If you suddenly had a Time Machine available and could only visit either the future or the past, which would you choose? Seeing all the innovations, good and bad, that were going to come: or look at scenes from the past? Imagine being there at the dawn of Man and thinking about all the great minds, civilizations and inventions that were to come. You could tell their future but not your own. You could see your very own first ancestors . Or perhaps you would rather travel forward through centuries until you viewed the destruction of our star, the Sun, and the demise of our planet? Would it all then seem so pointless?
One of the stipulations of your Time travel would be that you are not allowed to change anything. There is another one which I will mention later.
As one of my pastimes is writing I often spend a lot of time thinking about things like the past, present and future. We are told by L.P. Hartley in his book ‘The Go-Between’ that , ‘The past is a foreign country: they do things differently there.’
But were people really any different ages ago? Didn’t they struggle to raise families, get a shelter and eat well? Did they really do many things that are foreign to us?
True they did not have the technology today to do certain things the same way we do today. They don’t use mobile phones or text or Facebook everything on their minds, or have computers with which to play and constantly fix or reboot. They would use letters to communicate, mostly hand written. It depends on how far back you deem the past.
Somehow hand written letters seemed to convey more thoughtfulness and insights than texts or emails. Perhaps because the actual act of writing on a page produced more time for reflection than the instant communications we have today. The handwriting was often an expression of a someone’s personality.
In bygone ages, the speed of sound was only as fast as a horse’s mane in the wind if you wanted to send a message. Also, how many emails or texts will be kept for posterity? How will future generations peruse the thoughts in epistles from famous people?
Choosing where to go with my Time Machine would be a difficult choice for me because I love reading about ancient history, yet similarly I’m curious about the future. I also think that certain points in time would be unavailable to see. I’m thinking here about the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus. I’m sure that if Time travel was ever possible that such scenes would be prohibited from being visited as it would remove the requirement of faith and negate free will. These events would become facts and you would not need faith to believe in God.
For a variety of reasons God requires us the have faith. Think about it. If you knew for certain that God was watching any naughty deed you committed and would call you to account, then you would no longer have the freedom to choose whether to do it or not. The prescribed punishment would be certain. For some, that might seem to be a good thing but then we would be no more than pets, kept in a cage unable to decide for ourselves.
Of course, the problem is that if Time travel will ever exist, it must already exist. Consequently, as there is no evidence of any time travel today it can never exist. Nevertheless, there are certain ways we can revisit the past without a Time Machine.
Music has the ability to simulate Time travel. You can hear a song or tune remembered from years ago and it recalls or evokes all the emotions and feelings of that particular point in time. So much so, that you can almost believe you’re actually back there at that moment. It can even bring tears or laughter but strangely, usually a more morose or reflective feeling.
It’s difficult to sense the future in the same way. All we know about the future is largely guesswork. The past is a much more familiar country. The trouble with that familiarity is that we can often try to drag the past into the present and are affected by things that happened long ago; things we should have let go. Every minute we are in a pause between the future and the past but how many of us actually relish or deal with that moment?
Jesus said, “Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.” In other words, you have enough to worry about with the things that are happening today, not what happened in the past or might happen in the future.
So, if the past calls, feel free to hang up; it has nothing new to say. As Bryan Ferry sang, “This is tomorrow calling, wishing you were here.” To do that you must live and enjoy today.
(Thanks to Tripleclicks Games for the above graphic.)