
> accurately:
> "In quitting this strange world he has once again preceded me by just a
> little. That doesn't mean anything. For we convinced physicists the
> distinction between past, present, and future is only an illusion, however
> persistent."
> Later physicists, in particular John Bell, have pointed out that
> relativity doesn't *prove* that now is an illusion, it just makes it
> impossible to identify any objective "now".
> Not that any of this has anything to do with the sort of immortality
> contemplated by Everett, which is not at all enticing: like the Sibyl in
> classical myth, his immortality would not be accompanied by eternal
> youth... a rather horrible fate.

Thanks for the correction and the exact quote. I only vaguely remembered
what was said in the program. Of course, ''immortal observer moment'' is
indeed contradictory. The point is, of course, that ''now'' implies a
localization in time just like ''here'' implies localization in space. Just
like things that don't exist here but do exist elsewhere are ''real'' so
should things that don't exist now anymore but did exist at some time in the


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