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If the idea of Eternalism as expressed by those like J.M.E. McTaggart and Sean Carroll is true (as much of physics seems to suggest), the idea of the present moment being more real than the past or future is just a biological illusion. If that's the case, then what does it mean for our consciousness to in some sense exist eternally at every moment in our lives? I have to imagine that we're continuously retreading the same path through space-time that is producing the same experience over and over, only experiencing it linearly one moment at a time because of the limitations of our perception. I see this as different from Nietzsche's idea of Eternal Recurrence; we aren't appearing in different incarnations that have identical experiences over infinite time but continually reliving the exact same experience.

Good explanation of Eternalism and Presentism here.

  • There's two different flavors of eternalism, one accepts McTaggart's B-theory of time in which there isn't any notion of a "present moment" moving along the timeline, another is the moving spotlight model where there is. I'd say most eternalists would go for the former idea, in which there's no sense of even a subjective spotlight of consciousness that moves along your worldline, so it wouldn't make sense to ask if it "resets" when it reaches the end. – Hypnosifl Jun 27 at 17:24
  • If eternalism is true the idea of "treading" or "looping" does not make sense, it unwittingly reintroduces some external "time". It would mean that the only real things are causal relations and "consciousness" arranges them into a sequence. It does not happen "repeatedly", it does not "happen" at all, it just is, eternally so. – Conifold Jun 28 at 0:20
  • @Conifold - There are some eternalists who believe in an objective moving present, see my link on the moving spotlight model--the defining feature of eternalism is that past, present, and future have the same ontological status, which is compatible with such a spotlight. Historically one can find examples of thinkers advocating an eternalist picture before McTaggart but with a moving spotlight, like the Vaibhasika school of Buddhism, or Charles Hinton's "What Is the Fourth Dimension?". – Hypnosifl Jun 28 at 15:35
  • @Hypnosifl those are great resources, thanks – Trevor Villwock Jun 28 at 23:20

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