Sunday, August 22, 2010

Thought while listening to Studio 360.

Suppose you can travel back in time, and the rule is that you can change things that don't have any effects that endure to the future time you came from. You can then meet someone to whom it seems you can do anything. That person would then have to confront the fact that in a concrete, measurable way, nothing they do really matters.

I suppose some sci fi story somewhere has dealt with this idea.


Rob Helpy-Chalk said...

I'm copying my facebook conversation on this, because I might want to follow this line of thought in the future.

M/tch: Scaramouche, scaramouche, can you do the fandango?

Me: Mitch: No, I'm not thinking about "nothing matters to me" but "I don't matter to anything else." More precisely, "I don't matter to anything that will be happening, say, 20 years from now." The person doesn't have children, or if they do, their children don't have children. Everything they build will have collapsed. No bug that they step on is that bug whose wing flapping would have caused a typhoon in India. The person is effectively causally isolated from the larger time stream.

On the one hand, it may be that no one like this can exist. On the other hand, it might be that we are all like this, as long as we are looking at a long enough distance into the future. A time traveler from 20 years from now has to be careful not to change the past. But a time traveler from million years from now could blow up the Earth and it would have no effect on his time.

Anonymous said...

Yeah babies are the problem. Whenever any babymaking is shifted even slightly in time this means that it is highly unlikely that you get the same genes to combine. It would be pretty easy to shift things around by a few seconds just by affecting traffic patterns or getting in line at the grocery store.


STARMAN said...

Sure i hear what you saying....
Though maybe the fact that no1 can travel through time is that you can never change what already is !!!!
Probably if you could travel through time you could change a persons future but in a different future and not the one you exist in!!!!!
Sikhumbuzo 4rm South Africa....