Skip to comments.Give your mind a workout -- what we already know about time travel
Posted on 01/07/2019 3:35:22 PM PST by Peter ODonnell
Time travel -- it is of course a subject central to science fiction. Most of us probably believe it might one day become possible. It does not seem to be that close to becoming a reality.
There are, apparently, laboratory experiments with mysterious sub-atomic particles that demonstrate the existence of time travel on a limited basis. But as to human beings getting into a time machine and ending up in their future or past, we don't have anything like that available.
But we do already know some things about time travel, from what we can observe around us.
(1) If the human race is capable of doing it in the future, they either
(a) cannot travel back in time or
(b) there are very strict conditions placed on that.
We know that because, with the exception of some isolated and unverified claims, it is generally our experience that humans from the future do not appear among us. So if they have come back from our future, they must be either so well disguised as to be undetectable (as such), or so infrequent and following rules of non-contact with us, that we never see them.
We could be pretty certain that if time travel became commonplace in future societies, we would be dealing with a steady stream of "time tourists" including reckless teenagers using their parents' time machines for a joyride. Not that one would necessarily suppose that out of all history, the year 2019 would be dialed into very many time machines, but you never know what famous event might be about to happen, and those time travelers might be here to see that unfolding.
So perhaps we will discover the means for time travel in the future, but may not be able to get this far back, or any distance back at all, perhaps it only works forward, and then you have to wonder, once you made that jump, could you then come back to your time of origin?
Now, a separate question would be, can intelligent alien life forms travel through time? Perhaps they can do so in the limited sense that they can travel faster than light and arrive places in relatively short periods of time that would otherwise take millions of years. But if an alien life form did that and arrived on earth today, we might not know about it. That life form might be able to pass itself off as human, or might have a technology to remain invisible (so might our human descendants of course).
Some passages in the Old Testament and in the Revelation of the N.T. sound a bit like time travel was employed, for example, the showing of visions of the future would be most easily explained by angels (citizens of the Kingdom if you prefer) travelling back in time with video evidence that they showed the selected prophets, who of course described what they saw in terms that they understood. And much of what those prophets describe sounds like it might be in our time or not that far advanced beyond now, suggesting that these time travelling angels came back from a time not far into our future. So how about this for a scenario ...
The Kingdom begins at some point in time not very far off into our future. The power of the Kingdom originates from outside our world, unless we want to believe that some human being (or a group of them) is very close to developing these powers and could represent themselves in that way. Either way, these are powers that nobody claims to have in public at least, so it would seem more likely that they exist somewhere else and become operative in the Kingdom which, as a separate question, we are by no means sure would be on the earth at all.
So time travel may have some sort of closely guarded oversight of the government of the Kingdom, so that only authorized delegates (perceived as angels by our ancestors) could employ the power for specific purposes.
Once something has not happened (like a good actor shooting Adolf Hitler) then it cannot happen in this universe. This rules out a large amount of possible time travel, there would be no "going back" to do things that might seem beneficial, if they didn't already happen. If time travelers prevented an airliner from crashing (and we had no idea they had done so) then that could happen, so long as it was done the way it turned out to have been done.
This is more than just idle curiosity -- it may help explain the mystery to many of us, why does God not intervene in our sorry world and end this apparently failing free will experiment, and replace it with the Kingdom which was always going to be better anyway even if we were improving by leaps and bounds in our conduct, which we clearly are not?
The simple answer to this might be that God also cannot do what has not been done, so if God develops out of a pre-divine being anywhere in the universe (this argument is not restricted to the earth) then He cannot go back from that point in time to do anything except those things that He actually did do in the past. I know that sounds crazy, but in fact it is more or less what we are told about Jesus Christ, born around 4 B.C., but apparently "present with the Father at the creation of the world." How does that work? Even if you accept that Jesus Christ was born as a man but had divine attributes, how did He end up at some distant point in the past, thousands or millions of years before His birth, to participate in that act of Creation? And how did God the Father manage to do that, even if you don't accept the idea of Him coming into being and going back in time, then you are still left with the paradox that God must have existed before the moment that all things were created (in this universe at least).
Give your mind a workout. Is it possible that the Kingdom, the second coming included, can only happen when an unknown entity (not necessarily even human) evolves to the point of having God-like powers, and can then execute plans and bring forward the Kingdom. Perhaps it's not so much a question of choosing the time, but becoming the agent.
It makes no sense to us in our limited human ways of thinking that God already exists, has unlimited power, but chooses not to use most of that, and instead allows all sorts of bad and lamentable things to occur in our world. We have always imagined that must be because God wanted to give a sufficient number of human beings an opportunity to participate in this experience before calling an end to it and replacing it with that better dispensation. But that always has overtones of a certain amount of careless or cavalier disregard. The suffering of the holocaust or Gulag, for example, were no mere trials of Job. Surely at some point the failure of the free will experiment would convince even the most patient Creator that it was time to accept the inevitability of chaos, disorder and sin arising from free will, and limit further unnecessary suffering.
But perhaps the explanation is as simple as this -- God does not yet exist. When He does, it may take Him only five minutes to draw that same conclusion, call off the madness and do the things that have already been done, in the mystery of time, while enjoying the opportunity to do all things desirable in the future.
So many wrong suppositions here I don’t know where to begin. It is obvious that God is in another dimension that has no physical boundaries or restraints, such as time. Imagine an elevator that can go through time in infinite directions and distance, then you might get an inkling of what God is capable as far as time.
But perhaps the explanation is as simple as this — God does not yet exist. When He does, it may take Him only five minutes to draw that same conclusion, call off the madness and do the things that have already been done, in the mystery of time, while enjoying the opportunity to do all things desirable in the future.
The Final Observer. This idea was dealt with at some length in Stephan Baxter’s Xeelee series.
The easiest way to time travel is to get into a good history book.
The past is done, the future hasn’t happened yet. We are the future.
I was just discussing this subject with somebody next month.
I have thought about time a great deal. Often as I lie in bet before going to sleep.
For some reason I just can’t quite understand it.
A hippy commune in northern Italy claims to have a time machine. It’s a sphere that closes people in and those people sweat they go back in time.
Search for “damanhur”, and probably search the way-back machine at that.
Time is part of the created physical universe. When I leave this mortal body I will also leave the physical universe, including time. In my resurrection body, like that of the risen Christ, I will travel in space and time at will. Just part of what God has prepared for those that love Him.
Trinitarians believe that the Son has been eternally a part of the Trinity, and was the creative agent. He came to Earth through his incarnation, but that was the Being clothing Himself in flesh, not the origin of the Being.
Some, for example the LDS-- and please correct me if I get this wrong-- believe that all souls have had existence prior to incarnation, to one degree or another, and that a soul is provided to a body at conception, or at birth, or at the first intake of breath. People like me believe that each soul is crafted as needed, there being no spiritual storehouse of unborn souls, and that Jesus was unique in having a pre-existence as a part of the Triune Deity.
Hope that helps :)
Time travel is all wibbley wobbedledy timey wimey.
You can travel to the future, but not back in time.
So I could go back in time so my beeber would never be stuned
According to Niven’s Law time travel is impossible or won’t be invented. If it is possible and invented idiot humans will use it and change history until they create a universe where it is never invented. So we are safe.
Also, even if it was possible to travel into the past, you would stick out like a sore thumb in your new surroundings. As much as you might try to "blend in" and be inconspicuous, others will immediately see that you don't fit in.
For instance, take the character in "Back to the Future" (and I know it's just a movie) who shows up in the 1950s with one of those sleeveless winter jackets that were the rage back in the 1980s. The movie downplays this but if this actually happened, everybody on the street would surround this strange character with this odd clothing. I don't think even that material (of the jacket) was around in the 1950s. In other words, they wouldn't just let this kid walk around.
Now imagine if one of us were to time travel to the time of the American Revolution. What would we wear? Cargo shorts and a T-shirt? Even if we went to a museum or a movie studio beforehand and borrowed the appropriate period clothing, it would still not be the "real thing" that they actually wore but just a approximated version of what we think they wore (and how they wore it). We wouldn't last 5 minutes in 1776 without coming under intense scrutiny.
On top of that, there is no way you could fit yourself in socially with those people. Your English would be way different than the King's Olde English used at the time and some common catchphrases that we use today could be highly offensive or inscrutable to them (and vice versa).
For instance, what would Benjamin Franklin's reaction be if you walked up to him from the future and said something like "Ben Franklin, my man! What's up dude? Been flying any kites lately?"
Yes, that's a bit over the top but I think I make my point. There would be no way to go back that far in time and just "blend in."
All you need is a Delorean, and a flux capacitor.
Using the vast power of my huge mind, disciplined by several years of exhaustive training at The El Segundo School Of Culinary Arts, I shall now travel back in time.
Forgot to put it in reverse.
One more time.
Asimov had another option in The End of Eternity; time travel is possible, but needs some sort of machinery - sort of a station - to do it. Therefore you cannot travel back further than the first station. That is why we don’t see time travelers - the first “station” hasn’t been invented yet.
Time Travel (From Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy)
Time travel is increasingly regarded as a menace. History is being polluted.
One of the major problems encountered in time travel is not that of accidentally becoming your own father or mother. There is no problem involved in becoming your own father or mother that a broadminded and well-adjusted family can’t cope with. There is also no problem about changing the course of history- the course of history does not change because it all fits together like a jigsaw. All the important changes have happened before the things they were supposed to change and it all sorts itself out in the end.
The major problem is quite simply one of grammar, and the main work to consult in this matter is Dr Dan Streetmentioner’s Time Traveller’s Handbook of 1001 Tense Formations. It will tell you for instance how to describe something that was about to happen to you in the past before you avoided it by time-jumping forward two days in order to avoid it. The event will be described differently according to whether you are talking about it from the standpoint of your own natural time, from a time in the further future, or a time in the further past and is further complicated by the possibility of conducting conversations whilst you are actually travelling from one time to another with the intention of becoming your own father or mother.
Most readers get as far as the Future Semi-Conditionally Modified Subinverted Plagal Past Subjunctive Intentional before giving up: and in fact in later editions of the book all the pages beyond this point have been left blank to save on printing costs.
Note: The term “Future Perfect” has been abandoned since it was discovered not to be.
The Encyclopedia Galactica has much to say on the theory and practice of time travel, most of which is incomprehensible to anyone who hasn’t spent at least four lifetimes studying advanced hypermathematics, and since it was impossible to do this before time travel was invented, there is a certain amount of confusion as to how the idea was arrived at in the first place. One rationalization of this problem states that time travel was, by its very nature, discovered simultaneously at all periods of history, but this is clearly bunk.
The trouble is that a lot of history is now quite clearly bunk as well.
Here is an example. It may not seem to be an important one to some people, but to others it is crucial. It is certainly significant in that it was the single event which caused the Campaign for Real Time to be set up in the first place (or is it last? It depends which way round you see history as happening, and this too is now an increasingly vexed question).
There is, or was, a poet. His name was Lallafa, and he wrote what are widely regarded throughout the Galaxy as being the finest poems in existence, the Songs of the Long Land.
They are/were unspeakably wonderful. That is to say, you couldn’t speak very much of them at once without being so overcome with emotion, truth and a sense of wholeness and oneness of things that you wouldn’t pretty soon need a brisk walk round the block, possibly pausing at a bar on the way back for a quick glass of perspective and soda. They were that good.
Lallafa had lived in the forests of the Long Lands of Effa. He lived there, and he wrote his poems there. He wrote them on pages made of dried habra leaves, without the benefit of education or correcting fluid. He wrote about the light in the forest and what he thought about that. He wrote about the darkness in the forest, and what he thought about that. He wrote about the girl who had left him and precisely what he thought about that.
Long after his death his poems were found and wondered over. News of them spread like morning sunlight. For centuries they illuminated and watered the lives of many people whose lives might otherwise have been darker and drier.
Then, shortly after the invention of time travel, some major correcting fluid manufacturers wondered whether his poems might have been better still if he had had access to some high-quality correcting fluid, and whether he might be persuaded to say a few words on that effect.
They travelled the time waves, they found him, they explained the situation- with some difficulty- to him, and did indeed persuade him. In fact they persuaded him to such an effect that he became extremely rich at their hands, and the girl about whom he was otherwise destined to write which such precision never got around to leaving him, and in fact they moved out of the forest to a rather nice pad in town and he frequently commuted to the future to do chat shows, on which he sparkled wittily.
He never got around to writing the poems, of course, which was a problem, but an easily solved one. The manufacturers of correcting fluid simply packed him off for a week somewhere with a copy of a later edition of his book and a stack of dried habra leaves to copy them out on to, making the odd deliberate mistake and correction on the way.
Many people now say that the poems are suddenly worthless. Others argue that they are exactly the same as they always were, so what’s changed? The first people say that that isn’t the point. They aren’t quite sure what the point is, but they are quite sure that that isn’t it. They set up the Campaign for Real Time to try to stop this sort of thing going on. Their case was considerably strengthened by the fact that a week after they had set themselves up, news broke that not only had the great Cathedral of Chalesm been pulled down in order to build a new ion refinery, but that the construction of the refinery had taken so long, and had had to extend so far back into the past in order to allow ion production to start on time, that the Cathedral of Chalesm had now never been built in the first place. Picture postcards of the cathedral suddenly became immensely valuable.
So a lot of history is now gone for ever.
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