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I'm reading the Sword in the Stone and Merlin says:

“Now ordinary people are born forwards in Time, if you understand what I mean, and nearly everything in the world goes forward too. This makes it quite easy for the ordinary people to live, just as it would be easy to join those five dots into a W if you were allowed to look at them forwards, instead of backwards and inside out. But I unfortunately was born at the wrong end of time, and I have to live backwards from in front, while surrounded by a lot of people living forwards from behind. Some people call it having a second sight.”
...
“Have I told you this before?”
...
“You see, one gets confused with Time, when it is like that. All one’s tenses get muddled, for one thing. If you know what is going to happen to people, and not what has happened to them, it makes it difficult to prevent it happening, if you don’t want it to have happened, if you see what I mean? Like drawing in a mirror.”

I understand everything up unto the last paragraph. He asks him if he had told the wart before because living from future to past, he doesn't know if he'll ever tell the Wart again( for him) or a first time(from the wart's perspective)

my question is, how do ya'll think he perceives everything. He can't really walk backwards or undigest all his food. in fact in the book he draws water out of the well. if he did everything backwards, wouldn't he be dumping clean water into the well?

is this a situation like in Sliders when they are on that parallel world where time moves in reverse so they experience time in a 1 step forward two steps back type of flow. I found the question kind of responded to on a site and one poster posted this: though if I interpret it correctly, it is kind of hard to take him seriously.
No, I think you've misunderstood Merlyn's predicament here. Being in the same state, I believe I can elucidate. Moving in the reverse direction in time in one's existing mind merely creates the opposite illusion that most people live under. Merlyn of course is well aware that time as perceived in this reality is just one perspective on a more complex force, and he of course has experienced alternate realities, such as the one where Gravity is very strong while Time is very weak, just the contrary to what most people experience here in this dimension.
So while he remembers the future and must attempt to predict the past, he experiences all of Time at once. Each moment lasts ostensibly forever, and one finds one-self "stuck" or "un-stuck" in Time (as Vonnegut would call it) in the same way most people would be "in motion" or "waiting". Being ageless and immortal, Time is no different than any other force, and only effects him so much as he must always exist in one moment or another. After he "dies" (in a manner of speaking) he is then able to exist in more than one place simultaneously, and thus entered the realm of "fiction".
I myself am nearly fictional. As Shakespeare put it, "'tis a consummation devoutly to be wished."
And (I'm adding this in the future, so I came up with this part first you see), keep in mind that remembering the future is no more reliable than remembering the past. The equivalent of when you remember something totally differently than how someone else remembers it is when you remember one possible future that in fact will never happen in this reality.


he does make some points that are certainly valid, but he thinks he is living time backwards and is almost fictional. I mean i guess anything is possible, but lol.


but regardless. how do ya'll think merlin sees things and does things if he is living time backwards?
 

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Cause and effect becomes effect and cause. I have seen several videos on the internet, which were backwards, and either they were meant to be viewed that way (Dead Island trailer), or they were just played backwards for lols. Try watching scene of movie/cartoon, you haven't seen, backwards, and you'll know what I mean.
this is my personal favourite of it's category
 

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I was thinking of this today. If it was perfectly normal for everything to be in reverse, how would thinking and perception work? Holy shit. What if we're in reverse RIGHT NOW and we just don't KNOW IT?!?!?!?!

 

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Animated cartoon Cartoon Photo caption Animation Fictional character


Ah well, forgive the inappropriate fun!

Anyway, if you technically lived from future to past without knowing the past but only the future roles would just be reversed. While it typically goes cause -> effect (for the causality followers under us anyways) in the reverse mode effect would turn into cause and cause would become the effect. Their order remains in tact, though - at least for as long as one sticks to his perception which innately seems to strive for causality to exist.

If you know what is going to happen to people, and not what has happened to them, it makes it difficult to prevent it happening, if you don’t want it to have happened, if you see what I mean?
This I found utmost humoring, though! The farce of it all, looking at it from within his sphere.
 

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I more I think about this the more I believe that the Merlin's perception would be no different from ours other than the fact that he is going in the other direction like a car in reverse. In our time paradigm, the past is solidified as having been and the future is seen as uncertain with possibilities. This can be modeled as a tree, with a path branching out in several directions. But taking into consideration that the past is just the relative future of a previous past, we get a clearer perspective on how time works and we can remodel our tree to include its roots, which also branches out into several directions underneath the ground. I think this is pretty close to how Merlin perceives reverse time flow. He is going from the tip of the branch to the roots, which may seem like the completely opposite of our forward linear time perception in absolute sense. But really its the same in a relative sense. The commonalty being that of the now, the moment. I've never read the Sword in the Stone, but the author seems to be hinting at the idea of determinism through this Merlin dude. Thats just my personal interpretation. I also have trouble understanding the second paragraph because it is very hard to undue our paradigm of time perception.
 

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This is a very high level question because the fact that Merlin knows that he is living time in reverse in a universe where time is perceived differently makes his perception different from a person simply living time in reverse. If your head hasn't exploded yet, it just means some of the conclusions I made in my previous post are probably flawed. This would mean that Merlin would have some mixed perception of time which share similarities with ours but the foundation not quite the same. I will think about this more, it might be one of those Ground Hogs day scenarios, not sure yet.
 

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Is he aware that he is going back in time?
It would totally change things if he didn't know.

This kinda makes me think of what I might not know about time and that we could really be going back in time compared to a parallel dimension.

Or forward, or up, or on an acute angle.
 
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