October 17, 2019

The Politics of Time Travel

Passing the time in Cardiff, Wales.

Seriously, can we just move on to 2017 already?

There’s a great scene in the British comedy series Misfits where a time traveler accidentally botches a plan to kill Hitler and drops his mobile phone during the attempt. You’d think the Fuhrer would’ve built a concentration camp just for all of the would-be time traveling assassins that kept showing up at his door. Anyhow, the Nazis back-engineer the future technology from the device, creating an alternate future timeline where the Reich won the war and occupies England.

But is time travel even possible? Certainly Einstein showed us one way to move forward faster than the normal 1:1 flow of time via Relativity and time dilation, though you have to get moving at pretty fast sustained speeds to really notice. Moving backwards in time, however, isn’t so clear, as everything in modern physics hints at a reality where the flow of time is, in fact a one way trip.

So much for a time traveling DeLorean, give us the ability to move backwards and forwards at will. A real study carried out in 2014 actually scoured social media, looking for time travelers who might have prescient knowledge about future events that had since come to pass.

Of course, this study was only tentative, and looked at two events that were very narrow in scope. We’re already saying ‘comet who?’ when it comes to the fizzle that was ISON, and the election of Pope Francis will soon fade into historical memory as well, unless maybe he wins an Academy award or something. How many popes from a century ago can YOU name? And would you be moved enough to go back in time and chat about them on the ye ‘ole equivalent version of social media with that newly invented time machine?

But perhaps, we’ll need to rerun that experiment again soon. The current U.S. political season is upon us, making us wonder just where the modern time travelers are, set on averting the reality of a President Trump.

Sure, it’s hard to be a dystopian science fiction writer these days. Between Brexit and the bizarre U.S. election cycle, truth really is stranger than fiction this year.

But would a President Trump prove or disprove the possibility of time travel? Here’s some of the possibilities:

  1. Trump will not become President, and time travelers already know this historical fact from their own era. Time travel is better spent going back and teasing Hitler, witnessing the Crucifixion, becoming your own grandparent, etc.

  2. Time travel backwards is impossible, or time is deterministic or continually branching off into multiple realities, which explains the strange universe we have before us today.

  3. Time travel is possible, but the election of a President Trump will, in fact end human civilization before it’s invented.

  4. The rise of President Trump is the result of the meddling of time travelers to prevent another unseen crisis, unknown to us. Perhaps Bill Cosby was meant to be President?

In any event, it seems that time travelers simply won’t save us from ourselves. But the good news is, YOU can be the hero of this dystopian future by getting out there and voting this November. With all of the complex issues of social injustice, poverty and racism confronting the world today, a President Trump at the head of the most powerful country in the world is the very last thing we need.


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  2. [...] as it is? Certainly, the multi-verse idea is one very possible solution, especially in light of the worldwide political wackiness we’ve experienced in [...]

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