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Vassily Maximov, "Everything is in the past" (1889).

The past is the portion of time that has already occurred;[1] it is the opposite of the future.

Contents

Overview

The past is contrasted with the present. It is also regarded as the conglomerate of events that happened in a certain point in time, within the Space-time continuum. The aforementioned conception is closely related to Albert Einstein's Theory of relativity. The past is the object of such fields as history, archaeology, archaeoastronomy, chronology, geology, (historical geology), historical linguistics, law, paleontology, paleobotany, paleoethnobotany, palaeogeography, paleoclimatology, and cosmology.

Humans have recorded the past since ancient times, and to some extent, one of the defining characteristics of human beings is that they are able to record the past, recall it, remember it and confront it with the current state of affairs, thus enabling them to plan accordingly for the future, and to theorise about it as well.

Philosophy and science

According to presentism, the past does not strictly exist; however, the methods of all sciences study the world's past, through the process of evaluating evidence. Presentism is compatible with Galilean relativity, in which time is independent of space but is probably incompatible with Lorentzian/Einsteinian relativity in conjunction with certain other philosophical theses which many find uncontroversial.

A visualisation of the past light cone (at bottom), the present, and the future light cone in 2D space.

In classical physics the past is just a half of the timeline. In special relativity the past is considered as absolute past or the past cone. In Earth's scale the difference between "classical" and "relativist" past is less than 0.05 s, so it can be neglected in most cases.

In the modern theory of relativity, the conceptual observer is at a geometric point in both space and time at the apex of the 'light cone' which observes events laid out in time as well as space. Different observers can disagree on whether two events at different locations occurred simultaneously depending if the observers are in relative motion (see relativity of simultaneity). This theory depends upon the idea of time as an extended thing and has been confirmed by experiment and has given rise to a philosophical viewpoint known as four dimensionalism. However, although the contents of an observation are time-extended, the conceptual observer, being a geometric point at the origin of the light cone, is not extended in time or space. This analysis contains a paradox in which the conceptual observer contains nothing, even though any real observer would need to be the extended contents of an observation to exist. This paradox is partially resolved in Relativity theory by defining a 'frame of reference' to encompass the measuring instruments used by an observer. This reduces the time separation between instruments to a set of constant intervals.[2]

See also

References

  1. ^ Hegeler, E. C., & Carus, P. (1890). The Monist. La Salle, Ill. [etc.]: Published by Open Court for the Hegeler Institute. page 443.
  2. ^ Petkov 2005

Quotes

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

Quotes about the past:

  • "Not to know what happened before we were born is always to remain a child; to know, and blindly to adopt that knowledge as an implicit rule of life, is never to be a man."
    • Chatfield
  • "No hand can make the clock strike for me the hours that are passed."
  • "The present is only intelligible in the light of the past."
    • Trench
  • "Study the past if you would divine the future."
  • "The best of prophets of the future is the past."
  • "Many classes are always praising the by-gone time, for it is natural that the old should extol the days of their youth; the weak, the area of their strength; the sick, the season of their vigor; and the disappointed, the springtide of their hopes!"
    • C. Bingham
  • "Some are so very studious of learning what was done by the ancients that they know not how to live with the moderns."
  • "The past and future are veiled; but the past wears the widow's veil; the future, the virgin's."
    • Richter
  • "Do not attempt to change the past, but instead seek to make the future"
    • Gen. Teofisto Gaurano
  • "The past is a foreign country; they do things differently there."
  • The past always looks better than it was. It's only pleasant because it isn't here.
  • We are tomorrow's past.
    • Mary Webb

See also

References

Wiktionary-logo-en.png
Look up past in Wiktionary, the free dictionary
  • Klopsch, Louis, 1852-1910 (1896). Many Thoughts of Many Minds.  

Source material

Up to date as of January 22, 2010
(Redirected to The Past article)

From Wikisource

The Past
disambiguation
This is a disambiguation page, which lists works which share the same title. If an article link referred you here, please consider editing it to point directly to the intended page.


The Past may refer to:


Wiktionary

Up to date as of January 15, 2010
(Redirected to past article)

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary

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Wikipedia

Contents

English

Most common English words: six « comes « stand « #496: past » suppose » else » entered

Pronunciation

Etymology

From Middle English, past participle of passen (to pass", "to go by)

Noun

Singular
past

Plural
pasts

past (plural pasts)

  1. The period of time that has already happened, in contrast to the present and the future.
  2. (grammar) The past tense.

Derived terms

Translations

Adjective

past (comparative more past, superlative most past)

Positive
past

Comparative
more past

Superlative
most past

  1. Having already happened; in the past; finished.
    past glories
  2. Relating to the past.
    past tense
  3. (of a period of time) the one before this one
    during the past year

Translations

Adverb

past (comparative more past, superlative most past)

Positive
past

Comparative
more past

Superlative
most past

  1. in a direction that passes
    I watched him walk past

Translations

Preposition

past

  1. beyond in place, quantity or time
    the room past mine
    count past twenty
    past Midnight

Usage notes

Translations

Related terms

Anagrams


Czech

Noun

past f

  1. trap

Dutch

Verb

past

  1. second person singular present tense of passen
  2. third person singular present tense of passen

Slovene

Noun

past f

  1. trap

Simple English

Simple English Wiktionary has the word meaning for:

The past is something that has already happened. If something has not happened yet, it is called the future.

Professors and researchers that study the events of the past, and try to explain why these events happened are called history professors or historians.

Many books, movies, and television shows tell made-up stories about the past. These are called historical fiction. Some books, movies, and television shows from a style called science fiction or fantasy tell made-up stories about being able to travel through time back to the past.









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