One of the most fascinating realizations I had some years ago was that we are all living in the past, despite our assumption of being in the present. When you look at the night sky, some of the stars you see no longer exist. What you see is the light from those stars that has traveled for thousands if not millions of years to reach the earth.

Each star has a lifespan and when it ceases to exist, the last rays of light it emits keep travelling in space for billions of years afterwards. Some of these rays reach the earth long after the star has died. Light from our own sun takes about 8 minutes to reach us, meaning that if the sun suddenly switched off now, no one would notice until 8 minutes later.
Stars In The Sky
Extrapolating this idea, imagine you are walking down the street in town and a car suddenly appears from the street corner. What you see is actually from the past because the light showing you the car has to travel to your eye, go through the lens, strike the retina, then trigger a nerve impulse which goes to your brain via the nervous system and then your brain finally processes the image and you realize what you are seeing. (Incidentally, it is actually the brain that “sees” and not your eyes. Eyes are just receptors for data and without the brain, it is impossible to see).

This entire process may last for a fraction of a second but nevertheless, time has elapsed, meaning that by the time you see the car appear at the street corner it is actually in reality at a different position from what you see. It is already in your “future” so to speak. The moving car is in the present but you are seeing it from the past.

The same truth applies to everything you see, including your own hands. And not only what you see, but what you smell, feel, hear and taste. All data from your five senses takes time to be acquired, transmitted to your brain through nerves and then processed. Even when you jump, the motion occurs after you have already decided to jump. The signal takes time to move from your brain to your muscles.

Therefore all of us are living in the past!