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Think about it; modern humans have been around for at least a couple hundred thousand years.

Yet, your mind, your soul, your very awareness, happens to be "alive" today. If time is a flow, moving forward, and there's really only "now", isn't it an almost impossible coincidence that your lifespan of 70-90 years happens to occur "now"? Why not a hundred years ago? Why not tens of thousands of years ago? Why not a thousand years into the future? No.... Your mind and body are alive today, in the present - the only valid "now".

To me that sounds like too much of a coincidence. In fact, if you take the number of 300,000 years that modern humans have existed, and we take (just for the sake of making this calculation easily understandable) a lifespan of 100 years, your lifespan could have started at any time during those 300,000 years. There's only a chance of 1 in 3000 (0.033%) that the start of your lifespan would coincide with the present. If we add to this a potential/possible 100,000 years of additional "future time" that mankind may have left, then it's even more of a coincidence: 1 in 4000 or a 0.025% chance.

What are your thoughts and ideas about this? Is there some kind of known paradox about this? Or an explanation?

This questions has driven me nuts for years and years. I just can't wrap my head around it.

# EDIT/UPDATE

Wow, what a huge amount of responses, thank you all so much. Your answers definitely feed my hunger to try and learn more about the subject.

Just as a **general reply**; most, if not all of you, seem to focus your response around the *probability* of me being alive today, and assign the probability of 1 to this; after all, if I'm able to ask this question now, it means I must be alive now.

However, what I'm (even) more interested in, is the coincidence of me being alive today, *assuming* that time acts like an objective spotlight (gradually passing along, moving into the future) shining at one specific point on the timeline (reaching from the moment of the big bang all the way into at least *now*, or maybe even the future).

This quarrel, again, assumes that time acts like an *objective* spotlight, which is important, because, when time would act like a *subjective* spotlight instead, then (in my mind at least) the probability of a person being alive being 1 whenever he/she asks the question would only make sense if time was ** not** a passing, moving spotlight at all - but instead a fixed dimension, meaning that all time (all moments in history and possibly all moments into the future) would exist all at once, and whatever we're experiencing as the present, is just a subjective representation of this specific moment in time... Which is just something I'm having a hard time with comprehending (which doesn't make it any plausible, of course).

I hope this makes any sense.

Again, thanks for all your contributions.

25This is the ultimate example of the Prosecutor's fallacy (see Wiki). Mixing up two kinds of conditional probability. Essentially, from the fact that the probability that a random birth within last thousand years is you is very low, you incorrectly conclude that the probability for you to be born within last thousand years is also low (but it is 1). Pr(you|time) vs Pr(time|you). – ttnphns – 2018-06-17T13:21:39.900

Have you ever had a question why do you even exist? Regardless of time. I think understanding of this is necessary for understanding the answer on this question. – rus9384 – 2018-06-17T14:52:06.920

“Is there some kind of known paradox about this?” Don’t know it’s “real” name, but this is quoted almost verbatim from the Thermonuclear Miracle speech Dr Manhattan gives Laurie on the surface of Mars in Watchmen. 99.999% sure Alan Moore didn’t come up with it all by himself :) – Heroes182 – 2018-06-17T20:28:24.017

2

Closely related if not an exact match: Doomsday Argument.

– Harry Johnston – 2018-06-18T03:05:23.32362Throw 20 dice. Write down the numbers. Show them to me. I'll say I don't believe you got those numbers, because the probability of getting

exactlythose numbers is smaller then winning the lottery several times over. See the problem? – vsz – 2018-06-18T06:16:38.4503This question is also reminiscent of the "anthropic principle" in cosmology. It seems like an amazing coincidence that the fundamental constants of physics created the conditions that allowed life to form. But if they hadn't, we wouldn't be here to contemplate it. Multiverse theories propose that there are many universes that didn't, and this just happens to be one of the lucky ones. – Barmar – 2018-06-18T19:57:09.587

Religious philosophers use this same argument about the existence of a creator: they attempt to restrospectively compute the odds that all physical constants would be perfectly tuned for life if chosen at random. But they ignore the fact that it's already happened and so the probability is 1. – Fixee – 2018-06-19T20:32:37.240

Some questions, I cannot get the answer to. All I do is try different ways of thinking and seeing what results I get if I perform calculations different ways. It is very possible to pretend the truth is different than it is. For example, sometimes during a dream, I would have a false memory that my past went totally differently than it did. I have 2 distinct definitions of a future, the physical future of our universe and a future of a consciousness. I define a future of a consciousness to be a consciousness that has memories of it or a finite chain of memories of memories that go back to it. – Timothy – 2020-09-29T23:44:03.237

I don't think of it as I will be dead. I think of it as my distant future consciousness doesn't exist. I'm 33. My brain is constantly doing its own thinking independently of my past and burying my past in the sand and because of that, I feel like eons of time have passed and like it better that way. When I recall the past, my recollection of it is a completely different experience than what I was experiencing at the time. According to my conscious perception, my distant past and future don't exist. It's more like I have a book making up a story of my past that doesn't exist. Why I feel like – Timothy – 2020-09-29T23:48:56.160

my future doesn't exist. Because once it comes, I will consider that time to mean my own thinking that I'm doing at that time, not my connection with my prior interpretation of having known it was coming. My memories will get distorted and I will feel like my past didn't happen and that I'm truly conceiving of something new even if I'm not and that I couldn't have possibly conceived of it in advance. All you can do is try different methods of calculation and see what you get. Do you seek a method of calculation that makes it so that those who do exist consciously perceive it. Looking from the – Timothy – 2020-09-29T23:54:22.367

outside, how would you think of it. You would think of it as this is how it's supposed to be done, each person at each time consciously perceiving themself at that time as the absolute present. Do demonstrate the point. The axiom of choice states that for every set of nonempty sets, there is a choice function. It turns out that the axiom of choice is not provable. Take any one set from that set of nonempty sets, now that you already know which one was picked. If you were than told that one element from it got picked, could you derive a contradiction? No. Why do you need to assume that picking – Timothy – 2020-09-29T23:58:49.037

one from that one set must derive from a generalization rather than just from a way of picking one from that set? I will show you cannot derive a contradiction from the negation of the axiom of choice. Suppose that set of sets doesn't have a choice function. Take any choice function on a subset of that set. Then it's a proper subset. Once you're given that subset and the choice function on it, if you were told that somebody picked an element from some of the sets outside that subset, could you derive a contradiction? No. If you take a different function on a proper superset of that subset, it – Timothy – 2020-09-30T00:05:45.293

can include more of those sets in its domain. It's not all of them. It's just more of them. Just because you can't pick one from all of them doesn't mean you can't pick one from more of them. Why must a way of picking one from more of them derive from a way of picking one from all of them rather than just from a way of picking one from those ones. Learn to appreciate how creepy and disturbing it was to even pick ones from some more of them. The original function missed picking some from those sets. However, it turned out that there were some elements in those sets anyway. You just have to – Timothy – 2020-09-30T00:10:28.853

think outside the box and be like "That's the way to look at it." I know there is nothing special about that element instead of another given what that set was and what the choice of picking elements from the original subset was. You have to learn how to take the element itself rather than the set as a given. Does it really matter which one was picked? No. They still picked one and that's good enough already. You have to learn that the question is not whether that element was the one but whether it was an element from that set. The answer is yes. This flexibility is the reason it's the case – Timothy – 2020-09-30T00:15:44.350

that for every set in the original set, there seperately exists a way to pick an element from it. Since that element is one of them, if you take a new partial function based on that element to include one more nonempty set in the domain, you will find that there in fact is a way to pick an element from that one more set after all. That's why there are infinitely many of those nonempty sets. As far as the original function was concerned, you would be saying "Yes, if you take that element when it's given to you on a platter." Suppose you are a God who actually can specifically conceive of all of – Timothy – 2020-09-30T00:22:16.297

members of any of those sets. I don't believe in God myself but that doesn't stop me from thinking of the idea. The part of your awareness on any one of those nonempty sets will think about and study that set from scratch and not just compare it with the other ones and certainly not derive an individual element from a choice function on all of them and derive it just from that choice of picking that element from the one set. You essentially have to focus on just one at a time. You have to learn how to continue doing your own thinking on the spot instead of asking yourself how you would have – Timothy – 2020-09-30T00:28:37.243

done something before. Earlier, you were actually able to think. But now, see for yourself what comes as making sense. Don't blindly ask how you would have done something before. Maybe you will naturally pick up your earlier way of thinking or see for yourself that it makes sense to be like "My past self had feelings. It makes sense to not disappoint it." With my current way of thinking, I think I would not make sense of the argument "Do something a certain way because I would have done it that way before." It's all about thinking what makes sense, not comparing the problem with my own past – Timothy – 2020-09-30T00:36:40.097

way of thinking. I know I have other ways of thinking at other times and have to let myself do things according to my way of thinking at that time when it is that time. It's not worth the struggle. It would create more problems. I'm like a different person at different times. – Timothy – 2020-09-30T00:39:54.780

I didn't notice the notice at the top. – Timothy – 2020-09-30T00:41:44.120