Lately I’ve been thinking about Time Travel. It started a couple weeks ago when I was in Central Oregon, listening to Levi trying to convince Garrett that time travel already exists, pointing to footage from a Charlie Chaplain film of a woman apparently talking on a cell phone. I’m dubious, but I’m not here to argue about that video.
I’ve been thinking about how humanity seems to have an underlying obsession with time travel and why. We’re obsessed with the idea of going back in time to prevent mistakes or calamities from occurring. We’re fixated on the concept of undoing mistakes with a giant ctrl-z instead of learning from the consequences.
However, H.G. Wells dealt thoroughly with the time travel conundrum in Time Machine. If you go back in time to correct a mistake or an event and succeed, then you’ll never have the motivation to initially travel back in time and correct the mistake or event, so therefore that mistake or event must occur no matter how you try to stop it from happening.
It simply cannot be done.
Lost (the TV series) also had an interesting take on time travel. For those of you unfamiliar with the series, some of the characters get thrown back in time, but as desperately as they try to change events so that they never end up on the island in the first place, they are unable to change future events, because they already happened. If they changed circumstances so they never crashed on the island, they never would have been on the island to change the circumstances.
Again, it just doesn’t work.
While I’m not informed enough to make any arguments about the science of time travel, I have my doubts it will ever work outside of theory or fiction.
However, theoretical time travel in an individual’s life becomes irrelevant if we look at the problems involved, and even more so if we take an objective look at the circumstances we would want to change. Odds are that if the event was significant enough for you to want to change it, the aforementioned event had a personal impact on you, and if you changed the event you would be changing yourself.
This concept has been bothering me because I’ve been wondering how different my life would be if I hadn’t made some choice mistakes. Given the opportunity, I decided I would not try to undo those mistakes.
If I were to go back in time and lecture little Bethany it wouldn’t matter anyway. I don’t even listen to myself now. (Even if I did listen to myself, that takes away my motivation to go back and deliver the lecture, and yay here we are back to square one.)
The point is, if I had the capability to undo mistakes and took advantage of it, I’d just have to make those same mistakes later in life instead of earlier so that I could learn those lessons. If I still hadn’t made the mistakes on my mind, I’d be even less of an adult than I am now.
And that is why I decided that time travel is impractical (even though it doesn’t really work.)
Life is like a river, my friends, and no matter what you do, you cannot swim back upstream. We aren’t salmon.