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How Real Time Travel Works



I was cleaning out some old links and thought I would post these in case I need to delete them from my web site. It's a couple of time travel related links that I pretty much agree with:



No known laws of physics rule out time travel, but venturing to another era is rife with paradoxes. Take the example of "grandpa-cide": You hop into your time machine, travel back to visit your grandfather before he married your grandmother, and kill him. As a result, your father will never be born and neither will you, which means that you couldn't have traveled back in time to murder your grandfather. So he survives, your father will be born, and you will grow up to travel back in time to murder your grandfather. In short, if you kill your grandfather, you won't be born, no time traveler kills your grandfather, and you will be born. Or imagine this loopy scenario: You pack the complete works of Shakespeare, travel back to Elizabethan England, and sell them all to a struggling young playwright named William, who uses the mysterious gift from the future to make his fame and fortune. Who then wrote all those plays and sonnets? They seem to have sprung from nowhere.


The many worlds interpretation of quantum theory solves these paradoxes. In the first example, when you make the fateful call on your grandfather, the past you visit — and change — is not the past of the universe you came from. In your home universe, the grandfather remains alive. The grandfather you murder belongs to the past of a parallel space and time, one in which you will never be born, but one in which you could remain should you so choose. What about the Shakespeare paradox? The plays and sonnets do not emerge from thin air. Somewhere in the multiverse at least one version of Shakespeare created them without any help from a time traveler. But a time traveler could bestow them upon a Shakespeare in another universe, and that lucky bard would become famous through no effort of his own. In the big picture, though— and the multiverse is the biggest picture possible — knowledge always has a creative source.


In the many worlds view, time travel is no more paradoxical — although it may prove a bit more difficult— than any other form of transportation. If you got particularly angry with yourself for something you once did, or might do, you could even travel to the past — or future — and murder the other you. (But you might be advised to be leery of any visits from another time-traveling you.)




Think of the Cosmic Wheel as that CD-ROM. All the endings already exist. The universe is just waiting to see which one you choose this time. And when the game is over, whether you win, lose, or draw, the universe will say, “Want to play again?”


Your computer disc doesn’t care whether you win or not, and you can’t “hurt its feelings.” It just offers you a chance to play again. All the endings already exist, and which ending you experience depends on the choices you make.


So God is nothing more than a CD-ROM?


I wouldn’t put it that way, exactly. But throughout this dialogue I have been trying to use illustrations that embody concepts everyone can hold in their understanding. So I think the CD-ROM illustration is a good one.


In many ways, life is like a CD-ROM. All the possibilities exist and have already occurred. Now you get to select which one you choose to experience.



Random Terrain



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