Time Theory
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Time Theory: Extended
Edited: 06 Nov 2011 11:52 by: James Kanjo
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Tags: science-fiction time travel
© James Kanjo 2008
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If you have read about my interests, then you know how I just love Science Fiction; the very genre that “time travel” fits under =D

So firstly, what is time travel? If the term is not self-explanatory enough, it’s when you get from place to place by sitting in a new kind of vehical that is essentially a gigantic clock. This way you are always “on-time”.

Not buying that huh? Fair enough. Time travel is the theory of moving forwards or backwards through time; that is, going to the future, or going to the past.

But, why?

Last week I went to the city in my underwear – I had forgotten to put my pants on. It was very embarrasing and I wish that I had double-checked that my pants were on before I left my house. Then I wouldn’t have anything to be embarrased about.

Next week I have a brand new helicopter arriving in the mail. But I don’t want to wait a whole week to ride my helicopter! I wish it was next week right now so I can fly the skies.

If we could travel through time, either of these "wishes"1 could become actualities.

But there are massive logical problems with time theory; namely problems where we don’t know what would happen if we attempted to change things in the time.

Last week somebody named Fictionality2 killed Mika, my favourite music artist. This has had terrible effects on me, and I’ve been crying and terribly traumatised. I realise, “hey, I can use the time machine I got last Christmas to go back in time and stop this!”
So I go back in time to two weeks ago, and I found Fictionality. Fortunately, I had a bag of Carbon Monoxide with me, and I forced it over Fictionality’s head. Fictionality died.
Now nobody was going to kill Mika! What a success!

Let’s look at the aftermath3:

  1. Mika lives;
  2. I am happy and remain untraumatised;
  3. As Mika is alive, I don’t need to go back in time;
  4. Because I haven’t gone back in time, nobody kills Fictionality;
  5. Fictionality lives to kill Mika;
  6. Mika is murdered and I am traumatised;
  7. I go back in time to kill Fictionality;
  8. Return to event 1.

The events loop infinitely. Mika and Fictionality are constantly being murdered and unmurdered. This error is called a time paradox. This theory is based on the idea that time is a single infinite continuum.

What if time isn't a single infinite continuum? What if there are many infinite continuums of time? What if you change something in the time continuum, it simply creates an alternative universe? Time simply branches off into a parallel series of events. Okay, let's apply this logic to the above situation:

I go back in time to murder Fictionality
Week 0 Week 1 Week 2
Mika's assasination
Week 3
I'm traumatised
Week 4
Parallel Universe
Fictionality is assassinated Mika lives I'm happy and don't travel back in time ever again

The blue line is time in its normal continuum. The red line represents me going back in time — the red line IS NOT a time continuum. The green line is the parallel universe created as a result of me killing Fictionality.
So there are now TWO universes. One where Fictionality lives and Mika dies, and another where Fictionality dies and Mika lives. Another difference between the two universes is that there are two James Kanjos in the second one, and zero James Kanjos in the first4. I'll let you work that one out ;D

Now, let's go back to the theory that time is a single continuum. Another theory based on this idea is that it is impossible to create time paradoxes; time controls the universe and therefore time will prevent such errors from happening.

We will still be able to travel through time, but if we tried to change something, we would only fail miserably — time would ensure that through an infinite series of "misfortune".
For example, when I travel back in time to kill Fictionality, when I try to put the bag of Carbon Monoxide over Fictionality's head, I will discover that the Carbon Monoxide has escaped from a hole in the bag. If I try to shoot Fictionality with a gun, the gun will fail. If I try to stab Fictionality in the heart (with success), I will discover that it wasn't in fact Fictionality, but merely a look-a-like impostor.
Time will simply not allow the time paradox to occur.

So essentially, any attempt to change the past would be futile. You can't consciously go to the past and change something, as whatever you change must be an accident to escape the time paradox (unless you accidentally kill your mother before you were technically conceived — that kind of accident wouldn't escape a time paradox based on the single time continuum theory).

But what of changing the future? What if you travelled to the future and discovered that you had been murdered? Could you return to the present and prevent your own assassination from occurring?

No. Because what you saw in the future is the result of the inevitable past. And the past is constantly being created by the present. Essentially, you saw what happened in the future, and that happens based on the fact that you had seen the future. If you see the future, it's inevitable and you can't change a thing of it.

So should we ever make time travel feasible, the extra potential granted from it would be minimal due to the limitations of time paradox.

~ James Kanjo

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