December 1, 2021

Setting the record straight


This archived article was written by: Nathaniel Woodward

I’m a big fan of television and movies, at least the good stuff. In the limited free time I find during the week there are a few “guilty pleasure” shows I enjoy watching with my wife such as “The Big Bang Theory” and “The Blacklist” but a recent newcomer to our evening television lineup is the history/sci-fi drama “Timeless.” This drama’s premise is centered around a main heroin name Lucy, a non-conformist history professor who is recruited into a top-secret organization with access to a time machine. However, the plot thickens as one of the organizations time machines is stolen and Lucy, a special forces soldier and a “pilot” are sent to stop the thief’s before the can change history.
While this premise is a fun one to think about and observe during the weekly broadcast of their shenanigans their interpretation of time has begun to annoy me, well at least to the point that I’m now writing about it. In “Timeless” the events changed in the past have a direct effect on the future in which they return to which fly’s directly in the face of how I perceive time. The “Timeless” method demonstrates a belief in a mono-dimensional linear view of time, meaning that all time is on a single straight path. Also, the show brings up the “Back to the Future” model of the Paradox Theory, meaning that you cannot go back to to a time in which you previously existed or… I guess you die or something…. I’m not sure.
My explanation to these two snafu’s are first: Time is likely not linear. If you change something in the past you won’t change it in the future you came from. The future you came from already exists, therefore, if you change something in the past you spur an alternative timeline in which those changes are in place and then you can return happily to the unchanged future which you came from, unless that is, you travel down the new path you created.
Second: The “paradox” problem. In the show you cannot go back to a time where you already exist or you die. This is strange, considering the laws of thermodynamics. All matter has always existed since the Big Bang event, meaning that the atoms that constitute your Homo Sapien body have been around forever. Therefore, you technically have always existed, in one place or another. The atoms that make your brain may have been the ones that made Cleopatras heart, or perhaps the fingers I’m typing this with are comprised of atoms once clipped from Roman Legionnaire fingernails. So it can be assumed that if you were to time travel to your kindergarten graduation you would be just fine. However, if the paradox rule were in fact correct, any time travel would result in obliteration since, again, your atoms would be present.
These are just my musings on the topic and should be taken with a grain (or two) of salt, but please email me your thoughts and questions and maybe we can discover something new together.

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