Monday, May 18, 2009

Mental Problems with Time Machines

Time Travel - Going back in time.

Review: The age old paradox -- What happens if a person invents a time machine and goes back in time to prevent himself from being born?
The Logic: He was never born, so he could never create a time machine, so therefore he can't go back in time to stop his birth.
Suppose technology evolves to allow time travel. Specific to this case, suppose the man is allowed to travel in time. Fine, no problem.
But if the person ever wants to alter events that will ultimately change the future, then his time machine will not work, because it will never have been invented.
----------------Time out-------------
Consider the butterfly effect. Man breaths a little breath which ultimately changes things on microscopic levels and ultimately macro levels. Therefore - the mere act of existing in a prior point in time may have serious consequences.
------------And we're back------------
It follows then, that the person who invents the time machine must only choose a place in the past that will not alter events. Otherwise, his time machine won't work in the first place. His science might be right, but without the correct intentions and mental choices, his time machine won't work.
Think about it.


Eitan said...

First, you postulate that merely breathing in the past could adversely affect the outcome. This means that you assume that there are tons of factors that can affect the proper chain of events leading to your time machine. However, you are assuming that changing these factors causes you NOT to make the time machine. What if by traveling back in time, you trigger a subtle (or even not so subtle) factor which allows you to invent the time machine after all just on schedule. In other words, breathing North or South leads to the same identical outcome. Or the reason you could build it in the first place was because of the fact that you succeeded and inspired yourself to do it. It is mathematically plausible. In these cases, if you could hypothetically calculate all the factors involved in allowing you to reach your goal of building a time machine, you could technically only jump to points and places in the past where you will succeed in repeating the feat. In other words, time travel would be possible if you could guarantee that your existence leads to your inventing the time machine. Otherwise, I guess you would be removed from the timeline and never have existed at all.

Second, why are we limited to travel to the past? Why not to the future? It's probably a lot safer because of the above. Since from when you left, jumping to the future doesn't affect your actions anymore, it is safe for you. And from your point of view, the future isn't written, so changing it and then jumping back to when you left could technically be harmless.


H said...

To your first point. I reiterate my "may" and point away from cause and effect.
Second, I only focused on the past, because I think that the mental factor only works backwards.
As to the future...I suppose travel would be ok. You just might not be able to get back to your own place in time.
Moreover, the new information you now know about the future may radically change what the future will look like, and ultimately, your knowledge may be useless.

Yoni said...


I don't agree that the time machine would just not work. Rather, I agree more with the "back to the future" theory that you would create an alternate timeline. The paradox you described would work like this:

I build a time machine then go back in time and kill myself. When I return to the present day, I am still alive even though I died years earlier because I am from an alternate timeline. The person I killed was me from a different timeline that split off when I made a change. In some other alternate timeline, however, I will be gone forever.