Nicola Vincent-Abnett

Nicola Vincent-Abnett
"Savant" for Solaris, Wild's End, Further Associates of Sherlock Holms, more Wild's End

Wednesday 5 June 2019

A Thought on Time Travel

I’m not the biggest SF buff in the World, and I’m not a scientist, but, like many of you, I’ve always found time travel absolutely fascinating.

Writers have been speculating about time travel for a long time. Rip van Winkle was written in 1819, two centuries ago, and dozens, maybe hundreds of novels, short stories, movies and tv shows have been written since, all based around the idea of time travel.

Scientists have speculated on the subject, too. Einstein’s theory of special relativity is a good starting point for some.

We all travel through time and space, constantly. We can’t help it. Our time travel has a ratio of 1:1, though. We travel through a period of time during that period of time, and we all experience that duration in a similar way. An hour is always an hour, a day a day, and a year a year. You can set your clock by it. Time travel only occurs when we can travel a year, a decade, a century or a millennium in, say, an hour.

I suspect we will always speculate about time travel, but here’s the thing… If time travel were ever to be possible, we’d all know about it already.

Two people cannot keep a secret. You’ve all had conversations with people who’ve asked, “Can you keep a secret?” My answer is always, “Well, I can, but you clearly can’t.” I also always tell people who divulge their secrets to me that if that secret ever goes public, I wasn’t the one who told. You can bet that if they’ve told me, I’m not the only one.

I am a repository of secrets for any number of people that I will never tell. If I wanted to tell a secret, I’d tell my own secret.

Yes… I have secrets too.

I might just be the exception that proves the rule.
Capricorn One on IMDB

There are conspiracy theorists out there who claim that the moon landings were a hoax. (BTW, I bloody love Capricorn 1… See it if you haven’t already). Anyway, the moon landings as hoax… It’s a ridiculous idea. Nasa estimated that it took 400,000 engineers, techs and scientists to land a man on the moon. If two people can’t keep a secret, what are the chances that almost half a million could all keep their mouths shut? And if you think that only, say, a dozen people knew the whole truth about the moon landings, that’s still an impossible number of people to keep a secret.

If two people can’t keep a secret, it seems highly unlikely that any time traveller that interacted in the world during any day in history could have gone entirely unnoticed. What human time traveller could resists interacting in the World and the lives of those he/she/they met.

This would be front page news, and it would have been front page news during any time there were newspapers.

Time travel is never going to happen. If it were ever to happen, we’d already know that it had happened.

I know there are theories about parallel universes, time slips… all sorts of things, but I’m a pragmatist.

Time travel will continue to happen in stories of all kinds, and I will continue to enjoy them, but I will never believe that time travel will ever be a reality.

Two people cannot keep a secret.

The only exception to this, in my most prosaic, pragmatic of minds, is if time travel works in one direction, and that direction is onward.

Who knows?

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