Time-Travel Dilemma

What would you do if?

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Your thoughts on the time machine?

Use it, to fix whatever, whenever. No restrictions.
8
31%
Use it, to only fix events that occurred during your lifetime.
4
15%
Use it, to only fix events that occurred in the last few years.
1
4%
Use it, to only fix events that occurred in the last few days/months.
0
No votes
Use it, only fix stuff that happened in the last 24 hours.
1
4%
Use it, only fix stuff that happened in the last 24 hours.
1
4%
Don't use it, find someone you trust, and give it to them.
0
No votes
Don't use it, burn it.
11
42%
 
Total votes: 26

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ENIGMA
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Time-Travel Dilemma

Post #1

Post by ENIGMA »

This should be something of a fun and thought-provoking discussion.

Scenario:

You have developed/built/acquired a time-traveling device which allows you to travel to any time in the past, allowing you to change, prevent, or perhaps even try to create a historical event or series of events.

The only major caveat of the use of the time travel device is that you are prohibited from changing history in a manner that prevents you from existing. For example, I could not prevent WWII because both my sets of grandparents only met because of their moving caused by the war. I could, however, potentially prevent the terrorist attack on 9/11, so long as I survive to the present in the new timeline.

Any accidental self-deletion will have unpredictable consequences, ranging from simply becoming "unstuck" from time to causing the universe to implode.

Given this knowledge, would you use the time machine?

If so, when would you try to change? What (if any) restrictions would you place on its use?

If not, would you prevent any others from doing the same?
Gilt and Vetinari shared a look. It said: While I loathe you and all of your personal philosophy to a depth unplummable by any line, I will credit you at least with not being Crispin Horsefry [The big loud idiot in the room].

-Going Postal, Discworld

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The Persnickety Platypus
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Post #2

Post by The Persnickety Platypus »

Absolutely not, I am inclined to believe.

If there is one thing the human race ought to have learned by now, it is not to screw with nature.

The introduction of foiegn species into new environments serves as a prime example. The doing of such often wreaks catastrophic consequences on the ecology of that area. The Snakehead crisis in the Potomac is proof enough of this.

Mankind has a long history of adopting an all knowing attitude towards people, cultures, and most notably, the environment. In our boundless arrogance we have managed to convince ourselves that we know what is best for the world, and are entirely capable of percieving all possible effects. Often a factor we were unaware even existed comes into play. Our assumed omniscience is proved false time and time again, yet we still refuse to learn from our mistakes.

Each and every event in time happened for a reason. It is simply too risky for us to presume that an alternate action would be in our best interest.

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questioner4
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Post #3

Post by questioner4 »

I would probably just go back in time, and change something that happened in my life. Also, I might go back to the 1970s, but not change to anything. I would just enjoy the music, concerts, and discos of that era.

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ST88
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Post #4

Post by ST88 »

The Persnickety Platypus wrote:Each and every event in time happened for a reason. It is simply too risky for us to presume that an alternate action would be in our best interest.
Pah! There would be no need to change history even if you held the dubious belief that everything happens for a reason. It should be enough of a motivation to go back in history and actually see what happened -- with your own eyes -- in some of humanity's greatest mysteries. If you felt that it would be wrong to intervene in history at any level for any reason, wouldn't you go to the sixth floor of the Book Depository in 1963 just to see how many shots Oswald fired? Charter a yacht in the South Pacific in July of 1937 to see where Earhart's plane went down? Can you think of another historical character whose deeds & existence you would like to verify?

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bernee51
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Post #5

Post by bernee51 »

ST88 wrote:Can you think of another historical character whose deeds & existence you would like to verify?
Why do I sense this a rhetorical question?
"Whatever you are totally ignorant of, assert to be the explanation of everything else"

William James quoting Dr. Hodgson

"When I see I am nothing, that is wisdom. When I see I am everything, that is love. My life is a movement between these two."

Nisargadatta Maharaj

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ENIGMA
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Post #6

Post by ENIGMA »

ST88 wrote:
The Persnickety Platypus wrote:Each and every event in time happened for a reason. It is simply too risky for us to presume that an alternate action would be in our best interest.
Pah! There would be no need to change history even if you held the dubious belief that everything happens for a reason. It should be enough of a motivation to go back in history and actually see what happened -- with your own eyes -- in some of humanity's greatest mysteries. If you felt that it would be wrong to intervene in history at any level for any reason, wouldn't you go to the sixth floor of the Book Depository in 1963 just to see how many shots Oswald fired? Charter a yacht in the South Pacific in July of 1937 to see where Earhart's plane went down? Can you think of another historical character whose deeds & existence you would like to verify?
The problem with the notion of going back to merely observe events is that the farther back you go, the more likely you are to accidentally interfere with a chance event which starts a chain of events which ultimately has a significant effect on the new timeline. For example, if you charter a yacht, you run the risk of precluding someone else from chartering that yacht, which may ultimately result in some key European citizen dying from some native contagion that they caught during their extended stay as opposed to, say, working up tactical plans for the Allies (or the Nazis for that matter) during WWII, resulting in possibly affecting the outcome of the war, or more likely affecting the length of the war, with the new branching set of repercussions, and so on.

Granted, the likelyhood of any given such scenario happening is rather small, but the further back you go, the more probable it is that you will accidentally interfere with something that results in something else that after many iterations results in a major change in history. Going back 2000 years without a cloaking device and a relatively silent personal aerial propulsion unit with the strict understanding that you shouldn't consider landing anytime during your visit would seem to be almost absurdly reckless notion.

My general view is that the most one should consider using this device for is going back a few days. Unless you are honestly trying to get your new self killed, you shouldn't have any difficulty keeping the universe functioning in it's regular manner.

Possible applications:
Preventing some family member from getting into a fatal accident.
Fixing a blatantly egregious faux pas on your part.
Winning the largest lottery jackpot in recent history. :whistle:

etc.
Gilt and Vetinari shared a look. It said: While I loathe you and all of your personal philosophy to a depth unplummable by any line, I will credit you at least with not being Crispin Horsefry [The big loud idiot in the room].

-Going Postal, Discworld

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ST88
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Post #7

Post by ST88 »

ENIGMA wrote:The problem with the notion of going back to merely observe events is that the farther back you go, the more likely you are to accidentally interfere with a chance event which starts a chain of events which ultimately has a significant effect on the new timeline.
In effect, you're saying that either everything means something in the larger timeline, or else that everything has a potential meaning and therefore shouldn't be messed with. While a good guideline, by messing with time, you've already messed with something that could have potential meaning. I'll bring up the old paradox canards. If this timeline led you to create the time machine, then how do you know your actions aren't required to maintain the original timeline?

Furher, if you set into a motion a chain reaction that leads to your non-existence, well, then, what are you doing with that time machine, there?

I'll grant you that the chartered yacht could have repercussions. But the idea of observation itself is not inherently dangerous in such a scenario. We may quibble about technical details, such as making sure your tardis doesn't end up in the middle of Red Square on a summer day in 1959, for example. But surely the act of observing an action doesn't change that action (except on the sub-atomic level). You're talking about unintended consequences because humans are inherently careless.

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Post #8

Post by Nightson »

I would use it in any way I saw fit, thanks to the lovely nature of time paradoxes I should be able to stop myself from doing anything that has overall negative consequences.

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Cathar1950
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Post #9

Post by Cathar1950 »

I just got done watching the Butterfly Effect on DVD. I liked the movie.
I love time travel movies and books. Then they had psychologist saying that those who want time travel want control over their life. I thought so what. I would like to go back and observe. I wonder what I would do if I could just back to any time in my life and what I would change knowing what I know now. I would want to still have my children. In fact there is a bunch of things I would not change. I did see tripping the rift where they went back to the beginning and accidently killed God and returned to the future and every one was at peace and harmony. naturally it bothered our time travelers so it wasn't long before they messed up the world and made it worse. So they went back to stop themselves from killing God and God jumped out of the way. Or when Homer went back and sneezed and killed the dinos. I just love the Simpsons.
So when we building a time machine?

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Zarathustra
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Post #10

Post by Zarathustra »

The real question is: is it even possible to travel freely through time? Discarding all of the theories, how much do we even "sort of" know about the nature of time? Is it scalar or vector? Is it predetermined or flowing? Is it constant or variable? Is it possible to break time by changing events (or simply travelling in the first place)?

The more I read about the string theory or watch time travel movies or read fiction books about time travel the more confused I am, and the more intrigued I am.

BUT, assuming a time machine was built, I would certainly not use it. I would also strongly disapprove of anyone using it. I would not stop anyone from using it, certainly it is their right to explore Reality as much as they see fit. But time travel is just something I would not feel comfortable meddling in.
"Live that you might find the answers you can't know before you live.
Love and Life will give you chances, from your flaws learn to forgive." - Daniel Gildenlow

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