Time Travel – A Possibility or Just the Stuff of Science Fiction?

It’s been written about in hundreds of books, the subject of fantasy for everyone at one time or another, and the government has actually devoted research at one time or another on the subject. If you do a search on the Internet for time travel you will find millions of entries on it, and hundreds of websites fully devoted to talking about it. Wouldn’t it be cool if you could travel back in time? You could correct mistakes you’ve made in your life, study any period of time that interests you, not to mention build a financial empire on your foreknowledge of events. Beginning with H.G. Wells’ The Time Machine, the concept of time travel has been one of the main staples of science fiction. Some of my favorite reads are David Gerrold’s The Man Who Folded Himself and The Light of Other Days by Stephen Baxter and Arthur C. Clarke.

So is it really possible to travel in time?

First of all we are all already time travelers in the sense that time moves forward, and at the same apparent rate of speed, for all of us. There seem to be no obstacles in physics to accelerating the forward momentum of time in one way or another. Cryogenics is a concept much written about as one method of “forward” time travel; lowering the body temperature to a little above absolute zero to nearly stop the metabolism as a way to sleep away millennia. The practical hurdles to this put any possibility of this far into the future. Although simpler organisms have been successfully frozen and returned, the human body is too complex to yet survive the process because of water crystallization and other factors. Another method of accelerating time is time differentials due to the relativistic effects of high velocity.

According to Einstein’s Theory of Relativity, as an object approaches the speed of light one of the effects is time dilation. As a relativistic object’s speed increases the passage of time slows for it in relation to a non-moving object. Take for example a spacecraft traveling at 10% of the speed of light, or 18,628 miles per second. If this imaginary spacecraft maintained this speed consistently for 24 hours (according to our clocks back home), then at the end of that 24 hours only about 23 hours, 53 minutes would have passed onboard the spacecraft. Much higher speeds to within a fraction of a percent of the speed of light have to be achieved to get a really noticeable effect. Take that same spacecraft and accelerate it to .999999 light speed (or to 186,281.81 miles every second) and something really bizarre happens, achieving something more like time travel. If you take that spacecraft out on a joyride at that speed for 24 hours of your traveler’s time and return home, you will find that almost two years have past on Earth.

In actuality, this has been observed in experiments done when atomic clocks were sent on jetliners to observe the effects of time dilation. The difference was observed as predicted, helping to support Einstein’s theories. Naturally the difference was small, measured in nanoseconds. Unfortunately for any aspiring time travelers, the kind of speeds needed for relativistic effects are still well outside our technology. The fastest spacecraft yet launched were the Helios spacecraft sent to study the sun in the 70s. They achieved speeds of about 158,000mph, or about 44 miles per second; this is about .02% light-speed, still not close to relativistic speeds.

And what about the possibility of travel back in time?

This makes great material for science fiction, but the data here doesn’t seem promising. Physicists have been able to envision certain circumstances under which time travel MAY be allowable under the laws of physics, but the energy levels and exotic matter requirements seem to be well beyond anything we are likely to achieve anytime soon. Some have suggested that wormholes may be bridges to other universes, distant parts of this universe, or other times. Wormholes remain a theoretical concept, neither proven nor dis-proven to exist. It seems that for all practical purposes the universe has (at least temporarily) denied us the opportunity to revisit our past directly. So let us turn to a discussion of what the possibilities would be if time travel did exist.

First of all we must look at the fact put forward by modern physics that space and time are related aspects of the topology of our universe. In other words, our universe consists of the three observable dimensions of space and one of time. Putting together a theory that explains the existence of our universe required combining time and space into one continuum. Assuming this to be true, it follows that there should be a parallel measurement in space equivalent to measurements in time. It may seem nonsensical to talk of measuring space in seconds or time in miles, but the two are tied together through the speed of light. Therefore it follows that to convert one second of time into distance, we simply look at how far light travels in one second. That would be approximately 186,282 miles or three quarters the distance to the moon. This means that traveling one second back in time would be equivalent to traveling nearly the distance to the moon. Then there is the fact that a change in temporal position would mean having to adjust for the motion of the earth, sun and galaxy as they rotate and revolve. A lot harder than it looked, huh? Ok, let’s pretend we overcome this obstacle and achieve real, meaningful time travel. Could you go back in time and kill your grandfather early in his life, assuring that you will never be born? Time travel is full of paradoxes such as this. For the most part this can be overcome by incorporating quantum mechanics into the concept of time travel, and branching realities.

Quantum mechanics is a field of theory which developed in the first quarter of the twentieth century through the work of Niels Bohr, Pauli, Planck, Heisenberg, and Schrodinger. It’s basic tenets are that at a fundamental level matter exists as a cloud of uncertainty and probability. Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle states that one cannot measure both the position and momentum of an elementary particle because the act of observation changes the outcome. In this branch of physics cause and effect is said to break down and one can only state the probability of something being true. The most famous example of what quantum mechanics means in the real world was given as a thought experiment by Erwin Schrodinger and is known as Schrodinger’s Cat. Here it follows:

A cat is placed in a sealed box. Attached to the box is an apparatus containing a radioactive nucleus and a canister of poison gas. This apparatus is separated from the cat in such a way that the cat can in no way interfere with it. The experiment is set up so that there is exactly a 50% chance of the nucleus decaying in one hour. If the nucleus decays, it will emit a particle that triggers the apparatus, which opens the canister and kills the cat. If the nucleus does not decay, then the cat remains alive. According to quantum mechanics the unobserved nucleus is described as a superposition (meaning it exists partly as each simultaneously) of “decayed nucleus” and “undecayed nucleus”. However, when the box is opened the experimenter sees only a “decayed nucleus/dead cat” or an “undecayed nucleus/living cat”.

The paradox of this experiment is that the cat is said to be both dead and alive until someone opens the box. (*No cats or animals of any kind were harmed in the writing of this article). This paradox can be resolved if we say that instead of both being true in one reality, that reality actually branches into two. In one universe the cat is alive and in the parallel universe it is dead. In this way our universe is constantly splitting into alternate universes in which every possibility is encompassed. This also solves the paradoxes of time travel. When our time traveler returns and makes changes in the past he would be creating an alternate universe without destroying the other. In this way, as he or she continued to make changes, our time traveler would never be able to return to their original timeline, although he could create one similar to it with the right changes. All of the possibilities and repercussions of a scenario such as this are spectacularly presented in the science fiction novel The Man Who Folded Himself, by David Gerrold.

In summary, time travel is a highly entertaining concept for science fiction, and actually holds some plausibility in certain concepts of modern physics. But as a practical application, it is not likely to become a part of our lives anytime soon. Of course, not being a time traveler myself, I cannot speak with certainty.

Time will tell.

Time Travel Not Possible?

Introduction

I said that I would give time travel further consideration in my paper on what Time truly is. My theory of Time dealt with time dimensions and how our concept of time is different from the reality of time. This, true time, includes the motions that we measure with time and my belief that the fourth dimension of time can actually be divided up into the 4th,5th, 6th, and 7th dimensions of time. I had to consider the possibility of time travel in that discussion, but I never made an formal claims. I have now formulated a hypothesis based upon what I believe our concept of time travel is as it relates to true time (All 4 time dimensions).

Hypothesis

It is tempting to believe that time travel is somehow possible. I myself would be lying if I said that I wished there was no such possibility of time travel. The thought is far to tempting to want to believe anything else to the contrary. After giving it much thought, I am 99.9% sure that time travel is not possible and I base this on the following argument.

In order to fully grasp this hypothesis I must first describe how the human race perceives time. It is this perception that has lead to the belief that time travel should or could be possible. I use the analogy of the digital recorder that is so popular with Direct Television or Tivo. This technology simply digitally records a program and then allows you to access that information at any time. You can rewind during the show, fast forward up to a point, or save it to watch at another time. When we eventually watch our show, we are in a sense, traveling back in time. That is to say that a past event, the show, has been recorded and can then be played back later. This allows your mind to experience a segment of time that has already occurred. This is very much the same as how our brain works. The past is nothing more than a collection of our memories. Every event that we have experienced up until the present is stored in our brain whether we can remember it or not. This is the digital recording. Our brain has taken in information and saved it for later use. The future is nothing more than our ability to conceive of future events. I wonder what studies in the area of psychology have been done on this subject. I would have to believe that it is our past that allows our brain to conceive of a future. We know that events have happened so it is reasonable to assume that we can use the creative side of our brain to try and formulate what could happen in the future. This is slightly different from making plans. A person can plan to go to dinner on Saturday with a friend. This is simply a matter of our ability to conceive that another Saturday will come, because we have had reoccurring Saturdays in the past. So, we know that eventually it will be Saturday again. So, we plan to have dinner on that day at some predetermined time. We then commit that appointment to memory, so we can make the date. We can’t exactly count this as foretelling the future, because sometimes we forget the plans we make. By making the plans we increase the likelihood that the event will take place. I guess this leaves us with two ways our brain looks at the future. There is the creative future, where we may dream about or conceive of what events we would like to come about; and there is the Planned future, where we make a plan, commit it to memory, and try to make sure we are there to see the outcome of that future event.

This is how we conceive of our reality. We are born and our brain begins taking in all sorts of information. We commit this to memory for later use. I would assume that memory is merely a remonence of our survival instinct. It used to be that our parents would teach us the things we needed to survive. We also committed as much as we could to memory. If we didn’t then we simply died. Our parents would show us that leopards are bad. If we didn’t have the ability to commit things to memory then we may try to pet the leopard later and get eaten. That is bad. In order to survive we had to rely on our memory so that we could tell what we should or should not do based upon the situation presented to us. Fast forward thousands of years and we come to a point in our history where our standard of living has removed us from those leopard like situations. Now we are faced with a new challenge, surviving in a technological and hectic world. The new lessons are, work to get paid so we can eat and have a home. If you do not do these things then you end up homeless, starve, and die. A new set of survival information that has to be committed to memory. No other species has come as far as we have. They still have to rely on the good old leopard method or True Primal survival instincts.

Our environment and lifestyle has changed but our old abilities remain. Our ability to learn and commit things to memory is still with us. We now find ourselves faced with having to find new and varied things to commit to memory. We have education, and careers, social interactions, entertainment, sports, etc. etc. The list goes on and on. We have so much more to commit to memory and it seems that our memory and brain has adapted to allow us to handle this new life style. Our brains have grown larger and along with it our ability to cram more information in to that brain for storage. Along with all of these new things to commit to memory comes our concept of time. We can conceive of a past, because our past is committed to memory. Whether we can recall it or not, the information is still in our brain. From the day we are born we are storing this information to call upon throughout our life. We draw on these past experiences to conceive of a future or to make plans for the future. All the while the only true reality is the present. This point in time.

What I am saying is that the time line itself is nothing more than a memorized past coupled with an imagined future. That is all. The reality is that the present is all there is. In this present events are occurring all across the universe based upon the laws of physics. Events take place based upon these laws and it is why we see a cup fall to the ground and break instead of the other way around. Can you remember the last time you saw a broken cup fall upward and piece itself back together as it lands upright on the kitchen table? No, just as we have never seen a bunch of leaves fall upward and attach themselves back onto a tree. Events progress in a certain manner. Cause and Effect. If we remove human beings from the equation and look at other animals and objects. No doubt a dog has a concept of time, but do plants? Animals have a concept of time, because they need to call upon past events in order to survive emerging events. Their concept is no where near as developed as ours, I wonder how close an elephants or a dolphins concept of time is? Better still, I wonder how a chimpanzee or a gorilla conceives time? I am sure that their concept is different than ours, less evolved and more primitive. It still serves them for survival. Let us now consider a rock. What is this rocks concept of time? I would have to bet that it has no concept of time. It doesn’t need one, because a rock does not have to survive. No survival means no memory. No memory, means no concept of time let alone anything else. It is that way with any object that has no need for survival, because it is not alive. An asteroid floating through space was set upon a path based upon an interaction. If another body were to come along and strike it then that asteroid would move in some new direction until gravity or another object dictates otherwise. I assure you that the asteroid has no concept of time, of anything for that matter. It is not alive so does time not exist for that asteroid? No, time exists. It exists because the asteroid is in motion. It is undergoing a series of events that are determined by the forces that have acted upon it. Since there is motion then there is time, because the asteroids motions can be measured. I explain this concept further in my paper on my theory of time.

Another analogy I like is this; “If a tree falls in the woods and no one is there to hear it, does it make a sound?” This analogy perfectly illustrates the difference between reality and human conceptions. Does it make a sound? Yes, it does make a sound. What is the definition of sound? Webster’s New World Dictionary defines it as; 1) that which is heard, resulting from stimulation of auditory nerves by vibrations (sound waves) in the air ; 2) the distance within which a sound may be heard ; 3) the mental impression produced /the sound of his report/

The funny thing is that the above definitions are also concepts that fit within what we believe terms to mean. What I am saying is that these words I am typing would not exist if the human race did not exist. The first definition is the most useful, because it points out the difference between reality and conception. “That which is heard, resulting from stimulation of auditory nerves by vibrations” We can conclude from this that the falling tree is not heard. If no one is there to hear, than how can it be heard? What we need to consider here are the facts. A tree falls. The trunk breaking releases energy and the tree hitting the ground and anything on the way down also releases energy. This energy sets the air molecules around it in motion. This sound waves moves outward as the energy is dispersed in all directions. Eventually the sound wave will dissipate, because the energy will be lost along the way. We have to consider these two words, sound, and heard. The falling tree is not heard because no one is there to receive the sound waves. The sound waves still exist based upon how we perceive the travel of sound through the air. So, yes the falling tree makes a sound, but it is not heard.

The 1%

I hope that all you have read up until this point has allowed you to attain a clearer picture of the world around us and how we perceive the world around us. The universe would still go on being the universe whether humans do or do not exist. We know the universe existed before humans so it is reasonable to assume that it would still exist if we did not. So now let us move onto the other 1%. The possibility that time travel is possible. Under what circumstances could we achieve time travel? I will start with the speed of light. The magical notion that by traveling faster than the speed of light then we will somehow be able to travel backwards or forwards in time. Light is a part of the universe, not the master of it. If we were in a ship and traveled faster than the speed of light and we were some how able to maintain our structural integrity then, what? We would get to where we were going a lot faster. We would, however; not pass through time.

I did conceive of this; ” What if we could somehow get every single object in existence to run in reverse?” This is impossible, but just for arguments sake. What if we could get every single object in motion to run in reverse? Nothing would happen, and I will tell you why. We would end up with a universe full of objects violating the laws of physics along with other motions that would simply be occurring in the present. No time travel here. What if we moved towards the sun at faster than the speed of light? Would we then go back in time? Nope, we would simply get to the sun and back again a lot quicker. I say this because even if we travel faster than the light from the sun interacting with objects on the earth, it would not matter to other objects out in the universe. In order to travel back in time all things would have to be involved. You can’t just have a localized event somehow effecting everything in the universe. Just as it takes light millions of years to reach earth from distant parts of our galaxy, events occurring there are different from the picture we are seeing. In fact, much of the universe when we look out into space is different then what we are seeing. So we must look elsewhere for our time travel scenario What if we could somehow punch a whole in the universe, a bridge between two events. Calculate the exact position of the earth on a certain day in the past and then create a bridge between the present and the past? Would this somehow work by calculating the position of the earth in the future? Again, I do not conceive of a way to punch a whole in space leading to the past or future. This scenario would have to include the notion that every single possible event that can occur has occurred. This leads to the creation of new dimensions. Billions upon billions of dimensions and when we punch our hole we are not traveling to the past of this dimension, but the past of one of those alternate dimensions. Perhaps this is not the case. Instead, perhaps; every single moment that has ever occurred exists in separate dimensions. In this case then we could calculate the position of the earth, punch a hole to that dimension and in a sense travel back in time.

This is the one percent that I consider. That the time line is actually a series of universes stretching back through time containing every single second. An infinitesimal division of time that exists in an infinite number of universes that represent the time line Calculate the position of the earth in the past and then travel to that dimension. In reality the time line is composed of nothing but the present, just a present contained in a dimension for every event that has ever taken place on earth or the universe. The only way to travel into the future would have to include the belief that the future has already occurred. Think of it as a long string stretching from the beginning to the end, assuming the universe will end. Take a slice from this line and that is a dimension.

Everything that has happened up to this point and will happen in the future is divided up into dimensions. Each dimension representing the present. We could then conceive of the possibility that we are traveling through dimensions right now. It is always the present, but as events in the universe continue, we move into the next dimension. It would then be possible to travel backwards and forwards in time by somehow bridging the gap between “Dimensions of the Present”. Another unique concept of time travel would be that of the mind. Our bodies are constantly moving forward through “Present Dimensions” . Conceive of our birth to our death as a subdivision of these dimensions.

If we could then somehow transport our consciousness throughout this subdivision of our life then we would, in a sense, be time traveling. In this case our awareness would be moving through our “Present Dimensions”. The film “Butterfly Effect” illustrates this concept nicely. So, the 1% is composed of two possibilities of time travel. 1) Physically creating a bridge between this present dimension and some past or future present dimension. In this case we have to deal with the problem of having two of you in the same dimension. Don’t touch yourself, it could be bad. 2) Instead of transporting our physical being via a bridge, we instead try to move our consciousness back and forth through the “Present Dimensions”. The intriguing thing about number two is this. Our mind could conceivably be connected to the dimension immediately before us and in front of us. The same can be said for the us before that and in the dimension ahead of that. In this case it would be like taking a butter knife and smearing you from birth till your death. This smear represents your life and the sub dimensions of your life. You are, in a sense, connected to your entire past and perhaps your future as well. It would then simply be a matter of transporting your consciousness to some version of you in the past or future. This could possibly be achieved by using energy. Convert your consciousness into data and then try and transport that energy into one of the other present dimensions. It could also be as simple as altering your brain waves in some way to allow for this movement along your time line. In this case though the time traveler could only travel along the length of your own life span.

The beauty of number one is that you are not limited by your life span. You can punch a hole into another present dimension. For as long as the universe has been in existence, events occurring, may have led to the existence of an unlimited number of dimensions contained within our universe. This would represent the “Time Line”, that we like to believe exists.

If this form of time travel is possible we would then have to consider what would happen if we did something to alter the past. This may then lead to branching of the time line. If I travel to an alternate present dimension and change something then a new series of dimensions would be created along with the old time line. This is one possibility The other possibility could lead to the destruction of every dimension from that point forward. Everything you do from that point on would lead to the creation of a new dimensional time line where every event in the universe may occur exactly the same, but includes what you may do differently. Perhaps it is a combination or perhaps all events could occur differently leading to a completely new dimensional time line? I dare not venture any further, because messing around in this manner could lead to any number of outcomes. I shall have to consider these possibilities further.

Conclusion

I still cannot exclude entirely the possibility of time travel. In reality it would be dimensional travel. We would travel to a dimension containing a slice of all of the events that have ever occurred in the universe at one exact moment. Each dimension representing a snapshot of events scoping the entire universe. If such a trip were possible we would then have to consider how smart taking that trip would be. For all we know, the destruction of every dimension from the point you travel back to forward could lead to an explosion that would take out existence as we know it. Then again, maybe nothing would happen. The most important point of this hypothesis is that time does not exist the way we believe it does and time travel is not possible the way we conceive of it. Human conception is the biggest factor. The way we perceive the world may not necessarily be, in fact, reality. What I mean by reality, is the way things exist in the present universe. It is an interesting exercise, but remove humans from the equation and then try and conceive of how events take place in the universe. Events that are independent of our observations. Time exists, because things are in motion in the universe. Humans just are not there to make the appropriate measurements and observations. This is the essence of true reality. The way matter interacts in the universe when humans do not exist. If we can conceive of this, then we can conceive of how the universe truly exists.

Budget Travel: How to Travel the Smart Way!

The key to budget travel is to plan ahead. When it comes to
family trips, globetrotting, well-deserved vacations and/or
going to see new places we have never been before, the
reality of cost and budgeting is always in the back of our
minds.

Planning and spending our travel dollar wisely is a priority
for most families. Curbing spending and costs, while still
enjoying your vacation to its fullest, is the key to
guaranteed success and fiscal responsibility. Your
pocketbook and family will thank you!

The reasoning behind saving money while traveling is simple:
Even if your personal budget is extremely tight, you can
still take a break and enjoy life! Simply put, life is just
too short to never step out of the door or leaving the
homestead!

Also remembering that while traveling, whether on a budget
or not, even the smallest of things can all add op to a
large vacation or travel bill!

For example, all those hotel extra’s, cab-fares, tips,
restaurants, car rentals, gas for your own vehicle if on a
road trip, tickets for special attractions or events,
beach-and-pool-side drinks (if not at an all-inclusive
resort or cruise) and more, adds on and piles up!

This brings us to the some of the rhyme and reason behind
budgeting for travel and planning well. This also applies
monetarily, to ensure your trip is a success, enjoyable and
memorable. Your outlook could be a balance between
replenishing your resources and not breaking the bank in the
process!

How to make “SMART” travel goals that are achievable.

(You may find yourself at the resort of your dreams if you follow
these steps) .

Like anything else in life, travel needs to be planned for
somewhat. It is almost like setting a short-time ‘SMART’
goal for leisure and vacationing. Marketers of time-share
and destination vacations, often refer to this as an
argument to invest in a travel solution.

People often suggest that we treat travel or vacationing,
like any other planned financial decision in life. This is
all irrespective of whether this includes house, car,
tuition, health, insurance or other life-expense. Travel and
vacation is justified and ‘sold’, as just another important
item on the list to think about and budget for.

Setting goals is described and accepted as a powerful tool
to achieve success and keeps people motivated.

Out of the list of dream destinations you just made or have
in mind, you cannot possibly achieve reaching all of them,
and nor should you perhaps. One can but wish and dream …
Going after these dreams in a planned fashion, will mean a
significant investment of time, money, energy, talent, and
opportunities. You will need to prioritize.

Prioritizing should include travel items, trips, goals and
destinations that you really desire to visit, see, conquer,
treasure, explore and would love to achieve in your
lifetime.

Realizing of course that these ‘dreams’ though, might not
all be achievable immediately, or at all. You need to view
this as a wish list, shortlist eventually becoming
checklist! Then, move on to making at least the first goal
or location visit on the list happen this year!
(Alternatively, as soon as funds allow and you are able to
make it happen).

Hands-on work, defining and planning for travel in such a
way that it will convey an actual goal or goals,
destinations, budgets and periods.

A goal, in order to be effective and drive people towards
it, should have the following characteristics. The goal
should be Specific, Measurable, Action-oriented, Realistic,
and Time-constrained. In other words, it must be a SMART
goal, (as referred to earlier).

SPECIFIC: The travel goal(s) should be specific. Detail is
what matters here. Avoid generalizations; get to the point
and crux of the matter. Specify your immediate travel needs
and means. Then plan to go after it pro-actively.

For example, take that tropical island, destination dream
vacation: “I have always wanted to …” seems a little
general when compared to ‘I will travel, with my family to
Hawaii for a vacation of two weeks within the next six
months.’

MEASURABLE: The SMART travel goal must be measurable. This
goes along with being specific. A goal defined specifically
might already be measurable. The abovementioned goal stated
intention, involved parties, location, purpose and a
timeframe – all measurable elements.

A measurable travel goal, like going to Hawaii, with a
family of four, including two children under the age of
five, within the next six months helps you identify, plan,
execute and track more efficiently and increase your odds of
actually making it there! Considering the logistics in this
fashion, makes it that more realistic to enable your family
to take the planned trip of a lifetime, as opposed to just
dreaming about it!

ACTION-ORIENTED: A SMART goal must also be action oriented.
It cannot merely be stated. You must relate the goal to
doing something, to indicate what needs to be done. An
action verb will indicate what needs to be accomplished. “I
will travel” is a good example of an action statement,
stated intent and implies preparation and planning, will and
persistence.

REALISTIC: For any goal to be motivational and get you
committed to reaching it, it must be realistic. When a goal
is not realistic and the person does not really believe it
can be reached, then the commitment is lacking and the
effort will not be there to permit the goal to be realized.

Choosing realistic goals are based on your present status.
What jumps to mind right away in our example, is whether and
how you can afford it and make it happen! (Hopefully this
guide can also offer some tips to get your there).

TIME-CONSTRAINED: In order for a goal to move people towards
it, it must be time-constrained. A timeline needs to be
associated with it. It will entice people to move towards
the goal. The timeline set, will be based on the goal itself
and the present status. Six months is stated here as a
realistic timeline, leaving enough time to save for, plan,
book and take your well-deserved vacation to Hawaii (as in
our stated example),OR anywhere else YOU have chosen to go!

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