Does the Past Exist?

I read about this rather interesting question this morning. Once something has happened and is over, does that event have any continued existence? So does ancient Greece or Rome still exist other than in our imaginations? My first answer would be “no”. But is a ancient coin from Roman times that is found in the dirt today still a coin? Or did it lose its “coininess” when Rome ceased to exist? Is the light that carries information to us in the present about events that happened millions of years ago in distant galaxies happening in the present at all? The event, after all, was over millions of years ago. And if the past no longer exists, nothing is happening, right? We see a mirage that we think is in the present. But it is no different really than looking at the coin or a painting. Some sort of artifact appears to exist in the present, but the event? And did events ever really exist outside of our interpretation of them? Did Rome exist only because men accepted it to be so?

Interesting questions – more so when we find out that humans suffer from a bias. We tend to fear loss more than we crave opportunity. But what would we be losing, after all? That, it seems is a bit more complicated than one might suppose. Yet we cling to our things.

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