Sunday, July 10, 2011

Adventure Sunday: 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. Unfortunately, it would appear that Mallett is not successful in traveling back in time. Theoretically, if he were to travel back in time and change the past, the past should already be different now, because, you know, it is the past. However, if he was successful in traveling back in time and changed the past, could it really stay changed? If he were to go back in time and get his dad to stop smoking and extend his life, then he would not have had the same inspiration to create a time machine in the first place so he would have never gone back in time and changed the past. So nothing would have really changed. So could he get stuck in a time loop if he attempted to change the past? A loop of time where he continuously attempts to change the past, but everytime he does, the very act of changing the past causes that change to revert to the original way it happened?

    Maybe this is why we have no credible documented instances of time travelers visiting us. :)

  2. Jeff;
    Yeah. It's the typical time travel dilemma. Perhaps changing one thing wouldn't have the ripple effect we seem to think. A person could die or survive when they were supposed to live or die and perhaps whether they did or didn't, the series of world events that occurred were not changed by that. Supposing a man was going to be on a jury and he dies. What if in a time traveling scenario, he survives and does the jury duty and they find the defendant not guilty. Perhaps whether he was on the jury or not, the same verdict might have occurred. It's an interesting thought.

  3. I would love to go and do a little time traveling! :)

  4. I think I'd like to go to before my time and see the 1940s or 50s. I've been fascinated with those decades and it would be like seeing a foreign land because they didn't have a lot of references and materials that I know nowadays. It would be neat to see a time when lives didn't focus around the glow of the TV screen and computer screen.

  5. I'm not necessarily interested in the future as much as I am in the past. I have a great, great uncle (I think I have that right!) that traveled westward from Georgia when the government was giving the Cherokee Indians back some of their land. He went to claim our family share. He was never heard from again. We don't know if he made it, died on the way, or what.

    That's one of the many things I'd love to investigate in "real time" if I could. I don't think I'd want to change the outcome, regardless of what it was, but only would want to know what happen to my uncle so I could relay the information to my family so we would know what happened. A kind of closure.

  6. I'm with you. The future bores me, but the past intrigues me, especially because much of tales are twisted as they go down the line, so I'd want to see what the truth was. I'd like to go to the Thorvaldsen family home in WWI and see if things went down the way my father reported.

  7. This is such a deep subject. Love the thought provoking contribution from Jeff. Also like your clock. I actually used that same photo in an old post of mine - Time Confusion. I would love to have one of those clocks.

    As for time travel. I love history and would love to experience (as an observer) significant moments in time - the asteroid that caused the extinction of the dinosaurs, the building of the pyramids, an unspoiled America, Mayan culture and I could so go on and on.

  8. MM;
    Seriously--can you imagine taking back a video camera and capturing an important speech by Lincoln, Jesus and his disciples having a conversation, Hitler in the bunker? What a new history that would give us.

  9. If I could time travel back in time for a vacation I would like to experience woodstock and get to see a lot of great music as it was first coming out. The Beatles at Shea Stadium. Elvis 69 comeback he was badass in that leather jacket. But there's def different levels cause I would love to see JFK and meet certain historical figures as well. Or stay in the past and write some of the best screenplays ever. Taxi Driver and Halloween written by...Damn still not me lol