The role of interference and fate in time travel.
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So how do people feel about the issue? Do you think people traveling through time would change history with the slightest, unintentional act? Or can we trample through time and have no effect because fate has set history in stone? Or something in between the two ideas? What do you enjoy reading/exploring?
My own personal views fall somewhere in the middle. I think we could change things - perhaps on what would seem like a large level to us (effecting several generations) - and yet, I believe the Universe (and human nature) works in rhythms and larger trends would come back round to their original path eventually.
If time travel were actually possible, some new physical principle would need to turn up to prevent the mere appearance of a time machine from changing history. The universe is governed by quantum mechanics, and chaos theory shows us that even small perturbations become huge over time.
That kind of realism in a time travel story means you can never go home once you go back in time, though, which isn't as much fun...
With that being said I don't think that anything is set in stone, besides what God has said will come to pass in the Bible. The reason being is simple: if everything is set in stone then the autonomy and free will of the individual are undermined by virtue of his existence. This means that every action that I undertake will not be of my fruition by will be the result of fate. Destiny and fate seems to deny the existence of the conciousness, from a randian /objectivist point of view and from an existential point of view. I am not free to decide my own fate? This means that I'm either going to Hell or Heaven no matter how much I repent or no matter what I do.
To me this does not seem plausible, to accept destiny or fate is deny the freedom of human beings. This appears to me to be the best way to shirk our moral responsibility with respect to action and living. Oh, I didn't kill that person, fate made me do it. Yeah right!!!
Chaos Theory describes non-linear dynamic systems which are deterministic but highly sensitive to initial conditions (technically it is far more than that but I am simplifying). Some examples are weather, turbulent fluids and stuff like that.
Because they are highly sensitive to initial conditions outcomes seem to be non-deterministic and unpredictable.
Chaos Theory: A Brief Introduction gives a pretty good introduction.
I'm not sure I've read any books like this, but I've seen several movies (e.g. Sliding Doors). Recommendations, anyone?
My head hurts ... did that make sense? :D
I know I will never travel back in time and visit myself on my 21st birthday because I don't recall seeing myself there.
if there are time travellers among us now, the result of any action they take will already be a part of their own recorded history.
nobody will ever travel back in time and save John Lennon's life - if they did we would know about it now.
if time travel is ever possible it will have no effect on history.
You didn't go back and visit yourself, because you don't recall that happening. But do you know what happened to the you in another universe?
The above probably doesn't make sense, but then since I seem to recall certain historical facts which seem to have now not occurred, or occurred differently . . . .. I don't recall anyone mentioning that I was in an insane asylum. I better ask someone.
So...we "know" that we didn't go visit ourselves at 4 years old to tell us all the mistakes we made in life to try to live a better life, because we know we never met ourselves at age 4 (but, at age 4, would you recognize yourself when you were 30, or 60, or 80?).
But...what if time travel was real? What if we do go back in time to tell our 4 year old self what not tod o? Or to do?
The most logical, IMO, explanation of this is that we do not travel back across time along the single timeline we exist(ed) upon. We actually jump across the timelines and change the reality we percieve, and become part of the new timeline where it happens. I don't go back to talk to myself when -I- was 4. I go to an alternate reality where there's a me that is now 4, and I talk to that alternate me.
Then when I go back to 'my present' I don't return to my original timeline. I travel to another branching timeline, one of the infinite possible timelines of infinite options, and become a part of that timeline. I go to a timeline where I'm rich and famous and supremely healthy because in -that- timeline I was -supposed- to have talked to my 4 year old self and thus I now "truely" exist on that timeline.
Or, in otherwords, we live on Timeline-1. I time travel, I go to Timeline-4, where I was me when I was 4. When I go back to the 'modern era', I don't go back to Timeline-1 or the future of Timeline-4, I go to Timeline-4A, or Timeline-5, whatever you wanna call it, where I now exist and live my life out as if my 4 year old self knew everything I told it.
Confused or enlightened from that? ;)
I always liked the idea that the invention of the first time machine can be brought about by using a time travel paradox.
Here is how to do it. The world's scientists agree that they will commit money, time and resources to design and build a time machine. They also agree that the first to achieve the goal, no matter how long it takes, will travel back in time to (let's say) 10 minutes after the agreement is signed. The scientists wait for 10 minutes and if nobody shows up, time travel is impossible. If someone appears, they ask the time traveller how it works and build a machine.
I think there is room for both views in fiction, and I love stories like A Sound of Thunder where one mistep (heee heeee) makes the entire future wonky. Still, I prefer the idea that if I visited 1846 to hang with Edgar Allan Poe in Fordham, then I always travelled to the past to hang with Poe and DID NOT change the future.