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Linear mindedness hurts my brain

I was watching this thing about black holes, white holes, and wormholes last night on TV. So many things they said, especially when it got to time travel, had me saying, exasperatedly, "Silly literal-minded, linear-minded humans!" and shouting alternative perspectives on issues at the TV. (Some people shout at sports games on the TV, I shout at documentaries!)

I have never understood linear thinking. Most people struggle with CWG concepts like "sequentaneousness," AKA "sequential simultaneousness," but it's no problem to me. Me, I find it impossible to imagine linear time. I can't wrap my brain around the concept of a form of time where going back in time and killing your grandpa while he's 10 years old will erase you out of existence. How is it even possible to go back to a previous moment in time? Once you go there, it becomes the present. Your presence would change it, even if you were invisible and could not be felt or perceived. Because observing something changes it. And what kind of twisted logic got people to thinking that changing the past changes your present? I understand it only insofar as you got to this present because of the things that happened in the past. But even if changing the past changed your present, this is impossible. Because going to the past turns it into your present, and therefore it cannot be the past, so changing it won't affect that particular You. It will, of course, affect another You. But not the You that is You. Just one of the myriad possibilities.

And it isn't just temporal paradoxes giving me headaches. Ironically, paradoxes don't give me problems. So you've killed baby gramps and you're still alive? Makes perfect sense to me. Time does not flow through us, we flow through Time. "Past" lives and your present life are all one moment due to Time being an illusion? I can imagine it perfectly in my head. All those alternate versions of yourself, even the one where choosing chocolate milk over white milk made all the difference in your life, all of those happening at once and your soul is infinitely multiplying itself to do this? *Yawn* That all you got, Neale? That the best you can do? Tell me humans are right about linear causality if you want to make my brain start hurting. But otherwise, it's easy as pie for me. Easier, even.

Still... since everything that is possible exists somewhere, and since many things that are impossible in the Realm of the Absolute are made possible on the mortal coil via illusion (like Time, Space, and Separateness), I suppose it IS possible for there to be universes out there with the ILLUSION of linear time and time travel complete with paradoxes. But ultimately, it is an illusion. We are all God's children, so caught up in our games of make-believe that we've forgotten who we are and that it's even a game. Even those of us who know this fact still get caught up in the drama. Myself definitely included.

Another meme, too:

Which scifi/fantasy character are you?

Which Fantasy/SciFi Character Are You?


Possessing a rare combination of wisdom and humility, while serenely dominating your environment you selflessly use your powers to care for others.

Even the smallest person can change the course of the future.

Galadriel is a character in the Middle-Earth universe. You can read more about her at the Galadriel Worshippers Army.


( 6 comments — Leave a comment )
Dec. 6th, 2007 07:40 pm (UTC)
Well, if strong local causality is true, then time travel can't happen. If causality isn't true, the properties of the universe would be such that it not only would be inherently non-understandable, but there's a fair chance that it wouldn't be suitable for life (or much of anything else.

But if local causality isn't required but global causality is, then time travel is possible *but* only in a manner that incorporates something similar to the uncertainty principle.

You can't change "known" parts of the past. But things you don't "know" can be "altered".

No paradoxes, though you can get situations where you do something because your future self came back and did it. (so when you are that future self, you'll go back and perform those actions, though perhaps not for the reasons you tell your past self you did)

ps. "local causality" more or less means "causes must precede effects" in layman's terms.

"Global causality" means "effects must have causes".

Edited at 2007-12-06 07:44 pm (UTC)
Dec. 6th, 2007 09:06 pm (UTC)
Interesting take on the subject. Are you perhaps referring to the paradox known as a predestination paradox?
Dec. 6th, 2007 10:49 pm (UTC)
Ah, but it's not a paradox. Just the way quantum mechanical interactions and global causality work with regards to time travel.
Dec. 6th, 2007 09:08 pm (UTC)
re: local causality
In pure quantum mechanical terms, neither of those need be true. Effects need not have causes, causes need not have effects. And sometimes you do something and nothing happens, or you do something and something completely unexpected happens.
Dec. 6th, 2007 10:52 pm (UTC)
Re: local causality
Sorry, but you are incorrect. Quantum mechanics *describes* cause and effect at the quantum level.

Try digging up a copy of "Timemaster" by Dr. Robert Forward. It's an SF novel that involves time travel. And there's an appendix with a long list of papers you have to be able to refute before you can legitimately question the way he has things working in the book.

Since he was a physicist with gravity and some things related to what time travel would involve (weird space time conditions) as his specialties, it's kinda hard to argue unless you are at least as good as he was.
(Deleted comment)
Dec. 10th, 2007 10:08 am (UTC)
Amen to all of that! Who says that races like the Hooloovoo can't be real?
( 6 comments — Leave a comment )


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