One of the great things about the internet is that it helps people feel more connected to one another; even if they don’t actually know each other 1. You can read a person’s blog, and have access to their peronal-ish thoughts. Over time this can develop into a feeling that you actually know the person.
Here at O’Keefe’s Briefs, we feel that we haven’t been as forth-coming as we might have been. We’re using the 'royal we’ for the love of Mike! So in an attempt to help you to get to know us better, we are dropping the 'royal we’ immediately. Especially since it comes off a little bit douchey. A little bit. And so what follows is the first of my more intimate, personal blogs. The unvarnished reality behind the mentality! Ultimately, taken as a whole, what I hope will develop will be an entire system of beliefs, my creed if you will. If you won't, then at least it might give you, dear reader, a glimpse into what it's like inside my head. Enjoy.
Today’s Topic: Time Travel
There are primarily two theories of time travel that are bandied about in popular culture: the Bill and Ted (aka the Terminator) and the Back to the Future. In a nutshell, the first posits that since time travel exists, no alternate realities are created. Everything you do in the past really has already been done, even if you don’t do it until tomorrow; therefore, the time-space continuum remains in tact. See simple. The Terminator variant of this is a little bit more in tune with modern scientific philosophy stating further that one can only travel backward in time, and not jump around. The second theory is akin to that whole “if a butterfly beats its wings in Thailand, there will be a storm somewhere very far from Thailand or something” nonsense. Mainly, it posits that if time travel were possible, then going back could dramatically change the present. This theory also reared its ugly head in one of the Simpsons’ Tree House of Horror episodes.
Even now I bet you know which theory I subscribe to. Gosh, I presented that second theory like Fox News presents anything remotely liberal2. A gold star for each of you who guessed it right. For one thing, Time (with a capital ‘t’) is an illusion; it’s a man-made construct that helps us know to what extent we should be worried about our own inevitable demise3. Also, from what little I understand of sub-atomic physics, string theory indicates that all possible realities exist simultaneously, and we merely experience the most likely reality. And that my friends, just blows theory #2 to well... #2. You see, we already experience the most probable reality or “time line,” so even if we could go back, that would already have been accounted for. Probably. The counter argument would state that if time travel were possible, by going back you might make a different reality more probable. But that is utter tosh! Hogwash.
In considering the present, one must assume that the past is fixed. If the future holds any possibility of time travel, those temporal tourists have already visited, have accomplished what they have, and changed what they would. Those future time travellers are already a fixed part of the past. This is only confusing if you continue to hold on to the idea that the time-space continuum is linear. Then again, that little tidbit may just have compounded the situation. Anyway, recent scientific theory suggests not only up to 11 dimensions to our universe, but a curve to time-space. A curve, not a line. Which is why I put the words “time line” in quotes above and also removed my hands for the keyboard to make air quotes while typing it.
What impact this has on the concept of free will is difficult to say. It seems that if time travel is possible, then free will becomes an illusion. Perhaps what we are faced with is a sort of web of probability such that given the historical past was well as our personal past and the combined pasts of people in our immediate environment, we really have no choice in our decisions. But then, that’s a touch off topic, and far too Dogmatic4.
Finally, one might ask: but if time travel does exist why don’t time travellers make themselves known and share their shiny, futurey technology? I would ask in response: if you could travel back in time, would you give a caveman a flashlight?
Until next time my fellow monkeys. Ook ook.
1 - I’m thinking specifically of my good friend Wil Wheaton here. I follow him on Twitter, and occasionally read his blog. Even though I rarely watched Star Trek (and when I did I was more of a Deep Space Nine follower), I did enjoy Stand By Me, and his work on The Guild was and is superb. Wil: call me, I want to be your friend. I think we, like, totally have a lot in common. BFF!
2 - In a fair and balanced light with plenty of unbiased information for the intelligent viewer to come to his or her own well rationalized conclusion of course!
3 - Well, roughly. You can never really know when that oafish pair of movers will suddenly drop a piano from 20 stories above the very spot you’ve decided to stop and telephone someone who will no doubt need a ton of therapy very shortly thereafter.
4 - Philosophers and theologians have been fighting over this point since Martin Luther nailed his college thesis to the Cathedral Door. The professor gave him a ‘C,’ and asked that he better flush out his arguments. Martin Luther sighed, realizing that this professor was probably a papist and like, just didn’t get it, man.
The views and opinions expressed in O'Keefe's Briefs(tm) are not necessarily those of The Management. In fact, they are very likely not even the views and opinions of the writer, the typeface designer, god or the President of the United States. You would be hard-pressed to find anyone who shares the extraordinary worldview expressed below, and should you, run. Far and fast. The Management would also like to point out that any references or similarities to any persons living, dead, or undead are entirely coincidental since we all know there are no such things as zombies anyhow.