Why Time Travel to the Future Is More Likely Than to the Past
You might think of time as a progression of events from the present to the future. But where did these events originate? It makes sense to think of the future flowing into the past, but the events of our lives need to have started somewhere.
The way I see it, everything we experience begins at the present moment. We have control over these experiences, but only momentarily. Once our present passes into the past, we no longer have the ability to change it.
So what about the future? Can we change that?
Well, we can indeed plan for it, and make adjustments in the way we handle our lives, in order to attempt to "create" a future that we desire. However, that is with limited capability. There are many other forces that affect the future we will soon experience.
Does this mean that time exists as some kind of entity? Something that we can manipulate?
Is Time Just a Concept Created By Us?
The question is, does time even exist? It’s clear that humans created a definition of time, and a means to measure it, so that we can all relate to one another in our social interactions. However, does time actually have a reality?
It's really hard to say if time actually exists or not. Quantum physics tends to show that there is some other means of moving within our three-dimensional space without the passage of time. So time travel might be a mute point. Scientists have been able to make particles move from one location to another without ever existing in-between.
Besides all that, it’s still interesting to consider the possibility of traveling through time. It’s a fascinating subject that has enchanted people throughout the ages.
Why Is Time Considered to Be the Fourth Dimension?
This explanation should help with understanding why time is the fourth dimension.
- Imagine a two-dimensional world (a flat surface).
- Now imagine additional two-dimensional worlds, all parallel to the first. The existence of additional two-dimensional worlds implies that there must be three dimensions for all of them to exist within.
- Taking this a step further, imagine additional three-dimensional worlds, parallel to the first. This implies a fourth dimension, and all the three-dimensional worlds exist within it.
The fourth dimension represents time. The three-dimensional worlds within it are images of all past time periods, our present, and all future time periods. Each one is a snapshot of a present moment in time, progressing linearly through the fourth dimension.
Why One-Way Time Travel May Actually Be Possible
The existence of a second three-dimensional universe implies that there must be four dimensions for the both of them to exist simultaneously.
I don't mean simultaneously in space. I mean simultaneously in time.
If this were so then, perhaps there is a connection between the two of them, a path from one to the other. This connection is what was meant by the Einstein-Rosen Bridge,1 a wormhole that connects from one three-dimensional universe to another.
Traveling through a wormhole might transport one backward or forward in time. Although, as I have been explaining, backward would be improbable.
Understanding the Concept of Moving Through Time
Time travel from one point in time to another is similar to moving from one point in space to another. When we travel from point A to point B, a certain amount of time goes by. We don’t ever end up at the destination at the same instant as when we left. And most certainly, we don’t arrive at the destination before we left.
How does this explanation help us understand traveling through time? You have to expand everything from the three-dimensional world we are familiar with, into the fourth-dimensional world of “time.”
I'll make it easier to imagine this:
- Take a piece of paper. That paper has only two dimensions, length, and width.
- Draw two dots on that paper, one on each edge.
- Think of those dots as inhabitants of this two-dimensional world.
- Now fold the paper so the two dots meet.
- You have just bent a two-dimensional world and made the inhabitants of different points in that space meet at a single point.
Are you getting it now? If we were to do the same with time, which is separated in four dimensions, and bend it over onto itself, then we would make the inhabitants of different points in time meet at a single point in time.
Proof That Backward Time Travel Will Never Happen
I believe I have proof that the human race will never learn how to travel backward in time. No future generation will succeed at this.
Here’s proof that backward time travel will have had never been discovered in the future. (Note the weird grammar when writing about past events in the future).
If it would one day have become possible to travel back in time, we'd probably be aware of visitors from the future right now! Wouldn't you agree?
If in some distant future humans, or whatever we have evolved into, would have had discovered a method of backward time travel, then we would notice those beings suddenly appearing before us when they weren’t there a moment earlier.
These visitors would have the ability to change our present, and their history. That would mean that we would lose total control of our present, as well as having any ability to plan for our future. We know that is simply not the case.
The Butterfly Effect of Time Travel
Anything we do, any small action, can have an enormous effect on the future. If one were to go back in time, anything they do would drastically change the future from which he or she came. Future behavior is highly sensitive to past events.
This sensitivity is known as the butterfly effect2 derived by Edward Lorenz. The flapping of the wings of a butterfly can eventually affect some future event that is much more forceful, such as a hurricane.
Small initial differences can yield widely diverging outcomes many years later. When you step on a bug and kill it, your action may actually cause a whole new variety of species thousands or millions of years later. This is because you eliminated that single insect’s hereditary evolution.
Looking at it the other way around. Every species we have on Earth today evolved due to conditions in the past. Dinosaurs no longer exist because of a major catastrophe, which probably was an asteroid hitting the Earth.
I have my own theory. Dinosaurs had reached a level of high intelligence. They had created a nuclear bomb, and they used it. (Sorry, I just felt a little humorous for a moment).
Getting back to the point I’m making, if one were able to go back in time to our past and stepped on a bug, the world today would be affected. Maybe we’d have different types of mosquitoes. For example, more savage mosquitoes that eat humans. Then we wouldn't be here today.
So you see, the point is that if we were able to go back in time, it would also be possible that we'd create a change to the past that drastically affects our existence today. This is why backward time travel is impossible.
Why Traveling Forward in Time Is a One-Way Trip
I think it’s possible that someday our advancing human race will discover how to travel forward in time. That doesn't interfere with recorded history.
Forward time travel is conceivable. We actually are doing it already. We are always traveling forward to time, constantly leaving the present in the past. If you want to travel to tomorrow, just sit in your favorite comfy lounge chair and wait 24 hours.
Okay, what we want is advancement through time at an accelerated rate. Or better yet, an instant transfer.
A method of quickly moving forward in time may one day be discovered. As I mentioned earlier, quantum physics already shows examples of particles that move from one place to another without ever existing in the space between the two points. This is known as a Quantum Leap.
I propose a new term that I call Quantum Time Travel, a leap into the future. If it were possible for a particle to leap through a three-dimensional space, then why wouldn't it be possible to leap through the fourth-dimension? That is, through time.
“Time travel may be possible, but it is not practical”— Stephen Hawking
Stephen Hawking spent years trying to prove that time travel can’t be accomplished. However, he couldn’t find any laws of physics that stood in the way. He eventually admitted that it may be possible, even if not practical.
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© 2015 Glenn Stok