Time travel is a vastly interesting and entertaining topic when you see it in a great movie, ranging from Terminator 2 (one of the greatest movies of all time) to Primer (the best time travel movie of all time). But in terms of how it would actually work in real life, things are not so fun.

I am not a physicist so I don’t know if time travel in real life is possible or not. My very weak laymen’s understanding is that traveling to the future may be theoretically possible but traveling to the past is not. Also that it may be possible to send small particles forwards and backwards in time (maybe?) but sending you back would be, again, impossible.

It just seems to me that time travel is impossible the same way going north is impossible once you’re standing at the top of the north pole. You can’t go “more” north at that point. But like I said, I’m no scientist so I could be wrong.

Here’s yet another problem that sci-fi writers never account for. People forget that this entire planet is spinning around a star. And that star is spinning around the center of the Milky Way galaxy. And that entire galaxy is hurtling through space at 12 miles per second towards Andromeda.

Sitting in your chair right now might seem like you’re not moving, when in fact you are moving at mind-bogglingly-fast speeds right this very second. We all are.

Let’s say you invented an actual working time machine just like in H.G. Wells’ book. You strap yourself in, throw the lever, and travel back to the middle ages to see how short women were back then. Poof! Now you’re back in the year 1056 AD. It worked! Just one problem. You’re now billions of miles away from the planet Earth, which won’t arrive at your current location for hundreds of years. So you instantly suffocate in deep space and die. Fun!

This means that every time machine must also be a warp-capable spacecraft like the Enterprise on Star Trek. Dr. Who solved this problem with his TARDIS, but we are perhaps thousands of years away from inventing faster-than-light travel (if that’s even possible!) even if someone invented time travel tomorrow morning.

That’s a problem.

That all being said, here’s what I think might be possible. I think the probability of this being possible is very low, but I think it’s much more likely than being able to go backwards in time without our own time line and actually hang out with George Washington or King Tut.

You may not be able to go backwards (or forwards) in time in our own time line and our own dimension, but it might be possible to go sideways in time to an alternate dimension that is identical to ours but with two differences:

1. It’s 1000 years (or whatever; you pick) behind us. So instead of going backwards in time 1000 years, you simply move to a dimension that is 1000 years behind us but otherwise identical.

2. 1000 years ago the Earth was in the same place astrologically as our Earth is now. This solves the problem of you teleporting there and just stepping into deep space.

This would only work if the infinite universes theory was true, and I have no idea if it is. But if it is, and there are indeed infinite universes with infinite possibilities, then it would be technically possible to invent technology that would “scan” the universes for any parallel universe that would be Earth in the current location that was an exact duplicate of our Earth plus or minus the exact number of years you’d want to go backwards and forwards in time.

You might be thinking this would all be extremely improbable, and you’d be right, but this is more probable than walking north when you are already at the top of the north pole. See my point?

If this was true (and again, I have no idea if it is), this would be really fun, because you would never have to worry about “screwing up the time line” like they do in the time travel movies. You could go backwards in time, fuck up as much of the time line as you’d like, and hop back to our home dimension with nothing changed. You’d be traveling dimensionally instead of chronologically.

Of course, if we really had that kind of working technology, going backwards in time would be boring as compared to the other possibilities. As just one example, you could instead travel into a parallel Earth where a small bag of salt is worth $10 billion, or where most of the population were women of exactly your type and worshiped men who looked exactly like you. Shit would be pretty crazy.

Or this could all be bullshit. I have no idea. Fun to think about though.

17 thoughts on “Time Travel

  1. this is fun. I watched neil degrasse talk about this on youtube. I like the parrallel dimension alternative.

     

    sometimes I like to imagine I’m a time traveler sent here for some unknown reason yet…or that so I can experience a subtle gradual experience of traveling through time. It’s my favorite part when an artist has many eras or decades of work and I can explore all those different facets of their works.

  2. Primer is way too convoluted. I’d suggest Predestination where the amount of convolution is just about right. Time Lapse is also interesting but the director, for whom this is the debut, still has things to learn in his art.

  3. I know this is going to sound ABSOLUTELY bat shit loonie but bear with me. There’s some theories, based on the “Axis of evil” anomaly in cosmology, that the earth could actually possibly be the center of the universe.  There’s a documentary about it but they use pseudoscience and chopped interviews to further their agenda. Personally I do not believe this to be the case but it is an interesting notion nonetheless.

  4. Yeah this time travel cartoon has become relatively famous by now:
    https://i.imgur.com/cOWb51F.jpg

    Anyway, when/if you have the time check this out. It’s an extremely thorough scifi page (though rocket-focused), and this specific section talks at length about everything in this article and more.
    http://www.projectrho.com/public_html/rocket/timetravel.php

    Time travel to the future, in a sense, is entirely feasible: just travel extremely fast, and thanks to special relativity, if you approach light speed you will experience less subjective time than what will be experienced on Earth or in other places moving at lower speed or lower acceleration/gravity. Eg if you travel at 86% light speed you get a “gamma factor” of 2, which means if you do a round trip that lasted 10 years for you, 20 years will have passed for Earth, so you effectively “time traveled” ten years into the future.
    Wanna make it more extreme, boost up your gamma factor: at 99.99% light speed it’s 70, so you travel at that speed for 1 year and you’ll find 70 years have passed on Earth.
    A mostly useless skill though, since the epoch where travel at such speed is possible is already far enough in the future that most of the crazy future stuff you’d want to time-travel to anyway will probably already be there.

    That being said, regarding the problem of “landing” at the same spot, it’s conceivable in theoretical physics that 2 points in spacetime may be connected by some trajectory (usually one that looks absurd for ‘conventional’ physics, and could be impossible), in such a way that you do “land” at the same spot relative to a certain frame of reference. Eg if the time machine, however it works, is somehow fixed relative to the galaxy (because it uses gravity in some way), then that could be used to time travel to a somewhat fixed location.

  5. Very interesting.

    Here are some of my layman musings: (These are purely hypothetical and I don’t claim to understand these things. Just some fun musings)

    A cartoon character in a flipbook is a flat 2-dimensional being. So to him, the third dimension appears as time. The flip book tells an animated “chronological” short story.

    To 3-dimensional beings like us, this whole flipbook is visible from start to finish. We can hold the whole thing in our hands.

    So maybe a 4-dimensional being would be able to see things that we perceive as time – as space.

    E.g. a driving car from our 3D perspective is just a driving car.

    But from a 4D perspective the start point, the endpoint, and everything in between would be visible at the same time. The car would look like some kind of a weird stretched limousine/computer glitch. And if the car turns right or left this whole “glitchy-stretched-limousine-snake” thing would bend in that direction.

    So if this applies to our lives, would this mean that everything is predetermined and that we have no free will? Or does this conclusion just come from the limited perspective of a 4-dimensional being?

    Maybe a 5-dimensional being wouldn’t just see this one timeline but unlimited other potential timelines simultaneously. It would see the car turning right, or left, or the passengers leaving the car, and unlimited other possibilities at the same time.

    And we 3D beings can choose with our free will at every micro-moment where we will go in these endless 5D possibilities.

    This seems so hyper-complex that it would be overwhelming to live in the 5th dimension (or even higher).

    So maybe being limited to the 3rd dimension is a good thing and prevents us from overwhelm.

    Our eyes are also limited to perceive only a tiny fraction of the light spectrum. All other frequencies are invisible. We can sense infrared light as heat on our skin. But that’s it.

    If we could see all those other frequencies, like radio waves, cell phone, wifi, microwaves, infrared, ultraviolet, x-ray, gamma waves etc. we would possibly just be blinded by the bright light. It would be too much sensory overload.

    Maybe the entire universe is layered into different dimensions to prevent overwhelm.

    Our dimension is like a radio channel that only plays “our music” (=it only plays our dimension).

    Nearby channels (other dimensions) on similar frequencies can slightly overlap with the frequency of our dimension. We can measure them as dark matter and dark energy.

    Is this dark matter composed of stars and planets that reside in nearby dimensions?

    And is there even more dark matter and dark energy that we can’t measure because their dimensional frequencies are too far away from our frequency?

    So if all dimensions of the universe would be crammed into the same dimension, maybe the whole thing would just become a hyperdense block. Or it would even collapse under its density like a black hole.

    It would be like playing a bazillion different radio stations simultaneously: just noise.

    To prevent this the universe is layered into different dimensions.

    But if it is, and there are indeed infinite universes with infinite possibilities, then it would be technically possible to invent technology that would “scan” the universes for any parallel universe that would be Earth in the current location that was an exact duplicate of our Earth plus or minus the exact number of years you’d want to go backwards and forwards in time.

    There are people who claim that traveling between different dimensions is already possible even without technology.

    They say that we are multi-dimensional beings and that our conscious mind is only aware of this dimension but our subconsciousness is already connected to different dimensions. Some of these dimensions are less dense and thus easier to sculpt with our will. That’s why manifestation techniques focus on the subconsciousness to sculpt our goals in those less dense dimensions so they can later manifest in this more dense dimension.

    I’m sure you have heard of this before that people claim to have out-of-body-experiences which means they shift consciously shift their consciousness to a lesser dense dimension.

    These people also say that after death our consciousness doesn’t just vanish. Instead, it just finishes this life just like finishing a video game and then moves on to another life.

    I can’t wait until we will be able to explore these things from a scientific perspective and see what the religious fuss with afterlife and reincarnation is all about.

    I don’t know if this is true but I also won’t call BS on it. I will just stay open-minded.

  6. The most important thing to understand is that time and space are linked – you cannot travel in one without the other.

    So the way it works is that if it would be possible to find a way to go back in time (there are some theoretical ideas that seem to fit with current physics understanding) then you would go also in space. For example: you would go back in time 2 years. Then you would be somewhere else in space also and it would take you at least 2 years to get back to earth. This means there is no paradox because you cannot change anything in your past or meet yourself and you would just get back after you have left.

    Traveling into the future is relatively easy and happens all the time. Time flow is relative and depends on gravitational field and your speed of travel. So if you for example travel very fast not much time will pass for you but a lot of time will pass for everyone else. This is kind of travel into the future as you can see. This effect also happens on normal speeds but is not noticeable because it is so small but can be measured with very precise scientific instruments. Every time you fly somewhere, for example, you have traveled into the future a small fraction of a second.

    Now, again because time and space are linked and not separate if you want to cross vast distances quickly, that is higher than speed of light limit, it will also involve time travel! So if there is something like warp drive then you might be able to cross light years instantly (for you) but some amount of time will have passed in the universe (you will have traveled into the future).

    This understanding is consistent with all the current understanding of laws of nature and eliminates all the paradoxes and does not require traveling to other universes.

  7. I forgot where I saw the video (or read the article). But due to time paradoxes, one of the more plausible methods of time travel while avoiding time paradoxes is having events unfold like in the Harry Potter series. Everything else seems to have a time paradox.

  8. How to become a Time Traveler?

    Step 1.

    Read Robert Monroe’s non-fiction classic OBE trilogy starting with “Journeys Out of the Body”

    https://www.amazon.com/Journeys-Out-Body-Out-Body/dp/0385008619/

    Step 2.

    Get some hemi-sync CDs and practice for a few months, maybe with the aid of a dissociative (at low doses) like Ketamine or possibly Salvia Divinorum. Maybe even visit the institute for an intensive:

    https://www.monroeinstitute.org/

    Step 3.

    Journey wherever you want – past, present, future, parallel worlds.

    Disclosure – I am not affiliated with the Monroe Institute in any way. But years ago I used their technology and I was surprised that it actually worked! But since I am a “hard head” and very difficult to hypnotize, I’ve only had a dozen or so out of body experiences and have not been able to have one now for over a decade, to my great dismay. But I personally know people who can have OBEs at will using these same techniques.

    While I’ve never journeyed into the past or future (I floated around in the present and then into alternate realities) I do know that it is more than possible.

    Of course you may always be questioning what you experienced. Was I really in the past? Or did I just experience a super-realistic hallucination of the past that appeared real in every way but was “just” the product of my mind (or of our Mind)? If you start thinking that way, just dismiss it and have fun instead:

    Utilize. Don’t Analyze.

  9. I’ve always wondered if UFO’s could possibly be either inter-dimensional beings that have somehow developed the technology to “cross over” into our reality, or possibly even time travelers from our own future? I know that sounds far fetched, but at the very least, it solves the problem often sited with the possibility of them being “alien” when one considers the vast distance of space & the seeming imposibility for any such being to travel all the way here from the depths & distance of space. They wouldn’t need to travel across the universe at unbelievable speeds, they’d either come from the “space between spaces” or from our own future.

  10. The most important thing to understand is that time and space are linked – you cannot travel in one without the other.

    That is my view.

    Get some hemi-sync CDs and practice for a few months, maybe with the aid of a dissociative (at low doses) like Ketamine or possibly Salvia Divinorum.

    Making yourself feel like you’re time traveling because of drugs is not the same as actually time traveling.

    I’ve always wondered if UFO’s could possibly be either inter-dimensional beings that have somehow developed the technology to “cross over” into our reality, or possibly even time travelers from our own future?

    In a world where video cameras are on every human being (phones) and there still isn’t massive piles of incontrovertible UFO evidence means I don’t believe in UFOs (though the Phoenix lights and a few other isolated incidents are interesting, but most of these could be explained by government tech we don’t know about yet).

  11. In a world where video cameras are on every human being (phones) and there still isn’t massive piles of incontrovertible UFO evidence means I don’t believe in UFOs (though the Phoenix lights and a few other isolated incidents are interesting, but most of these could be explained by government tech we don’t know about yet).

    Its also absurd to think that we would be able to see / photograph UFOs unless they specifically wanted us to. So lets put it this way: they have the tech to cross vast distances in space / travel across time or to other universes but they don’t have the tech to remain hidden unless wanted to be seen? So: 1) if there is no evidence it doesn’t mean its not there and 2) if there is “evidence” its almost certainly fake. Never the less there are some interesting pieces of information that with some imagination strongly suggest there was another civilization here, very long time ago. Especially regarding the moon. There is a mismatch between the age of the Earth and the moon by about a billion years. And considering that moon is considered vital for evolution of life, its not unreasonable to think it was either created artificially long time ago or somehow brought here from somewhere else to create the perfect conditions. Of course such a civilization would now be long gone / dead / so evolved that they would be indistinguishable from natural phenomena. We are talking about billions of years here.

  12. There is a mismatch between the age of the Earth and the moon by about a billion years. And considering that moon is considered vital for evolution of life, its not unreasonable to think it was either created artificially long time ago or somehow brought here from somewhere else to create the perfect conditions.

    Dude, this is very, very, very bad science. There is no mismatch, and the moon’s necessity in evolution is not unanimous in science, and the logical jump you made after that is facepalm-worthy. Why don’t you read more about all three topics – lunar geology, biological evolution, and logic – before voicing an opinion? If there are some “interesting pieces of information” you have certainly picked some of the worst examples for your case. Comments like these are what makes me worried about the future of science and rationality, perhaps more than the PC culture.

  13. Caleb, If there was a way to travel FORWARD in time, with no mean to go back, would you go?

    Lets say that tomorrow you are given a ticket to go 200 years into the future (via time machine, or cryonics etc). You can take your assets with you, but no other people.

  14. Caleb, If there was a way to travel FORWARD in time, with no mean to go back, would you go?

    Lets say that tomorrow you are given a ticket to go 200 years into the future (via time machine, or cryonics etc). You can take your assets with you, but no other people.

    I’d have to really think about that. I lean towards no but there’s the distinct possibility of a yes, especially if I could have PF come with me and I had plenty of time to say goodbye to my loved ones. Not really sure.

  15. I wouldn’t because I’m convinced that humanity is getting closer to sliding off the face of the Earth pretty soon here one day. I get the distinct feeling that we’l screw shit up enough to either wipe ourselves out by our own hand, or have the planet do it for us through natural means.

  16. Caleb,

    I’m not sure how closed off to the idea of “animated” films/series you are, but probably one of the coolest series I’ve seen on time travel is known as Steins;Gate. It’s a Japanese anime, but it’s definitely an “adult” series, and it’s ~24 episodes at ~24:00 minutes per episode.

    The first half the series starts off pretty slow with not much “action” and lots of character development and setup, but the second half of the series is a total mind-fuck and quite the wild ride. I highly recommend it.

    If you manage to find time to watch it, and you enjoy it, then the sequel which takes place in an alternative future from the original series (Steins;Gate 0) is equally spectacular and does *not* start off slow — it’s a fun ride from beginning to end.

    Just thought I’d throw it out there. Japanese script-writers are generally much, MUCH better than cliche American script-writers; even the ones who do it for animated shows.

    Anon

  17. Steins;Gate

    I’ll take a look. Japanese Anime was great back in the 80s and early 90s, but today it’s just too girly and/or gay. But I’ll take a look.

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