There is an ongoing PBS TV Jack Blog series (also several books and a website) called “Closer To Truth.” Neuroscientist Robert Lawrence Kuhn hosts it. He’s featured in one-on-one interviews and panel discussions with the cream of today’s cosmologists, physicists, philosophers, theologians, psychologists, etc., on all of the Big Questions surrounding a trilogy of broad topics – Cosmos; Consciousness; God. The trilogy
collectively dealt with reality, space and time, mind and consciousness, aliens, theology, and on and on and on. Here are a few of my comments on one of the general topics covered – Is time travel possible? # Is time travel possible? Actually, I personally don’t believe time exists. Change exists, and time is just our measurement of the rate of change. IMHO time is just a concept. Time is a mental construct that helps us come to terms with change. Some
cosmologists say that time was created at the Big Bang as if time were a thing with substance and structure. Still, I challenge them to create some time in front of their peers or maybe a TV audience or produce a theoretical equation or two that would create time. In the meantime, here’s a trilogy of points.
First, the concept of time travel is one of those fun parts of physics. Whether true or not, it is entertaining to play the ‘what if’ game. If nothing else, the concept makes or forces one to think about the nature of reality. Secondly, Einstein and others have postulated that time travel is a theoretical reality, and I’m not in the sort of league that I can dispute the theories. I’ll leave that to others who know the field inside and out.
But thirdly, and most importantly, you can never actually be in the future or the past, only in the future or the past compared to where and when you are now. In other words, no matter how you slice and dice things, you exist in the where-ever and the whenever in that where-ever’s or whenever’s NOW or in other words, in the present.
You cannot literally be in any future or any past since you only experience the NOW, which is the present. If you should somehow travel back one hour, you would still experience things as belonging to NOW. If you sleep for one hour then wake up, you are in the future relative to when you went to sleep, but you still find yourself in the NOW.
# Is time travel possible? The answer is both yes and no. Yes, we can travel into the future at one second per second; we do that anyway, whether we like it or not. Yes, we can travel into the future at a slightly quicker rate by going to sleep or otherwise having our sense of consciousness, our awareness of the rate of change (which is what time really is or measures) incapacitated. You get drunk and pass out, and the next thing you know, you are 12 hours
into the future. Yes, we can travel into the future as outlined by Einstein’s twin ‘paradox’ where one twin travels at a very high rate of speed outward bound, stops, and returns to home base, while they stay at the home twin, well, stays home. Upon their reunion, the traveling twin finds their stay-at-home twin far older, so the traveling twin has traveled into the
future more rapidly than would otherwise have been the case. Yes, you can travel back in time, in theory, according to the apparent theoretical properties that wormholes or black holes can have. No, you can’t travel to the past because of all of those nasty paradoxes. I like the variation on the grandfather paradox whereby you travel back just one hour into the
past and shoot yourself dead. That’s a novel way of committing suicide! The other paradox I like is when you go back in time to have Shakespeare autograph your copy of “Hamlet.” Shakespeare isn’t home, but the maid promises to have him autograph your book when he returns. Alas, your timing is slightly off, and Shakespeare hasn’t yet written “Hamlet,” so
when he receives your copy from his maid to autograph, he reads it. After you return to Shakespeare’s home and receive back your now autographed copy and return home to your own time, Shakespeare now writes “Hamlet.” The paradox is, where did “Hamlet” come from since Shakespeare only wrote it after he had already seen your copy. No, you can’t travel back to the past because if that were possible, there would be hoards of time-traveling
tourists who went back in time to witness some important historical event or other. No hoards of photo-snapping tourists have ever been documented at Custer’s Last Stand, the Battle of the Alamo, the sinking of the RMS Titanic, or any one of thousands of similar historical events. Yes, you can travel back in time but only into a parallel universe. If you shoot yourself, but it is another you in another universe, no paradox arises. You travel back in time to have Shakespeare autograph your copy of “Hamlet,” but in that parallel
universe, Shakespeare can now write “Hamlet” based on your copy and no paradox results. However, the one point I find interesting is that if you end up in the future, or the past, are you really in the future or the past? No, the only time you can exist is the present, your right here and NOW time. It might be a different time from what you previously knew, but still, wherever and whenever you exist, you only exist in the NOW Dba Press.
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