1.22.2013

The Insanity of Time Travel

I've been asked often what would be the first thing I would do if I were given the ability of time travel.

OK. That's actually a lie. I've never been asked that. Like ever. At least not that I remember.

But I have given the answer to this imaginarily oft asked question some serious thought.

And I have to say that the first thing I would do would be...

Nothing.

Well, OK  That's actually not true. The first thing I would do would be to go to the bathroom. Now, that may be because I would be so overcome with the possibilities that I'd be apt to piss myself.  Or it could be that I have to go the bathroom as of the time of this writing and really should have planned better before I sat down to write such a seemingly insightful (or arrogantly empty) post as the one I'm about to pen about why the idea of time travel makes great science fiction, but has no place in the world we live in. Or at least this plane of existence.

So...bathroom break taken care of. Back to the matter at hand. And that matter is time.

I used to think that if I had a time machine (because it's always a time machine, right?) that I would try to do something that would benefit mankind. But there's that whole slippery slope of not knowing who you touched...or who would be affected by changing just one thing. The calamity involved with time travel has been pounded in to our heads time and time again.

So...ok...short of stopping Hitler, what then? Would I repeat the same day for years, a la Groundhog Day? Honing my craft as an artist...musician...writer (lord knows, I could use the practice).

No. Probably not.

The thing is...I don't know what I'd do if suddenly presented with a time machine. And that probably goes back to the fact that I don't really believe in time. Oh, sure, I play along with it because I have to. But my ultimate goal is to get the point in my life where the clock no longer matters. Where I can live my life completely free of the shackles of time.

Time.

Time is a myth. So...here's the thing, time travel as it's depicted in the books and movies just won't work. For the simple reason that it's based on a quantifiable measurement of time.  But you can't measure time in a straight line.

Past, present, future all exist at the same time, pardon the pun.  But it's true.

There you are, sitting on the East Coast.  It's 3 in the afternoon. You call your friend in California. You both look at your watches at the same time. Yours says 3 in the afternoon. Theirs says Noon. How can that be? How is it you are talking to someone in the past? More impressively, how can your friend be talking to someone in the future?

Think of flights from one side of our country (or globe) to the other. There is the very real possibility that you are actually travelling time when you are on said flights.  How is that? How is that even possible?

Because "time" doesn't exist. It's an arbitrary unit of measurement. A universally agreed upon group hallucination. Everyone in the world agrees that this magical, imaginary line somewhere in England is the beginning of time. And time "zones" emanate around the globe. And we make mathematical adjustments based on where we are in the world to that time zone so that we always have the correct 'time.'

What happens when you leave the planet? Time zones, even time itself is a wholly 'earth' based concept. It's based on the planet's revolutions and rotations around a star in our solar system. Once you leave earth, time really has no meaning.

Gravity, however, means something. Gravity can be measured on the moon. In space. On other planets. Light. Dark. Heat. Cold. All of these are measurable constants.  Math is a constant. The formula for Pi is the same wherever you are. Country, planet, solar system. It's a universal constant.  And it's measurable.

Time is an illusion. Time is a dimension. A bubble, if you will. This bubble encompasses our current plane of existence. It allows our human brains to process life events. To categorize things in to nice, neat little boxes. We as humans are very keen that there has to be an order to things. But Nature is not like that. Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday....10A.M., 11.A.M...3 in the morning.....these things have no correlation in nature.

Think of it this way....think of your dreams.
In your dreams have you ever had massive spans of time pass in one night's slumber? I have. I have lived multiple lifetimes in one 7 hour sleep session.  And who's to say that I didn't actually live those life times?

We are so keen to categorize things in to boxes that we think of dreaming as 'not real' and the waking world as the 'real world.'  But what if they are both dreams? Have you ever had a dream within a dream? Have you ever been different people in a dream? Seen the world through the eyes of another?

Have you ever had a conversation with someone in your life in a dream that you both knew about when you next met in the real world? I have. And the first couple of times it can be a little freaky.

Mathematically, some physicists will tell you that time travel is possible...however, that's based on a linear model of time. The thought that you can manipulate time AND space to appear at another point on the time space bubble is great for sci-fi, but I don't believe it will work.

Do I have proof of this? Yes. And No. I'm not a specialist in quantum physics. I'm not a brilliant mathematician. But there are some truths that are universal, whether we acknowledge them or not.

If someone came to me and told me they could travel time via some mechanism borne of this world, this reality, I would look at them with very skeptic eyes. And I would somberly ask them if their affairs were in order. Because at this point in the game, I don't know of anything that could be made on this world, that followed the physics of this world that could adequately manipulate the bubble of time without disastrous consequences.

Truth is, we are ALL time travelers. You travel time every night you 'go to sleep and dream.' Sure, scoff if you want, but your dreams are more of a reality than you know.  There have always been time travelers. Ancient cultures called them Shaman. They knew that there are multiple bubbles of reality and knew how to navigate between, through, over, and around them.

There are still shaman in this world, this time. They don't make themselves known too often.

But they will when the time is right.

-ATS

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