I recently finished a fetter from myself in 2013, to myself in 2014, I hope to make it sort of a tradition, to write a little snapshot of my tastes and interest every year. Not so much as a way of making me accountable to myself, but simply as a way to see the changes that happen to my personally over the years. What really inspired this idea, was a combination of this, firstly was this writing project that I have undertaken, and how it does seem be like a rolling image of my personality, and secondly was a post I just finished that talks about the emergent, and therefore, ephemeral quality of memory and personality. I am of the opinion that the self is more or less a narrative the brain tells it self as a way of maintaining a sort of quality assurance.
Basically I will notice is something is wrong with me if there is an internal expression of what is ‘right’ otherwise I would have no idea if I was still in working order from moment to moment. Anyways, as I was thinking about all of this I realized that this whole practice of writing to one self is a very practical way of a kind of time travel. For a long time now we have known of the transportive quality of reading, and if you are writing about yourself in a specific time period, then you can be transported to that time with the greatest of ease, though the fidelity is limited to our writing skill, and our ability to imagine what we are reading. Maybe this is not the grand scientific breakthrough that so many dream of but it is still a time travel of a kind.
So sending information into the future is a simple, if tedious, matter of waiting, but obviously that most excite forms of time travel are the ones not possible for us. There is the slightly more reasonable form, Traveling forward in time, this can theoretically be achieved by two means the first and easier of the two in traveling near the speed of light. This creates a time dilation effect that makes time pass slower for you the the people living on earth, in effect sending you into Earth’s future. The other means is slightly more difficult because it involves resolving the significant limitations of our human anatomy, Cryogenetic preservation. Basically you freeze yourself and wait out the intervening years and get revived my future medicine. the real trouble with this medicine is trying to preserve the cellular and molecular structure of your body so that there is something to revive.
This seems like a cool proposition, but I think that the net result would be that you make yourself either just behind enough to be irrelevant to the current culture (you thought it was hard getting a job now, image if you were five or ten year behind current standards), or so old that you become a guinea pig to every historian interested in our era. Not very good outcomes in my opinion.
The other forms of time travel are progressively more difficult and problematic in terms of destroying the continuity of time. The first of these is sending information backwards in time. This I think is probably an easier task to accomplish the actual traveling back in time. But still a difficult job to pull off probably requiring a whole hell of alot more that 1.21 GW, but still sending information anywhere is always more economic than sending matter on the scale of a human being. The real problem though is how do you convince anyone, and preferably yourself that the information is from the future and that you should take it seriously and not dismiss it as a joke.
This and the last forms of time travel, actually going backward in time physically, share a huge and glaring problem. If you somehow went back in time There is only one of two end result, and actually both results can be further broken down but we will get to that. For now, the two main results, one you go back in time and through your interactions you alter the event of the time line, maybe not history per say but certainly the actual event in the past, and thereby changing the ultimate future including you deciding to go back in time. Maybe this happens by you causing your grandfather’s death, meaning you were never born, hence the term Grandfather Paradox, or maybe you simply set off a chain of events leading to you being raised in a different home and changing the person you become, and so you never actually decide to go. Either way that scenario causes a big time paradox, and essentially breaks the laws of causality.
The second result of backward time travel is that nothing you do can possibly change the timeline, because you already went back in time and did whatever it was you were going to do and so history has corrected for your travel. this is a decidedly more optimistic few of the the outcome, but nonetheless a possibility. As for the break down the first result can be interpreted to mean two very different conclusions. the first is quite simply the end of existence. You have caused a paradox and the universe does not allow for such nonsense and promptly explode out of reality. A similar argument is used to say that the universe would simply never allow for the traveling back in time in the first place. The second conclusion of the Grandfather Paradox, is that the Universe has got a solution, and that is a parallel timeline, Back to the Future style, which states the the moment you make a change that disrupts the chain of causality the timeline branches off, leaving you in this new chain of events which is creating a new future. Hence the ‘rad’ track that Marty get at the end of BTTF.
As for the second set of conclusions, these are the one where Causality doesn’t care what you do because you’ve already done it, it basically works depends on your motivations for traveling back in time. If you were simply doing it for profit then you probably will be fine, as long as your plan doesn’t involve opening a bank account in your name, since you won’t be able to get back, you are too far back for the FTL (faster than light) travel , or the cryo freeze. The better plan is to bone up on some brilliantly profitable idea and invent it before the original, and live like a crazy genius. My favorite part of this outcome is that if there is any overlap between old you and young you , people will probably tell you you look like yourself. So awesome.
And that’s my take on time travel.