One of the things I have given a great deal of thought to has been:
How do I safely time travel?
I’m watching Butterfly Effect 3, the latest installment in the movie series which initially featured Ashton Kutcher and deals with the concept of time travel and altering one’s own timeline.
In every movie in the series – there’s an attempt by the lead character to prevent the murders of his friends and/or relatives by going back in time to the point the murder happened and stopping it from happening.
As time forges forward after the successful alteration – this creates a Butterfly Effect – the original event NOT having happened, causes a series of subsequent events where a new timeline emerges – a timeline which makes the lead character’s life even worse than it was before.
So it’s movies like this that beg the question – what rules – could I incorporate and institute and why?
Especially since I woke up this morning with the distinct feeling I was being watched as the question entered my mind ‘How weird would it feel looking at my life out in this tent right here, right now, from the future’.
Here’s the thing I’ve come to realize about non-interference rules as suggested and implied by this movie.
I’ll get to that in a moment.
But there’s other movies like Time Cop – where Jean Claude Van Damme – one of my all time favorite personalities on the screen – where the lead character works for a government agency which polices the timeline, and senses a temporal event occuring on a real time basis and sends agents to the point in time to mitigate the risk to the timeline.
One such event occurs at the height of the great depression in 1929, where a time traveling investor went back in time from the year 2020, bought stock when it was low, as this made him a very very wealthy man in the future which he’d created a system which ensured he got paid for the manipulation of the market ‘back then’.
In the movie, he was caught because of the ripples he created – other investors weren’t able to profit and thus changing the political and economic landscape for everyone after those events. The ‘ripple’ much like ‘noise’ received by terrorist activities, understanding that time itself has a way of self correcting but when the change is too substantial, that change ripples forward in time like a wave crashing on the ocean.
But what was interesting wasn’t the agency itself.
It was the single solitary silly little rule they had developed for time travel.
“The same matter cannot occupy the same space at the same time.”
It was goofy. It was brilliant. And in the end, when a certain senator was trying to take over the world by manipulating time by providing himself information from the future to his future’s benefit, this rule ultimately caused the villain’s demise as JCVD kicked the older version of the senator into the younger version’s self causing them to merge into a gelatinous puddle of goo.
But again with the rules.
What if I want to go back in time and encourage a younger version of myself to take a different route, to actually plan it out with him, and to in fact create a Butterfly Effect?
I didn’t like the time travel rule that Timecop presented. It was limiting. And invariably, a part of the fun of time traveling would be in revisiting my own past – revisiting a romance, making a different choice and seeing the outcome, or heck, maybe finding a few other versions of myself who might want to work together to expand the universe and the possibilities within it…
So I abandoned that Timecop rule. But it made for awesome entertainment.
And then there’s the tv show Timeless.
Where the lead characters are all traveling back to key moments in time to prevent their enemy from making changes because it’s effecting their future.
The lead character’s sister, for instance, disappears altogether in one visitation to a past that alters the future. A mysterious man is introduced to the cast who somehow begins taking over the world.
This pestering Butterfly Effect presents a logical conundrum for the sheer number of possibilities it introduced in the case of altering the past.
Which begs the question.
My dream isn’t necessarily to time travel. It’s simply to experience life and relive some of the experiences I’ve enjoyed in the past a few more times or when I want to. To have a bag of experiences that I can refer to and revisit and physically relive when I feel like I need it.
It’s more than a simulation that I want to experience. And if you’ve seen the movie Dreamscape, it’s along these lines. Recalling personal moments that to some degree felt dreamlike – and simply re-experience them.
But the Butterfly Effect presented a problem.
I could never be guaranteed I would return to the same future in a linear universe.
I suppose this is where I first came across the multiverse, and started saying – ok – the movie Butterfly Effect presents one possibility and one possibility alone because of a single linear timeline and universe.
So I looked at it educationally and asked: WHY?
The concept of the Greater Good.
IF a single linear timeline is developed then to some degree those who manage it tend to preserve their own timeline prioritizing what they see and know. I’d seen it before with Timecop – the idea and notion that ‘this version’ of the universe is “The” version. And it’s hard not to apply the same concepts and ideas to the world around me and consider this is how time is managed.
But as I experienced stress related ailments for reasons I couldn’t explain a couple years ago.
As I began questioning my own memory.
As I began questioning the origin of disease.
And the rise of religion and Gods.
I couldn’t help but apply all this knowledge to time and say.
Wait a moment.
Time presents infinite possibilities. Scarcity is a contrived condition, a game-like condition which provides evidence of something called Game Theory, and at best is an artificial condition.
So how would I rise above a game world or the theater of the world to blaze my own path?
Safe time travel.
How can I go back in time to experience a dance by Jackie for a night and then take her on a journey across space and time after we woke up the next day AND know I had a home to return to?
For that to happen.
It absolutely requires understanding not just how and why time travel is possible.
But where the universe itself comes from.
And that’s simple imagination.
There are infinite potential versions of Jackie’s image in that same place in space and time. Some are simulated, some robots, some aliens, and every single one of them is accessible to me instantaneously via my mind and memory.
When I first started taking hallucinogenic, I mitigated the risk to my psyche and the fear of having a bad trip by asserting to myself – this will all be over in 3 to 4 hours.
Over time though – I began realizing the experiences I had around me tended to be directly correlated to the emotions and fears I had within me. So as time went on, I learned to control my emotions and control the experiences around me.
But there was a problem. The experiences were limited to the specific substance I was taking. Each substance produced substantially different results. Bath Salts for instance let me see into robot worlds. Certain types of mushrooms would slow time, others would create visual effects.
So as I learned to control the experience by controlling the emotion and monitoring time.
I also learned to regard these substances as technology – and these technologies had inbuilt limitations to their capabilities.
In any case, I am rambling a bit – so bringing this all back to Earth…
How does one ensure safety when traveling through time?
Governments, religions and insurance companies have LONG known about this marketing tactic.
And understanding why the unknown exists.
You see. Time travel isn’t just a product of imagination, it’s real.
I know that when I leave 2016 to go to the year 2006, that that same exact version of 2016 I left will be there when I return. That’s simple faith that my persistent and consistent world will remain persistent and consistent as it always has and always will.
I know that when I return to that time in 2006 and make different choices. Say I pick a world where seconds before Jackie does her dance the prior version of me is abducted by aliens in a teleporter and I’m merely filling the void left. No harm no foul to the prior version of me who can safely be returned the next day with memories of the event.
This is the power of the story. it’s not just a weapon.
It makes anything possible.
And I know that after that incident. That the Butterfly Effect will work to my benefit should I make alternative choices that fundamentally change my world. This is the beauty of the multiverse. My original timeline is and will always remain intact. And a thread, a branch will be created featuring the changes made by anything I did before.
It’s funny. When Q in Star Trek goes to the ‘beginning of time’ with Picard to where the first human cells met, and says “pllop – awww too bad now the human race is no more” – in that moment – Q created a branch – where humans in one reality just don’t exist. An alternate universe. So now there are at least two universes one with humans and one without. And in actuality, many many more.
Time always has the capacity to self correct. So mere nanoseconds after they departed and the event didn’t happen, the event does happen and the original records can be updated accordingly or be retained to reflect the initial event prior to Q’s meddling. Both are now possible.
So here’s a little exercise.
Let’s say I go back in time to 1980 and tell Bill Gates I’m a time traveler, and I’m going to pop in on you every once in a while to help guide you, your company, and to ensure you become the wealthiest man on the planet. Now I sincerely don’t ask for anything in return. Of course I’d like something in return. But I don’t expect it. I’ll let you know who I am in the real world and where I am at.
And when the time is right we’ll plan out a message we can jointly send the world about how it came to be.
And there will come a day when I write this and you’ll be scratching your head right along with me as we both question free will and choice but basically write it off saying.
“While this life ain’t perfect, it’s actually not half bad and certainly isn’t boring so I’ll stick with it”.
At that time you’ll be able to come and shake my hand for the first time.
Or who knows. Well before that time you may have chosen to go a different direction.
Now. This is a thought exercise in the same vein as Shrodinger’s Cat.
Did I actually help Bill Gates become a billionaire?
Did this story going into your mind rewire reality instantaneously and create both of our lives which ultimately led to your reading this story and imagining it as being a possibility?
Is Shrodinger’s Cat dead or alive or is just best to classify its state as indeterminate until it’s observed?
With time travel and time travel mechanisms. I have faith. Not just that I’ll return to precisely the same moment I want to when I return to my time. But mechanisms will become available to let me see and understand what’s happening around me as I make changes and live my life without regret and without time as a limiter as it had once been.
You see. To me. Carrie Fisher didn’t die. Nor did George Michael.
They’re merely at a different point in space and time than I am and are there anytime I want to visit.
It’s not that I don’t have fears.
It’s that I am tired of feeling guilty, ashamed, and sorrowful over change and choice.
And time travel is the mechanism that I intend on using to revisit and relive the moments that I hold pricelessly in my own memory. Eventually. Even those events will lose their thrill after I have had the opportunity to experience them. In the real world.
I’d like to be a Time Cop. For real.
I don’t need a mansion to live in. A small apartment in the DC area would be awesome for me.
But with this job. I need to make it clear I will be doing some things I enjoy and reliving some experiences.
Like a policeman who takes a job as an officer just to drive real fast. While it’s legally questionable. It’s not immoral or wrong and provides an outlet the officer may otherwise not have gotten.
I have a reason to protect this timeline for you. I have nothing to fear with my own timeline changing which is what would make me an awesome candidate. And the changes I’d make for personal reasons I think you’re already well aware of and I would agree to oversight on.
America needs Time Cops. Whether it knows it or not. And I’d like to be a part of an agency which oversees and protects the linear integrity of the timeline – provided I get to choose assignments.
Time travel isn’t to be feared.
One last note: I will NOT carry firearms or weapons of any kind. I refuse to. I will certainly dress in uniform if required, but already have a uniform in mind. My favorite brown suit and a bow tie.