A History Of Speculation

Can the future truly be changed, or are we on a predetermined path? Chris Woebken and Sascha Pohflepp on grasping at the fabric of reality:

Hermann Minkowski’s light cones gave us a visual idea of how the possible may be situated within relations of causality. Then, in the mid-20th century, those ideas were carried into the realm of geopolitics by the threat of nuclear war.

With a flight time of 30 minutes between the Soviet Union and the United States, rocket technology shrank the future to a point where speculation became a key asset in the arsenals of the superpowers. Big think tanks like the Californian RAND Corporation, scientists, and engineers were systematically mapping out possibility spaces.

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  • kowalityjesus

    Instead of “systematically mapping out possibility spaces,” couldn’t you say “planning.” I guess I don’t understand what the scientists were doing anyways, using statistical probability to gauge likelihoods, or using something like chaos theory to augur the future?

  • BuzzCoastin

    “What we mean by ‘right now’ is a mysterious thing which we cannot define and we cannot affect, but it can affect us later, or we could have affected it if we had done something far enough in the past… There are fortune tellers, or people who tell us they can know the future, and there are many wonderful stories about the man who suddenly discovers that he has knowledge about the affective future, … But actually there is no fortune teller who can even tell us the present!”
    Richard P. Feynman, Feyman Lecture 17, Space-Time

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