Is it consistent with quantum mechanics to think that:"We live equally in all past, present and future events" which is suggested by Einstein's relativity?

  • Neither special nor general relativity have anything at all to say about consciousness. What makes you think that one or both do?
    – Alex
    Commented Nov 9, 2017 at 10:30
  • Okay fine sir. But my question has nothing to do with nature of consciousness I'm only referring to the existence of consciousness (in modest sense)
    – user29084
    Commented Nov 9, 2017 at 10:36
  • Please consider the edited question.
    – user29084
    Commented Nov 9, 2017 at 10:43
  • 1
    "Live equally" is so vague that it can be made consistent even with presentism. QFT explicitly incorporates special relativity, but nothing can be consistent with all interpretations of a theory unless it follows from it, and "notions" do not follow from theories, they are added by interpretations.
    – Conifold
    Commented Nov 9, 2017 at 20:28
  • 2
    I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because it is too broad to admit of an answer conducive to the StackExchange format. Ignoring other problems with the question, even a book length treatment would need to restrict to a few of the more prominent interpretations of QM. Further context and specificity is needed before an answerable question could emerge.
    – Dennis
    Commented Nov 10, 2017 at 6:21

1 Answer 1


There are three pertinent aspects to this question:

  1. the time evolution of (special) relativity
  2. the time evolution of (relativistic) quantum mechanics
  3. observation of quantum phenomena

I'll keep this answer to special relativity and quantum mechanics as their relationship is very well established. The relationship between general relativity and quantum mechanics is still largely speculative.

For both the time evolution of special relativity and quantum mechanics, the very well attested, underlying mechanics are time reversible. In other words, the equations of motion are the same however you choose to interchange past, present and future.

With just these two, there is nothing special about the past, present or future; these are just arbitrary points on a continuum.

Observation is different and is, with indeterminism, the key driver for QM interpretations. In all the interpretations (that I'm aware of), something qualitatively special occurs in the present i.e. the point of observation. The effect, to the observer, is to make the past deterministic while leaving the future non-deterministic.

In the Copenhagen interpretation, for example, this event is the waveform collapse. In others, such as the many worlds interpretations, the event is more subtle. In the latter, although there is no collapse per se, observation still has the effect of having a past that is not affected by other worlds with a future that is.

So, taking QM observation into account, it is hard to justify a time equality interpretation. Without observation, it falls out of the equations quite naturally.

  • Sir, thanks for the clearly explained answer. My additional query is that, Does the statement: "something qualitatively special occurring in the present at quantum scale" contradict the statement that "We live equally in all past, present and future events that we experience"?
    – user29084
    Commented Nov 9, 2017 at 11:43
  • @Akhil yes because it implies that past, present and future are qualitatively distinct. Now, if one argues that they can be distinct but we still live in them, in some sense, equally, then that's possibly valid. But the onus is on the questioner to explain what precisely they mean by equal in this context.
    – Alex
    Commented Nov 9, 2017 at 12:30
  • Ok, sir. But what if equal in this sense means that past doesn't vanish after we experience it and future already exists?
    – user29084
    Commented Nov 9, 2017 at 14:28

You must log in to answer this question.