Wine Appreciation, The Andromeda Paradox, and The Forever Present Moment

Vinted on August 2, 2010 binned in wine appreciation, zen wine

Hang on to your tin foil cone hats, people.  Today’s discussion is about to get… freaky.  For those of you who give up on me in this post, I promise this will be the last time I talk about the Andromeda Paradox in relation to wine, ok?

You see, the thing is, time is relative.  Which means that your future may be predetermined; which means that you might not actually have the freewill that you thought you had, but it doesn’t matter anyway because you need to fulfill the destiny of the present moment because that’s the only moment that truly matters because it’s immutable.  So if you’re drinking a glass of wine right now, give it your full attention because as far as that immutable moment is concerned, you will be appreciating that wine for eternity.

Don’t worry – it will all make sense in a minute or two.  Or several.  I think.  Let’s start at the beginning.

Time is relative

I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but the sense that time is the same for all of us is an illusion, though happily the relativistic nature of time only manifests itself when dealing with extreme circumstances, like, say, traveling in a car at almost the speed of light (sorry, speed demons – even the latest Yahama crotch-rocket motorcycles can’t even come close to that speed).  But the fact remains, proven scientifically with astounding accuracy: time is not the same for all observers in the Universe.  Which results in interesting phenomena like the Andromeda Paradox.

Your Future Has Already Happened.  Sort Of.

In the Andromeda Paradox, "when someone is moving towards a distant point there are later events at that point than for someone who is not moving towards the distant point. There is a time gap between the events in the present moment of the two people." 

Let’s look at it this way – let’s say you’re on vacation in the Andromeda galaxy and are planning on enjoying some kick-ass Andromedean wine.  Back on Earth, one of your wine-loving friends is looking to the sky via telescope to see how your Andromeda wine-vacation is coming along (let’s ignore the fact that it would take about two million years for the light to reach her telescope).  If your friend is at her house (stationary, in Earth terms), what she might see is you contemplating what wine to buy and where to drink it.  Simple enough, right?

Let’s say your friend then calls one of her friends via cell phone.  That particular friend is in a car, moving very fast (like, almost light-speed fast) in the general direction of the Andromeda galaxy, and also has a kick-ass telescope.  Ignoring the rules of good road safety, he decides to look into his telescope while driving to see how you’re coming along on your vacation, now that your first friend has piqued his interest by mentioning that you were vacationing in Andromeda. 

But what he sees is not what your other friend sees.  He sees you already at an Andromedean restaurant and drinking the wine that you’ve not even yet decided on trying according to your other friend.  Your stationary friend?  She sees you still deciding what wine to try.  And both of them are right.

Hence the paradox: "…two observers observe the same events – two million year old events in their telescopes – but the moving observer must assume that events at the present moment on Andromeda are a day or two in advance of those in the present moment of the stationary observer."

And the freakiness has only just begun…

Every Moment – Including Your Wine Appreciation – Is Forever

To get really freaky, consider what this means: you’ve already made your choice of wine, from someone else’s standpoint.  Not only that, but if you’re friend’s friend drove in a direction away from Andromeda, he’d see events in your past.
This suggests two things:

1) You are predetermined, destined, to make that choice of wine.

2) Each and every moment in the history of your Universe is immutable, and accessible to an observer under the right conditions.  The Universe "remembers" every moment.  Every moment is, was, and always will be.

In other words, the passing of time might also be thought to be an illusion, with the arrow of time moving forward primarily because of the laws of entropy.  Maybe the present moment is the only one that will ever matter.  Buddhists and Taoists knew this, though they reached the conclusion very differently – hard science backs them up.

What the hell does this have to do with wine

Everything, but only in so much as wine has to do with everything else in your life.  If the present moment is all that really matters, then your next moment with wine ought to be thought of as kind of special, even if it’s just a simple sipper that you’re cracking open with your grilled salmon burger on a sultry Summer evening.  So open that bottle of wine and give it your full attention – because in that moment it will be the only thing that matters.  Really smell it, really taste it, really savor it, because you’ll be doing it forever (so try to pick a good bottle, okay?).  And know that be doing so, you’ll sort-of be fulfilling your destiny.

Pretty heavy for a Monday, eh?  I think Einstein would have prescribed a glass of wine to help with that…







  • Tom Johnson

    Must have been some good weed.

    • 1WineDude

      That's the sad part – I was sober!

  • Dave Grega

    Interesting….not sure if I follow everything though…..I assume that this hypothesis has been tested under controlled circumstances in which people were cruzin at the speed of light and looking through telescopes while drinking wine???!!! Probably not…..we dont know if these theorys really hold up under such extream conditions….we are only human and as such , even our most sound logic is fundamentally flawed….think of the big bang…we know or at least have good reason to belive it happened but we also know that when the entire universe is at a singularity just before the big bang occurs, mathamatics and physics as we know it can not exsist….i.e 1+1 would not equal 2… basicly , cheers! Ha
    P.s I wrote this from my droid, in bed @ 6am so please forgive the typos and errors….!

    • 1WineDude

      Hey Dave – true about the Big Bang; not *quite* as true about the time relativity – it's of course not been tested at near light-speeds, but slower speed tests have confirmed Einstein's predictions within ridiculous levels of decimal-point accuracy so there's as yet no reason to doubt the predicted mathematical results at higher speeds.

      Whether wine was involved in any of those experiments, I don't know (one can only hope, right? :-).


  • RichardA

    I have to disagree with your two suggestions, the predeterminism and immutability. I am much more an adherent of the Many-Worlds theory, where all our possible choices exist and result in multiple, different universes. Thus, an observer sees only one possible future, out of a myriad of other futures that exist in other universes. So nothing is predetermined, as all possibilities exist somewhere. An observer may see you drink a bottle of unoaked Chardonnay, yet in other universes, that Chardonnay may be oaked, or it may actually be a Pinot Noir, or even iced tea. What ever can happen, will happen, in some universe.

    • 1WineDude

      Richard – I think I've had that Chardonnay. The one that's actually iced tea, I mean. :-)

      Was never a big fan of the Many-Worlds / Many-Universes theory; just seems so complicated. Like over-oaked Chard…

  • 1WineDude

    My ideas are definitely dangerous. Fortunately, though, these ideas aren't mine so you're probably safe. Sort of.

  • ChrisO

    Very interesting concept! So are you suggesting that there is no such thing as free will or self determination because everything we experience has already happened, and we therefore can't change it? Who is to say that now is not then? What would Doc from Back to the Future have to say about this?

    • 1WineDude

      Chris – well, *I'm* not saying it, I'm just relaying the logical conclusions reached by others :-).

      Doc would have big-time issues with this one, since his whole premise was that time travel into the past is possible, which most physicists agree isn't gonna happen; even if it did, the most logical way would be via wormholes, but that means time travel into the past would be possible only to the point in time when the wormhole was created. And since by many calculations it would take an almost infinite amount of energy to keep the wormhole from collapsing, chances are we won't see that stuff for a long time (if ever).

      As for freewill, if the present moment is the only true time then does it really matter and is immutable and forever, then another way of looking at it is that the question of whether or not we have a choice is irrelevant because it presupposes a movement through time during a moment that is timeless.

      Damn, I need a drink already!

  • Arianna

    Loved this! So fun to read anything related to wine that tells a different story. And this story was, certainly, different ;)

    • 1WineDude

      Thanks, Arianna. Another interpretation is that this blog has officially jumped the shark. Not sure yet… ;-)

  • ChrisO

    Very interesting concept! So are you suggesting that there is no such thing as free will or self determination because everything we experience has already happened, and we therefore can't change it? Who is to say that now is not then? What would Doc from Back to the Future have to say about this?

  • cmolchany

    where ever you go, there you are….and were too? so that bottle of vin gris in my fridge, i've already had?

    • 1WineDude

      Quotes from Buckaroo Banzai are *always* welcome here :-).

  • Emily

    Maybe that's why you get the weird 'gut feeling' when you do the wrong thing, because the right thing already happened in some future point and you are creating dissonance in your molecular energy by pulling your body off the predetermined better path :)

    • 1WineDude

      Alright Emily… uhmmm… I think you might be too smart to comment on this blog! :-)

  • 1WineDude

    I want thank you, username001. If that indeed is your *real* name!!!

The Fine Print

This site is licensed under Creative Commons. Content may be used for non-commercial use only; no modifications allowed; attribution required in the form of a statement "originally published by 1WineDude" with a link back to the original posting.

Play nice! Code of Ethics and Privacy.

Contact: joe (at) 1winedude (dot) com





Sign up, lushes!

Enter your email address to subscribe and get all the good stuff via email.

Join 36,883 other subscribers