Saturday, November 14, 2009

Time Travel

I suppose it’s the fantastic show “Flash Forward” that had me thinking about foreknowledge of the future and, as the characters race to prevent what will happen months ahead from happening and change their fate, it made me re-think the mind-bending concept of time travel.

I’ve mentioned before that on my list of dozens of things that might cause haunting characteristics, that time travel could be on that list. In respect to UFOs and alien creatures, that could actually be a more realistic option than space travel. Is it possible that hauntings are really the glimmers of the past being within our view and auditory range? Or, could it be the shimmering traces of time travelers unable to be completely visible on our plane? What if alien abductions and cattle mutilations had more to do with an evolved version of future man seeking his ancient DNA? A man who now counts on machines to do the hard work and no longer needs a sturdy body for labor but needs an advanced mind to sit before computers nonstop?

Among the conversations about time travel, the most popular conversation is that of the grandfather paradox. You travel back in time, meet your grandfather, kill him, and therefore you don’t exist in the future. Some say, should you travel back in time, that should be evidence that in the future you did exist to go back. There is also the conclusion that if you travel back in time, you don’t exist because you can’t be in both times simultaneously. With regards to time travel, I haven’t made an absolute stand on it. I believe the most likely scenario is being thrown into either future or past is a one-way ticket, a crap shoot from which you cannot return and from which you might have never existed.

Physicist Ronald Mallett became obsessed with designing a time travel machine since he first watched the movie “The Time Machine.” Sometimes, the most passionate scientists and researchers are fueled by personal demons. For Mallett it was the desperate need to travel back in time and tell his father about the dangers of smoking and save him from a heart attack at the age of 33. Of course, it’s probably a cognitive era to think that his father would accept him as his future son warning him or that his father would even quit smoking, as free will is the ultimate party-pooper in such well-made plans.

Should he succeed in his project to design a machine for time travel, Mallett might go down in history with the men of the Manhattan Project. The machine would be shut down by the government. Other countries would fight to get a hold of it. His travel back in time could have a ripple effect we cannot escape, affecting all our fates. Talk about inventing the ultimate doomsday device!

What is his research based upon? In his words taken from Wikipedia: "In Einstein's General Theory of Relativity, both matter and energy can create a gravitational field. This means that the energy of a light beam can produce a gravitational field. My current research considers both the weak and strong gravitational fields produced by a single continuously circulating unidirectional beam of light. In the weak gravitational field of a unidirectional ring laser, it is predicted that a spinning neutral particle, when placed in the ring, is dragged around by the resulting gravitational field." In a later paper, he argued that at sufficient energies, the circulating laser might produce not just frame-dragging but also closed timelike curves (CTC), allowing time travel into the past: For the strong gravitational field of a circulating cylinder of light, I have found new exact solutions of the Einstein field equations for the exterior and interior gravitational fields of the light cylinder. The exterior gravitational field is shown to contain closed timelike lines.The presence of closed timelike lines indicates the possibility of time travel into the past. This creates the foundation for a time machine based on a circulating cylinder of light.”

Spike Lee, so inspired by Mallett, bought the rights to a time traveler movie as an ultimate story of father and son, love and loss.

It’s still a lot of speculation, but at the rate science and technology have been advancing, we might be thrown faster into the critical decisions regarding the ethics of such an undertaking.

If you could have only one experience traveling backwards in time, which would you choose?
A pivotal moment in your own life you want to change
Meet an ancestor you never got to know
Witness an historic event from long ago

If you could travel forward in time, which would you choose?
Your death
Your great-grandchildren's high school graduation
Very far into the future to see man more evolved

I'd love to hear your thoughts.


  1. Replies
    1. The part about going into the future and witnessing your own death ? impossible, You vanished the moment you set off to the future, No body, no death of you. no matter how many times you came back to the present then set off to the future again, you would never be able to witness your own death,

  2. I would definitely want to see how the human kind will evolve! Will people communicate telepathetically? Will telekinisis be more common? What Gods people worship?
    Great post!

  3. Ah...time travel, such a complex subject! I'm not sure what to think about it. I wouldn't go so far as to say I think it's impossible, however, I find it difficult to think someone could physically be transported to another time. Something more like glimpsing another time (like FlashForward) or through 'astral travel' seems more likely to me.

    And as for the ripple effect that you mentioned, consider that if someone did change the past which had a ripple effect on the future, we wouldn't necessarily even know what 'changed'! Because we would have never experienced the original timeline, we wouldn't even know what originally happened...we wouldn't even realize that what originally happened ever happened at all! With that in mind, if someone had changed the past, it's possible we would be experiencing life differently now without ever knowing the way it originally happened. For instance, imagine if the Brit's won the Revolutionary War in America. Someone goes back in time to change that. Originally, our lives were different (and some people that exist now may have never existed) and history books said the Brit's one. But if someone changed the past without telling us, we'd never know the difference. Everything would seem to have just happened the way it happened.

    As for the question of what I could do if I could only go back once, I'm not sure. I suppose it would depend on the context of why I could only back once. Is it an opportunity available to everyone? Or just me? If everyone, then probably I would try to do something different in my own life. If just me, I'd probably go back and witness an historical event. That'd make for a good book to write!

    As for the future, I'd just like to see the future of the world in general. Unfortunately, with an eternity of time ahead of you, it'd be hard to pick a specific point to go to.

  4. Georgina;
    I agree--I would be very curious about the distant future. I think I'd probably be afraid for my progeny if they lived in a terrible world. I think I'd choose to see my great-grandkid's graduation.

    I was thinking about what quantum physicists say about time occurring simultaneously and every outcome possible occurs on a different plane. Every time you make a decision, you're split into alternate forms that live out the conclusions. Jeez, I'd hope not! The other day, I decided not to turn onto the on-ramp and take surface streets instead--heard a big crash and BOOM! A huge car pileup that would have been me.I think time isn't what we see it as at all. I'm not sure if we can ever manipulate time, but if we could, I'd like to go back and meet my grandmother from Lapland and hear about her nomadic childhood and herding reindeer. I see what you mean about the circumstances of going backward and forward. Let's assume you're not representing mankind, but going on a once in a lifetime vacation afforded other citizens.
    Oh, and Jeff, bless your heart. You used "an" before historical and I thought I was the only one who know to do that! In fact, because of common usage, I was starting to think I was losing my mind.

  5. Before I picked a forward time place to go to I'd want to know this: If I went forward would I have to come back? (I could either really like the future and not want to come back. I could be really intimidated and not fit in and not be able to come back. I'd be curious to see the future, and since I don't have kids there won't be any grandchildren to see graduating...But what if there were clues about what the future would be that we could come back and influence to make the future better?)

    Although, then that gets into all the trippy mind-bending theorizing about consequences of time-travel...

    I think if I could go back, I'd go back to meet ancestors. I want to know my people, what they were like, did I get certain traits from them, etc...

    Fun post!

  6. I had a converstation with Mike about 'what if' you knew your future, what would you do. We said it depends on what we saw. We both watch FF and like the show. It's somewhat like LOST in that mysterious, WTF surprise that we both love. One of my favorite Michael J. Fox movies is "Back to the Future". I love it when he mingles with his young parents and changes his future for the better. So it is an interesting thought to ponder.

  7. Courtney;
    That's a tough one--I do agree, knowing the future could make you come back and do something to change your future, but then who's to say that you going to the future to come back and change something wasn't part of the future? Hmm...

    I was laughing at FF the other night because it dawned on me that I'd be the unlucky one who flash forwarded to taking a sh$@ or something stupid like that. It seemed like everyone had something significant happening at that moment. What about the half of the world that was asleep during that moment in time? Not everyone on earth was awake at that moment six months ahead.... Hmm...

  8. This was also an incredible article Autumnforest -I saw Mallett's story years ago and thought his reason for wanting to travel into the past was so touching !! Michio Kaku is also very interesting -I think time travel forward or back would help to explain many aspects of the paranormal -and maybe explain them better-than other current ones-I was going to ask if you saw my Oct 22 post about CERN project and it may be having rough times getting started because of interference from time-haha you were the first one who commented -so you definitely saw it!!
    i have intended ever since i have had my blog to do the ufo travel from the future using march davenport's excellent 1994 book as a guide -i hope to get to it soon -all the best in the world to you my friend and i hope you had an excellent weekend and week ahead!!

  9. Dev;
    Yeah, I have to admit recently with the bird dropping a bit of baguette into the Hadron collider's accelerator, I had to wonder... maybe there's truth to the future trying to defeat the past... do they know what happens if we use it? Hee hee. I would love to read posts about UFOs being visitors from the future. It has always been my favorite explanation. Who knows, maybe the collider changes our world and we have to evolve like aliens with big eyes and heads and tiny bodies? Ew yuck! Well, at least I'll finally be a size 0. I always look for the sunny spot.

  10. Sorry to go off subject here...
    did you get to read this before Lon took it down... I'm kicking myself for not hollering at you yesterday. It was interesting/disheartening to say the least.

  11. @eloh;
    Yeah, I did read it and tried to reply to it and it was gone! I'm curious about it. I could see that Donna looked just about done out and used the Crohn's maybe as a way to leave without causing controversy. I'm not surprised. These guys went into this for all the right reasons, with their own money, rigging it together and then along came a production company and $$ and it became a beast out of control. If you watched J&G this season, they look absolutely numb and worn down and don't even seem to be good buddies anymore. I can't feel too sorry for them, though. They did buy that bitchin Inn in New Hampshire. I might poke around and see what I can find. I don't know why he took it down, unless it was not verified.

  12. Great post. It would be difficult to decide, if one could, where in the past and where in the future to choose to travel. Especially if you could only choose one of each. You raised so many provoking ideas. Once you travel down one line of thought, something pokes you and makes your rethink your original turns into a circular equation.