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#1 Edited by KatyGaGa (319 posts) -

I just realized that if you logically go step by step through the process of time travel, it ends up making no sense at all.

Going backwards in time:

If I go back in time, I'll be able to see myself. Lets refer to the person that went back in time as X1 and lets refer to the person's past self as X2.

Now, based on a linear understanding of time (otherwise this would be alternate universe traveling instead of time traveling), X1 can only exist if X2 goes back in time. So, in this scenario, X1 goes back in time and sees X2.

Two things can happen:

X1 stops X2 from going back in time, creating a paradox.

Or

X1 allows X2 to go back in time. So, now we have X1 and X2, both individuals who went back in time, however this is where the issue arises. Wouldn't this mean that there needs to be an X3 figure? This is, of course, impossible because that slot has already been taken care of by X2 for X1. This means there would be no past self for X2? How did X2 get there? How does X2 even exist?

So, this scenario either poses a nonsensical idea of infinite regress that would break time, or is nonsensical from the start.

Going forward in time

the idea of going forward in time makes even less sense.

Say I go 10 years into the future, If I am able to see myself in the future that would mean there is no free will. Also, it is paradoxical because how can I exist in two different times? this is either alternate universe traveling or a broken concept. lets again use X1 and X2. X1 referring to the guy going into the future and X2 being that same guy's future self.

if X1 sees X2 10 years in the future, there is no logical explanation (in the sense of linear time) that X2 can exist. He can't exist. There is no lead-up to his existence. If X1 goes into the future, briefly sees X2, he is forever stuck in the future because the aforementioned issues of going back in time still persist.

So, can time travel exist? or does it actually just mean alternate universe traveling?

#2 Posted by hoossy (937 posts) -

XD

#3 Posted by MikeGosot (3227 posts) -

You are not able to see yourself. You become yourself in that timeline. If you try to go to a timeline before you existed, you die.
Or you go to another dimension, where even if you change the past, it will NOT alter YOUR reality, just that dimension.
Or you watch Primer.
Or fuck this shit, nobody knows if Time Travel exists, or even if it's possible.

#4 Posted by Video_Game_King (36272 posts) -

@KatyGaGa said:

the idea of going forward in time makes even less sense.

Then what the fuck are we doing right now? (Also, X2 would become X1, and X7 and X8 would still suck donkey balls. Supposedly.)

#5 Posted by Metzo_Paino (321 posts) -

From what I've heard time isn't really linear, but I'm not going to even pretend I know why that is.

In regards to future time travel, if you go 10 years in the future and hide behind a car to watch yourself wouldn't your future self know you are there because they would have done the same thing in the past? Unless of course you went into the future of a different universe.

#6 Posted by scalpel (314 posts) -

Going back in time seems to me to be a physical impossibility.

#7 Posted by KatyGaGa (319 posts) -

@MikeGosot: you become yourself in that timeline? what does that even mean? does that mean all yourself's interactions with people around you in the interim happened by itself? meaning no free will? Then how did you go forward in time if you become your future self? how would you know anything happened?

#8 Posted by Jay444111 (2441 posts) -

This is because my topic isn't it?

#9 Posted by UitDeToekomst (730 posts) -

i don't think your scenarios are valid because they both seem to involve meeting and interacting with one's past or future self. why is that a definite occurrence here? i don't understand. i am not denying that the concept of time travel is confusing to the human mind, but i don't see what is presented here as all-encompassing enough to cover most circumstances.

#10 Posted by KatyGaGa (319 posts) -

@Video_Game_King: No, the point is that if I skip a lot of time and see myself in the future, the X2 of that future could not logically exist. Its not that I am sitting here and time is going forward, the question is what would happen if I skipped a bunch of time in the middle?

#11 Posted by MikeGosot (3227 posts) -
@KatyGaGa said:

@MikeGosot: you become yourself in that timeline? what does that even mean? does that mean all yourself's interactions with people around you in the interim happened by itself? meaning no free will? Then how did you go forward in time if you become your future self? how would you know anything happened?

You wouldn't. Bang! I dunno, man. I never traveled in time.
#12 Posted by Metzo_Paino (321 posts) -
#13 Posted by Video_Game_King (36272 posts) -

@KatyGaGa:

Actually, I meant the X2/X1 thing for the past. Time travel to the future makes sense, but only without that "see your future self" part thrown in. Time travel to the past would violate the laws of physics.

#14 Posted by KatyGaGa (319 posts) -

@UitDeToekomst: I only use the idea of interaction because the fact that you become removed from time is baffling unto itself. How would the universe react to that? what would happen to you?

#15 Edited by Dagbiker (6978 posts) -

@MikeGosot said:

You are not able to see yourself. You become yourself in that timeline. If you try to go to a timeline before you existed, you die.
Or you go to another dimension, where even if you change the past, it will NOT alter YOUR reality, just that dimension.
Or you watch Primer. Or fuck this shit, nobody knows if Time Travel exists, or even if it's possible.

Wait not this.

You are your own person. But who says you are able to stop your self.

#16 Posted by Donkeycow (556 posts) -

@KatyGaGa: The most plausible way to travel forward in time would be to achieve faster the light speed, wherein time for you will progress at a normal rate but everything around you (i.e. the universe) would progress immensely faster. So in this scenario you would have traveled to the future but would not see yourself because in the past you entered the machine that allows you to achieve faster then light speed, thus removing you from the time continuity until you reappear in the future. So really there is no issue with traveling forward in time since it would bring you into a future were you were removed from the world at the time you achieved faster then light speed. As for traveling back in time you delve into worm hole theories and other nonsense which although is scientifically plausible, is far more complex and confusing.

#17 Posted by astrodoggy (145 posts) -

As a tralfamadorian I see time as a expanse or a mountain range, with "peaks" and events existing simultaneously. If a family member dies it is not sad, since he/she is still perfectly alive in a thousand other points of time. So it goes.

#18 Posted by KatyGaGa (319 posts) -

@Video_Game_King: time travel to the future makes no sense because it has so many different philosophical and logical issues. Again, if you travel to the future, does that mean there is no free will? If there is no free will, if you travel to the future, how would your future self exist there? or do you just warp years into the future and become the future self? wouldn't that completely mess up the fatalistic aspects of everyone else? or if thats part of the plan, then its not really time travel... just ... time working itself out?

#19 Posted by Marmalade (192 posts) -

People assume that time is a strict progression of cause to effect, but actually from a non-linear non-subjective view point it's more like a big ball of wibbly wobbly...timey wimey...stuff...

#20 Posted by Video_Game_King (36272 posts) -

@KatyGaGa:

What I'm saying is this:

  • You travel to the future
  • You arrive in the future
  • Upon arriving in the future, you're essentially the same person as when you left

That stuff makes sense. Throwing another version of yourself in there doesn't really make a lot of sense, since you weren't there in the intervening period. Of course, it's always possible the Future Future You simply traveled back to Past Future (which, for you, is Present Future) to fuck with Past Present You and make you think that Past Present You stayed behind to become Past Future You. Or something like that.

#21 Edited by Three0neFive (2300 posts) -

@MikeGosot said:

Or fuck this shit, nobody knows if Time Travel exists, or even if it's possible.

If time travel were possible, we wouldn't be having a discussion on the logistics of time travel, because we would already know literally everything there is to know at every point in the history of the universe.

#22 Posted by KatyGaGa (319 posts) -

@astrodoggy: that book is great and for me, personally, that idea put forth is more comforting than anything in any religion.

#23 Posted by MikeGosot (3227 posts) -
@Three0neFive said:

@MikeGosot said:

Or fuck this shit, nobody knows if Time Travel exists, or even if it's possible.

If time travel were possible, we wouldn't be having a discussion on the logistics of time travel, because we would already know literally everything there is to know at every point in the history of the universe.

How can you be sure that, when you travel in time, you don't go to another dimension?
#24 Edited by korkesh (133 posts) -

@jyluth said:

People assume that time is a strict progression of cause to effect, but actually from a non-linear non-subjective view point it's more like a big ball of wibbly wobbly...timey wimey...stuff...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vY_Ry8J_jdw

#25 Posted by Mushir (2389 posts) -

Why would you want to fuck up the space-time continuum? Didn't you learn anything for Back to the Future?

#26 Edited by KatyGaGa (319 posts) -

@Video_Game_King: but if the past present you exists, the past past future you can't because that would violate the present future past past future past present you. your story's full of holes.

#27 Edited by Dagbiker (6978 posts) -

@jyluth said:

People assume that time is a strict progression of cause to effect, but actually from a non-linear non-subjective view point it's more like a big ball of wibbly wobbly...timey wimey...stuff...

Tell me more, Is it bigger on the inside?

#28 Posted by TheHT (11676 posts) -

not allowing for considerations of alternate dimensions, you wouldn't encounter any X2. you exist in a reality. if you jump about in that realitys timeline you're doing just that. your personal timeline persists since being capable of actually jumping across distances in a single realitys timeline implies that you have a means of separating yourself from that realitys timeline, thus separating your own personal timeline. otherwise you wouldn't be able to go past the beginning of your own existence in that reality's timeline.

we're already actually able to manipulate our personal timeline (in a sense) to essentially accelerate into the future, so going forward in time is definitly possible, though that's not at all a jump.

@KatyGaGa said:

Say I go 10 years into the future, If I am able to see myself in the future that would mean there is no free will.

explain.

#29 Posted by UitDeToekomst (730 posts) -

@KatyGaGa said:

@UitDeToekomst: I only use the idea of interaction because the fact that you become removed from time is baffling unto itself. How would the universe react to that? what would happen to you?

i suppose what i am saying is that i disagree with the human-centrism of the examples that are being given here. while it is certainly difficult to do, in order to analyze this concept it is important to divorce oneself from the idea that the perspective of an object moving through time is necessarily that of a sentient being, when it is easily as confusing - or more so - to consider it on a level that is more basic than that.

#30 Posted by PeasantAbuse (5138 posts) -

What if you traveled in time and you spawned inside a cement block? Huh, what then???

#31 Posted by Dagbiker (6978 posts) -

@PeasantAbuse said:

What if you traveled in time and you spawned inside a cement block? Huh, what then???

Then you need to get a refund on your Tickets to the past.

#32 Posted by Video_Game_King (36272 posts) -

@KatyGaGa:

Holy shit! You actually followed that? I didn't even follow that!

#33 Edited by Dagbiker (6978 posts) -

@UitDeToekomst said:

@KatyGaGa said:

@UitDeToekomst: I only use the idea of interaction because the fact that you become removed from time is baffling unto itself. How would the universe react to that? what would happen to you?

i suppose what i am saying is that i disagree with the human-centrism of the examples that are being given here. while it is certainly difficult to do, in order to analyze this concept it is important to divorce oneself from the idea that the perspective of an object moving through time is necessarily that of a sentient being, when it is easily as confusing - or more so - to consider it on a level that is more basic than that.

I agree with this. such as the determinism question brought up about traveling to the future. Just because you might be able to travel to the future, doesn't mean every one their has a fate. In the time it took you to turn the keys and get your Delorean to 88, they have lived whole lives, made decisions, and born hopes and dreams.

#34 Posted by Flaboere (344 posts) -

@jyluth said:

People assume that time is a strict progression of cause to effect, but actually from a non-linear non-subjective view point it's more like a big ball of wibbly wobbly...timey wimey...stuff...

Yeah, but why should we believe anything else? For instance, today I went to the grocery store. When I came home with my groceries, and put them in the fridge, there was now groceries in the fridge. Would there have been grocery in the fridge, had I not gone shopping? Most likely not, as evidence suggest. The idea that time is not linear simply makes no sense.

#35 Posted by Metzo_Paino (321 posts) -

KatyGaGa I'm assuming you're discussing super sci-fi teleport to the future and skip the parts in-between, like walking through a door time travel. Rather than going into a machine which speeds up time so fast that after a brief nap you've awoken in 2112?

#36 Posted by Dagbiker (6978 posts) -

@Flaboere said:

@jyluth said:

People assume that time is a strict progression of cause to effect, but actually from a non-linear non-subjective view point it's more like a big ball of wibbly wobbly...timey wimey...stuff...

Yeah, but why should we believe anything else? For instance, today I went to the grocery store. When I came home with my groceries, and put them in the fridge, there was now groceries in the fridge. Would there have been grocery in the fridge, had I not gone shopping? Most likely not, as evidence suggest. The idea that time is not linear simply makes no sense.

Its a quote from Doctor Who, i cant tell if you didn't get it or not.

#37 Posted by KatyGaGa (319 posts) -

@TheHT: no, I think you need to do more explaining. I'm not really grasping what you're putting forth. I am simply saying that if you travel into the future, speaking purely about free will, if you (or whatever version of you that exists in the interim) continues to exists, this would imply no free will. if there is no you, meaning that if X1 travelled to the future making it so that X2 = X1, my question is how would this affect everyone else and the universe? if there is no free will, and you time travel to the future, you would harm everyone around you. if this was part of the plan, then its not time travel but just something you were meant to do to have time continue, which is oddly meaningless, I know.

#38 Posted by laserbolts (5349 posts) -

I am currently on the fifth season of Lost and time travel hurts my brain.

#39 Posted by Dagbiker (6978 posts) -

@laserbolts said:

I am currently on the fifth season of Lost and time travel hurts my brain.

Enjoy the show, it only sucks from here.

#40 Posted by mandude (2669 posts) -

@jyluth said:

People assume that time is a strict progression of cause to effect, but actually from a non-linear non-subjective view point it's more like a big ball of wibbly wobbly...timey wimey...stuff...

Started well, that sentence.

#41 Posted by KatyGaGa (319 posts) -

@UitDeToekomst: I am not following you. You may have a great point, I just don't get what you're saying and how that relates to the examples that I have put forth. You may have very well negated everything I said, and I am open to that, however (and I apologize for sounding a little douchey here) you're going to have to explain yourself a little better.

#42 Edited by laserbolts (5349 posts) -

@Dagbiker said:

@laserbolts said:

I am currently on the fifth season of Lost and time travel hurts my brain.

Enjoy the show, it only sucks from here.

Yeah to be honest the last half of season 3 and season 4 are sort of a letdown. I loved the first 2 seasons though. Sorry for not focusing on the topic at hand Katygaga.

#43 Posted by KatyGaGa (319 posts) -

@Metzo_Paino: well, that wouldn't really be time travel, would it? it would be almost like if you go to sleep tonight you'll wake up tomorrow in the future. Yes, I mean time travel in the wacky sci-fi sense.

#44 Posted by KatyGaGa (319 posts) -

@laserbolts: you better be sorry.

#45 Posted by Flaboere (344 posts) -

@Dagbiker said:

@Flaboere said:

@jyluth said:

People assume that time is a strict progression of cause to effect, but actually from a non-linear non-subjective view point it's more like a big ball of wibbly wobbly...timey wimey...stuff...

Yeah, but why should we believe anything else? For instance, today I went to the grocery store. When I came home with my groceries, and put them in the fridge, there was now groceries in the fridge. Would there have been grocery in the fridge, had I not gone shopping? Most likely not, as evidence suggest. The idea that time is not linear simply makes no sense.

Its a quote from Doctor Who, i cant tell if you didn't get it or not.

I did get it, but decided to comment it anyway :-)

#46 Posted by TheHT (11676 posts) -

@KatyGaGa said:

@TheHT: no, I think you need to do more explaining. I'm not really grasping what you're putting forth. I am simply saying that if you travel into the future, speaking purely about free will, if you (or whatever version of you that exists in the interim) continues to exists, this would imply no free will. if there is no you, meaning that if X1 travelled to the future making it so that X2 = X1, my question is how would this affect everyone else and the universe? if there is no free will, and you time travel to the future, you would harm everyone around you. if this was part of the plan, then its not time travel but just something you were meant to do to have time continue, which is oddly meaningless, I know.

you travelling to the future, whether there's a future you (alternate reality) or not (single reality, has no implication on free will. if there was no free will and you travel to the future, why imply that you would harm everyone around you?

whether a diety, let's say "God", has a plan for you to jump from the year 2012 to the year 3423632432 doesn't mean you haven't travelled through time. also, a plan for how a reality plays out, which is separate from that reality (by necessity, being a apart of God who is itself outside of reality), is not the same as the actual timeline of that reality. fate and time are different things.

#47 Posted by EveretteScott (1539 posts) -

@jyluth said:

People assume that time is a strict progression of cause to effect, but actually from a non-linear non-subjective view point it's more like a big ball of wibbly wobbly...timey wimey...stuff...

Oh you.

Online
#48 Posted by RPGee (763 posts) -

I've actually thought about this to some depth, which is perhaps a bad reflection about myself. Here's what I've come up with:

Let's say, for the sake of the argument, time travel will only place us in this same dimension, and that time is linear to some extent (these are theoreticals I really have no clue about, so this'll be a bad argument.) If you were to travel to the past in a linear timeline, then, theoretically, present you going back to the past would have already happened. Therefore, there's absolutely no way you could change the past, since you've already tried to and failed, and if you know this knowledge, you wouldn't go back in time anyway, and the past would be exactly the same anyway since you going back wouldn't have happened, because if you were going to it would already have happened.

If time isn't linear, then going back in time creates a feedback loop, where time is intersecting with itself. It'd be much like walking through a door, and suddenly finding you are inside yourself. I predict this leads to a Hitchhiker's-Guide-esque recreation of the universe into something weirder than it already is.

If it's not in the same dimension, then you've messed around in some other person's dimension that is technically yours, but not yours. Yours would be exactly the same, but theirs might be all sorts of fucked up. Or exactly the same anyway, as per first theory. Either way, you're just being an inter-dimensional dick.

#49 Posted by FLStyle (4842 posts) -

I don't believe it, two excuses to use this video explaining time in one day!

#50 Posted by Gravier251 (217 posts) -

As far as time travel goes I much prefer the notion of predestination paradox; everything at any given point has happened and will happen, nothing will change. If you travel to the past you cannot exert any changes, you would merely fulfill your role in how things have always played out. Would be akin to someone developing time travel and deciding to use the technology to go back and get some evidence of what wiped out the dinosaurs. However upon travelling there they trigger some sort of catastrophic event/accident that wipes the dinosaurs from the face of the planet. (Kind of a dumb example, but was the most simplistic straight forward one I could think of at the minute).

Essentially the event that wipes out the dinosaurs in the past is someone from the future going back there. It has always been that way, and always will be. He will go back and wipe them out, time will move on from there and eventually he would be born, develop time travel and wipe them out, etc.

It is kind of viewing time as something that exists in entirety at all times as an unchanging entity. Everything anyone ever does they have already done, and will always do. Time travellers exert no change upon the time line, things in the world were as they are in the relative modern era because those time travellers had already been back in time and done those things.

I find it a much more tidy take on time travel than the typically used grandfather paradox which allows changes to be exerted upon the time line, such as the paradox of travelling back in time and killing your own grandfather (from where the paradox derives it's name). Shows tend to use it though, some too much so, spawning a labyrinth of parallel worlds and a mess of conflicting events and changes.

Though I suppose there are some shows that try to use both at the same time. The absolute narrative mess that was Heroes post season 1 comes to mind >.<