Time Travel discussion

Just for Fun > Time Travel Is Impossible, That's Why It's So Much Fun

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message 1: by Paul (new)

Paul (paullev) | 774 comments I thought it was time to put up a little premise here - time travel is impossible, that's why it's so much fun to read, watch, and/or write.

Why is it impossible?

To the past: Because of the grandfather (or grandmother) paradox, which can only be overcome by assuming the MWI (multiple worlds interpretation), which is even mor bizarre than time travel, and therefore violates Occam's Razor as a solution

To the future: Because that would negate free will, which I'm sure in my bones I have, and there's no other evidence that I do not.

Why so much fun: well, you already know that.

message 2: by Brenda (new)

Brenda Clough (brendaclough) | 225 comments It is fun, because it holds out the hope that things can be fixed. The old assassinate-Hitler plot, for example.

message 3: by John, Moderator in Memory (new)

John | 834 comments Mod
Anyone who has watched the TV show "Big Bang Theory" knows that time travel is impossible. If you missed it, here is a clip from You Tube:


message 4: by Paul (new)

Paul (paullev) | 774 comments Brenda (hey, how are ya?) ... but the problem is the hope is rarely realized ... which is why it's fun...

message 5: by Howard (new)

Howard Loring (howardloringgoodreadscom) | 1174 comments Paul, just an idea, but who says it's impossible given, if true, how would we know the difference?

After all, there are two sides to a paradox, that's why it's called a paradox & free will could still apply, just within a new paradigm & again, only you wouldn't know the difference anyway.

message 6: by Paul (new)

Paul (paullev) | 774 comments Howard, good question. My response, first, is the same as Ernst Haeckel's to Kant's notion of the "thing in itself" (the inner core of things that is utterly unknowable to humans) - if we can't know anything about it, why even talk about it?

But, beyond that, there is also a paradox in your very formulation - if some being - you or I or anyone - can know that time travel took place, but no one else would realize that it took place, then that means there's a higher plane in which time travel is indeed knowable (by you or me), which in turn raises the question, how is it that we know about it but no one else does?

message 7: by Howard (new)

Howard Loring (howardloringgoodreadscom) | 1174 comments Well, Paul, if you want to go deep, so be it; Haeckel is just too Augustinian for me.

The question becomes is knowledge something that is, only waiting to be learned by chipping away, or is it not bound & only waiting to be revealed by investigation?

I’d choose the latter.

And we would know because we had the machine & that would give us the 'higher plane' of which you speak.

message 8: by Paul (new)

Paul (paullev) | 774 comments Right, but to your second point: if we know, then the paradox is not avoided.

As to the first: I agree with you, and not with Kant. And that's why I think we can't solve or get out of the time travel paradox by saying no one would know about them.

message 9: by Howard (new)

Howard Loring (howardloringgoodreadscom) | 1174 comments Well, I see your point, too.

But I deal in fiction.

In other words, where you are depends on where you've been, so pick a point & go from there.

That's what I do.

message 10: by Howard (new)

Howard Loring (howardloringgoodreadscom) | 1174 comments And Paul, not to toot, but in my new book the TT's erase the memories of those they go back & meet.

So, paradox avoided?

Well, hey, as I said, it's fiction.

message 11: by Paul (last edited Dec 19, 2012 12:43PM) (new)

Paul (paullev) | 774 comments Actually, I deal in fiction, too ... see The Plot to Save Socrates ...

Fiction is the best way to deal with time travel :)


message 12: by Howard (new)

Howard Loring (howardloringgoodreadscom) | 1174 comments Paul, a true Time Displacement, I just today got a Kindle & I'd already planned to download your book.

See, stranger than fiction.

message 13: by Paul (new)

Paul (paullev) | 774 comments Next thing you'll tell me you already read it 10 years ago before it was even written in real time, but after you traveled back a decade with your Kindle in hand ....

Meanwhile, I just marked your two books "to read".

message 14: by Howard (new)

Howard Loring (howardloringgoodreadscom) | 1174 comments Well damn, that was going to be the plot of my next book but guess that's blown now.

Talk about a paradox.

And according to Tej, you must wear a sealt belt when you delve into the Elastic Limit of Time.

See you there.

message 15: by Paul (new)

Paul (paullev) | 774 comments Sounds like my kind of ride ...

message 16: by David (new)

David Haws | 102 comments Time happens too quickly for us to make moral calculations (or, at least accurate moral calculations). Fiction takes us out of real-time (giving us adequate time for reflection). All fiction is time travel.

message 17: by Howard (new)

Howard Loring (howardloringgoodreadscom) | 1174 comments David wrote: 'All fiction is time travel'

David, words are only symbols & therefore may hold different meanings to different people, but their accuracy is always judged by the end user, so take no umbrage; how about this?

All fiction is Mind Travel, which does indeed convey you somewhere.

If you get there by way of a break in the continuum, then I'd say that's Time Travel, also.

Just read my books to see how this works.

That was 'tongue & cheek' but as to moral calculations, my Epic Fables address this as well, in that there is always a Mandate, a set standard under which all must act.

This could be, depending on one's reality, the powers of the universe, or the will of God or something in between.

At the same time, every character also has a Quest, a personal journey where choices matter & have consequences, yet they still must be made within the above mentioned constraints & that's something we all must do in our non-fiction lives, I think.

Humans make choices, it's what we do, it can't be helped, for if you don't choose then that's your choice.

Exploring these choices is what my books are all about & Time Travel is just the vehicle.

And according to Tej's review, if your mind travels within the Elastic Limit, be sure to wear a seat belt.

message 18: by Paul (new)

Paul (paullev) | 774 comments Agree here with Howard. Thinking about the past or future isn't traveling there. Further, I see the capacity to interact as also crucial. A "telescope" on the past in which all you can do is see it is not really any different from a photograph - neither are time travel. But a telescope on the future, in which you saw the future, and could not act now in response to what you saw - well, that would be time travel in my book.

message 19: by Tej (new)

Tej (theycallmemrglass) | 1725 comments Mod
Paul wrote: "Agree here with Howard. Thinking about the past or future isn't traveling there. Further, I see the capacity to interact as also crucial. A "telescope" on the past in which all you can do is se..."

Yes, agree with that qualification. I included a film called It Happened Tomorrow in the Movies thread where A newspaper reported is given tomorrow's paper which notifies him of events in advance. I classed it as time travel. Similarly, there was a twilight episode where a camera takes a photo of the future. I'm sure there are many more examples.

message 20: by Howard (new)

Howard Loring (howardloringgoodreadscom) | 1174 comments So Tej, what about stories about someone who can predict the future, without TT per se, that is?

Seems they'd fit that definition as well, yes?

message 21: by Randy (new)

Randy Harmelink | 1059 comments Paul wrote: "A "telescope" on the past in which all you can do is see it is not really any different from a photograph - neither are time travel. But a telescope on the future, in which you saw the future, and could not act now in response to what you saw "

If you had a telescope into the past, it could cause changes in the future.

Remember, eye witnesses are one of the most unreliable form of evidence. Think of how much video review of football has changed the game. They can now make much more accurate calls of what happened on the field.

Just think if you had an interactive telescope where you could get an unbiased look at any situation, any time.

Someone robbed the 7-11 on the corner? But the video feed from the store is a single view, fuzzy, practically of no help because he's wearing a mask? Hey, pull out the old time travel telescope and let's follow the thief both before and after the robbery. We can find out what he looks like without a mask, who he is, where he lives, etc. Think that wouldn't change people's futures?

message 22: by Paul (last edited Dec 20, 2012 06:37PM) (new)

Paul (paullev) | 774 comments Randy - let's say we're talking about, say, 1850. What would be the difference between a photograph, just uncovered, of people in a room in 1850, and a telescope from now into the past in that room?

The first can already happen. In fact, that's no difference in principle from a lifelike painting from any area. Those media capture the past, and keep it captured for future view. A telescope on the past would be no different - just more of the same that the photograph already does.

But, I agree with you that the photographs and paintings could cause changes in our current behavior. What I was getting at, to be more precise, is this: if we could see the future, we could change that future. But no amount of seeing the past could change it - you'd have to travel back there (then) to change it.

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