I’ve been thinking a lot about time travel and the cartoonish way we look at it.
Like, all’s we need is a special device, a time “machine”, and we jump in it and fill the tank with special sci-fi gas and ZOOM! off we go to the late 1800s so we can find H.G. Wells, author of The Time Machine, and say to him, “Seriously, dude?”
This cartoonish view of time travel stems from our cartoonish view of time itself, that it is something real and external to ourselves, which is not true. Try to define time and the best you can do is a sort vague conception of change or motion. This change or motion occurs IN time, we say. The absence of motion or change also occurs IN time. Time to us is a sort of vague medium.
The past no longer exists and the future does not yet exist. All we have is the present, which is an illusion, constantly slipping into the past the moment we grasp it. The present is simply a continuous transition. It can never be caught, for the moment you do catch it, it is already the past and a mere memory in your head.
With our low levels of consciousness, we view time as a traveler going from Town A to Town B. When we leave Town A, the whole place is dismantled, packed away, and ceases to exist. As we move along the narrow slit of the highway called the Present, Town B is rapidly being built for our arrival. If we were but wiser and more open-minded, perhaps we could rise above the highway and the plane it’s on and see that Town A still exists, has always existed, will always exist. We could also see that Town B is not being build for our arrival, but also exists and will always exist.
Eternal Recurrence says that if time is eternal, then all the minute combinations that result in this EXACT MOMENT will have to recur again and again. They would have to, else time would not be eternal. Constant recurrence of not only this very moment, but all other moments, plus all other possible moments is a property of eternity itself. We are but small-minded little humans and have trouble grasping sometimes just how big eternity really is. Nietzsche, early on in his philosophy, found this realization of Eternal Recurrence oppressive. Later on, however, he developed Amor Fati (Love of Fate) as a response to it, perhaps because he felt he had no other choice. He, of course, did have a choice, in fact infinite choices, and he has taken them all, as well as not taken them all. And he will again and again…Just as you and I will with all our choices.
In our present (fallen?) state, we experience life like a blind man taping his cane. Tap, tap, tap. Whatever it touches is “real”. Beyond its tip, though, extends the darkness of nonexistence. One day, though, we might be able to open our eyes and see plainly.
I believe time travel is certainly possible, but our time machine will be between our two ears. I believe even, that some are already traveling this way. Perhaps Buddha, Jesus, and Albert Einstein are all the same dude. It would explain a lot.
Yes, the time travelers are already among us, I am sure. And since I have made this breakthrough, I expect them to any moment come knocking on my door because I am now “ready”.
They will take me to Area 52 (Area 51 is just a decoy) to meet all the other time traveler dudes and together we will party like it’s 1999—because it just might be.