In response to “TIME TRAVEL” posted by Derrky on Friday, June 29, 2007:
I like what you're talking about here. My only problem with your main idea - that we can't travel into the future - is that you assume time is solely a linear construct. Just because we've only experienced time as a point A to point B to point C so far doesn't necessarily make it a linear function.
For example, the Earth was believed flat by many people because they had not stepped out of a certain environment and experienced the context in which the entire Earth existed. I see it similar for time. Currently, we only know time in a very limited function. We see the past, the present, and the future as experiences which must occur distinctly in that order. However, we have not yet been able to see time within its greater context, as our concepts of reality and dimensionality are still limited only to our "primary timeline" within the "3rd dimension" (for the most part).
I believe that time may actually exist much like a graph does with plot points scattered in all areas of experience (in other words, non-linear throughout the areas of existence we currently define as past, present, and future). How can you explain the notion of dreaming something before it ever occurs? I’m not just talking about religious constructs such as fate; I’m talking about things like sensory recall and precognitive ability that are on the periphery of accepted experience. Of course, these still lack proof within our current accepted "scientific reality" and therefore may not even be fair evidence to use in this discourse.
With that said, I like the "whole" concept introduced at the end of your essay. I think that if time truly is linear and may be traveled, the distinct possibility of a different past being created by a visit into the future is fascinating. Therefore, this would suppose that both the past and the future are spontaneously generated by events in the present, meaning that our past is not only being rewritten as we live, but modified, so that a certain past is only accessible from a point in the present and never again.
For example, if you were to travel into the past, alter what we know as an "accepted past event," and return to the present, that "accepted past event" will no longer exist. Therefore, you will never again be able to return to the original moment in the past you once visited. Even if you were to travel into the past to the "present" upon which you departed in the first place, that visit to the past "present" would only be possible after altering the "accepted past event," therefore making possible attempts to undo the effects of the "accepted past event" completely futile, not to mention impossible.
In that case, I conclude that the present may never EVER be recreated because the past is able to change in the same way the future changes with every action. For example, if we were to change the past, would our minds be spontaneously updated with accepted knowledge of the "new past" that has been created, therefore voiding any action to return to an accepted present point? I don't have an answer for this idea but I do think it presents a certain fascinating paradox about time travel.
Is it futile to attempt to change the present by altering the past because any alterations will result in a complete re-imagining of the previously accepted "present," therefore spontaneously generating a new present that has no bearing upon the original decision to travel back in time?