Josiah Swanson

October 23, 2015

Some Time Travel Enthusiasm

        I've always had a thing about time travel; There's just something so intriguing about it.

        Since this topic is fictional, we can enjoy making guesses at what would happen if one were able to traverse time and escape the locked door that we call the present.

        Actually, many theories have been made in attempt to describe what could happen after the arrival into a past or future time.  Because I have a sincere interest in these theories, I thought I'd have some fun and discuss a bit about them here.


        One of the most monumental things about traveling through time is the ability to see what is to come.  Obviously, having the ability to see the future lives of people is powerful.  But the possibly startling thing about knowing what the future holds is that no matter what one may do, there is no way to change the outcome that was foreseen.  As one may assume, time travel to the future can have negative effects on the time-traveller; no matter what this individual does, he or she has no way to stop what lies ahead, whether good or bad.

        The second direction in time travel is backwards.  Traveling into the past may be viewed similarly to that of the future, where the time-traveller has no effect on history and cannot change anything.  Yet, some theorize that paradoxes could be formed when going back in time.

            Here’s an example of time travel to the past:

        A scientist from our present time finds a way to time-travel.  He decides that he must go back in time and save the Titanic from sinking.

        He arrives at Southampton, England in the year 1912.  After purchasing a third-class ticket, he boards the Titanic.  He then warns the early-twentieth century folks of an iceberg which was to be the cause of their impending doom.  He has 4 days before the ship supposedly strikes the terrible iceberg.

        Here are two possibilities of what might happen to describe traveling back in time:

          1. This man desperately attempts to explain to the crew that he is from the future and that the ship is going to sink.  He is considered crazy and is forcefully removed from the living quarters by a few attendants who lock him up in the bottom of the ship within the first day of him being onboard.  While locked up, the man realizes that he has accidentally left his time travel device back in England!  Four days later, the ship sinks, the man drowns, and nothing has changed.

          2. The man enjoys his stay until the evening of the fourth night when he decisively warns the captain of the Titanic of the iceberg before it's too late.  His mission is accomplished and he prevents the collision of the iceberg.

        Now, in the first example, history is preserved and nothing changes.  This, to me, seems the more likely outcome of the two, because it only seems logical that whatever happened, happened; no one can change that.  This example is known as the "Novikov Self-Consistency Principle".  Just quickly, I want to note that in this first example, the time-traveler warned only people who drowned in the sinking, and that none of the survivors are able to recall the man.  This must be the case in the Novikov Principle because, this principle states that the time-traveller was on the ship all along and was simply not successful.

        The second example is a little more complicated because the time-traveler literally changed the past.  This creates a dreadful paradox.  It might seem as though another reality is created when this man stops the Titanic's sinking.  The "Butterfly Effect" would take place in this second reality; (The Butterfly Effect is the lasting effects of a small change on the surrounding universe).  When the Butterfly Effect takes place in the second example, a paradox is created: the time-traveller would have never gone back in time if the Titanic hadn't sunk!  But if the time-traveller didn't go back in time, than the Titanic actually did sink.  If the Titanic did sink, then the time-traveller would still go back in time.  And here, you may see, the paradox loops over and over.

        This paradox, conceived by France’s René Barjavel, is called the “Grandfather Paradox”

        Originally, in this paradox, a man travels back in time and kills his grandfather.  The grandfather’s death prevents the time-traveler from being born, which means that no one actually kills the grandfather.  Since no one kills the grandfather, the man still does travel back in time and kills his grandfather.

        Lastly, I want to mention the “Predestination Paradox”.  This is also referred to as the Bootstrap Paradox.  This paradox is different from the others because history is preserved, and exists within the guidelines of the Novikov Principle; it is my personal favorite time travel theory!

        This happens when a future event is the cause of a past event, which is also the cause of the future event.

        Here is an example of this paradox:

        A lady is greeted by a future version of herself; her future-self gives her blueprints for a time machine.  She uses these blueprints to build a time machine and later travels to the past to give the blueprints back to her past-self, thus becoming the future version of herself.  (Note that in the example, the blueprints were never actually created and would never cease to exist!  There would be no explanation for why the blueprints existed at all.)

        Well, there you have it-the fundamentals of time travel!

        In my opinion, this science is vastly complex and mysterious; that is why I love it so much.

        Forgive me if your head is spinning now.  ;)

Luke Looking at Sunset