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Paradox - Explanation




Classical Argument: A man today goes back to yesterday and kills himself, how could he live today?

Explanation: If is went back to yesterday, would he be one day younger? Is yesterday his past or future? If it is his past, and he is one day younger, then he would die when travelling to 1800 or 2300.

If it is his future, then the events are consistent. He kills himself yesterday, but yesterday is his future. There are two yesterdays, one in his real past, and the new one in his future. There are also two of him, he kills himself once, but there is another one and the orginal past is not unaffected, since the murder occurs in the future relative to the original past.

If he then returns a second time to yesterday after returning to today, he has created two todays and two yesterdays, and one original yesterday. He would see two of himself (one dead) but that would be a new yesterday. His lifespan would be the same, he is only travelling to different places in time, but they are different places to the earlier ones.

This would mean that there is no continuity in time, just a series of events on a timeline.

Does this violate quantum laws?

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I've done a lot of thinking about this sort of thing, and have come to the conclusion that either time branches into many multiple flows of time, like you are discussing, or time travel is not possible at all. But since theoretically 'everything' is possible one way or another, including time travel, we'll be accepting the first choice.

At first, I found the whole idea of multiple parallel flows of time difficult to grasp - In one word, I thought it was ridiculous. But we must remember that the way of the universe stretches far beyond our common plane of thinking.

The whole 'parallel' reality thing always seems a far-out, science fictiony thing, when in fact it could very well be possible from what we know so far, and is the only way to explain time travel without encountering any paradoxes or other conceptual snags.

First of all, one thing we have probably got to do is change our way of thinking of dimensions. e.g 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th etc... In a sense all these things exist, but they are not exactly the same. In fact, all these things as a whole perhaps do not fit exclusively into the category 'dimensions' and a new term may be required to label these all as a whole.

Really, dimensions are commonly what we refer to for the volume and space side of things, hence our three dimensions - Length, Width and height. However, these three dimensions are intertwined as one, and cannot be broken down individually - Well, not in this existance anyway. So perhaps the three spacial dimensions are really just one entity, space alone, with length, height and width being the sub-components we use to comprehend it.

As for time, is it really the 'fourth dimenion'? Of course, it is definitely not a spacial dimension, rather it is an entity, part of the universes clockwork with governs how space and all within it propogates and progresses at a relatively constant rate.

So we have space, which confines 3d volume and mass, and time, which 3D space flows through. Beyond this there are infinite timeflows through which flow the events of infinite possibilities of events of this universe. And who knows... Beyond this there may be things completely different altogether.

When it comes to time travel and its effects on a single flow of time, the answer simply is we are no longer dealing with that single flow of time. When we travel to the past we have instantly branched off the flow of time into a new reality, through which we are now flowing through.

If you picture time flow as splitting like a forked road, with the original flow of time on the right and the new altered flow of time upon our arrival on the left, we are travelling down the left path from where we arrived. To travel back to the future would mean not back to the timeflow we left, but rather that same time period, of this altered flow. Our very arrival and presence of ourself and our time machine had branched off time from the first moment.

With this concluded, it is theoretically possible to affect past events however much, even if it leads to preventing your own existance, and it would cause no paradox, because your interference would only affect this new flow of time, not the original, abandoned flow which still, in a sense is flowing its own way paralell, and perhaps, if the know-how were aquired you could even go back to your own original flow somehow.

As for the reduction/increase in amounts of matter upon leaving and travelling to times, really matter is not being destroyed or created, it is just being transferred. The bucket theory probably does not apply to just one single flow of time, but all infinite time flows of a universe combined.

As for 'past', 'present', 'future', like space and velocity, this is relative. Of course the year 2050 to us now is the future. But, to someone in the year 2100, it is the past. It all depends where you are looking at. Of you leave this year, 2001, to visit 1901, to you this year is no longer the present, 1901 will become your present because that will be when you are, simple as that.

Upon every arrival and leaving in time, a new flow of time is created. In a sense, it's like changing lanes on a freeway that donot combine again, they stay branched off forever.

If you travel say 50 years into the future, you will arrive in a time where you have been missing for 50 years, you won't see your older self! You are in a sense still on the same flow of events of time that were from when your time machine left the original time, so to everyone you have been missing for 50 years.

Of course, once you decide to return back to the time you left, you will instantly branch off a new flow of time and it will be like you never left, and you won't go missing after all. To someone observing your time travels in this year, in one reality they never see you return, in another you do return.

It is this second reality that takes place for them instantly, so long as you do return from that future year, so in a sense you only ever go missing for 50 years from your point of reference.

I read just now Gott's book and Time Travel. It is non-technical, but arouses one's interest. I hope to find out more of the Quantum Mechanics behind this. I have an undergraduate degree in Physics, but I studied later in Control Systems, and work in Software Engineering. I only studied Special Relativity, and not recently.

I guess the real question is "What is time?"

Assumption: He does not age when time travelling.

You say that a man travelling back to 1901 is still the same age, but in a different time. If this is true it could follow that a man travelling to tomorrow is the same age as today. But if tomorrow has not happened, how could he travel there? You could only travel to somewhere that exists. If tomorrow exists, then it follows that all time exists, including the end of time (by induction). It follows from this that all if the man can move to different times and do different things, that all events must exist (also by induction).

The only resulting conclusion would be that all time and all events exist right now. Where does the energy come from? All time with all events would require and infinite amount of matter, and energy. That is impossible.

Conclusion: He could not travel without aging.

Assumption: He ages when time travelling.

If he travelled to 2005 and aged 4 years, how could his body get 4 years of food, air and so on to live in time travel? It could not, so he would die.

Conclusion: He could not time travel and age.

Therefore, such travel is impossible unless there is an infinite amount of energy, since both assumptions are all of the assumptions.

Conclusion: For time travel to occur, an infinite amount of enery must exist.
The ability to time travel into the future has already been proven with time dilation... Of course, a space shuttle travelling at tens of thousands of km/hr for a few days only ends up milliseconds behind, so yes, using this method, time travel would be completely impractical - It would require amounts of energy completely beyond our abilities and we could still only accelarate/deaccelarate at a level safe on the human occupants and the ship structure itself, meaning fast travel into distant future is completely out of the question.

But theoretically, it is possible. In other words, *if* we could ever overcome the enormous energy required and the accelaration rate problems, time travel into the future using time dilation would be possible.

As for all events of time happening simultaneously, from the start to end of time, this is and isn't exactly so. All time isn't exactly happening 'now', because that contradicts - 'Now' is the single moment in time we are currently experiencing.

I'm not too sure if all events of time occuring 'parallel' is exactly an accurate term either. Time really does work in a way that is difficult to fathom and grasp by our common thinking, and probably requires us to use our full 100% not 10% of our brain to understand it fully.

The anology of time to a record and our present 'now' being the needle on the record is roughly accurate, in the sense that all music on that record is there already, but we are progressing through it bit at a time.

However, the difference to how time actually works is that the notches on a record do not rely on what lied before or what lies ahead - But with time, our present comes from all the infinite actions of the matter and energy taking place in the past from the 'big bang' , and this present sets the blueprints for what events are to occur.

The events of the universe seem random but that is because all the countless particles and energies are completely beyond our ability to individually measure each particle's journey. This is the true definition of chaos.

It's like if we are watching a film in slow motion from halfway through of a bullet coming from somewhere heading for an apple - We can see that the events of the past that shaped this present is it being fired from a gun. And we can see that the current present state of a bullet heading for an apple will most likely see the apple get hit.

Well for all we know it is perfectly acceptable that the whole vista of time is laid out, and the flow of matter and energy progressing events runs through it.

If this seems hard to grasp, then remember how unbelievably complex we already know the universe to be! Right from the mere billions of atoms that make up our brain, to the entire countless amounts of atoms of the entire planet and all that is on it, to the entire galaxy and all individual planets, to entire galaxy clusters... All the individual particles that make up this immense universe exist right now, simultaneously... If the known universe is this infinitely complex already, then imagine how much more complex things can get - Obviously it doesn't just stop there.

Going by all this, it is obvious we have a very long way to go in understanding our existance, and it is completely acceptable our technology will continue to accelarate in development exponentially (providing nature or ourselves don't cause our extinction first), then one day the ability will be aquired to harness the control of space/time not only to join physical distances apart, but distances in time, in either direction.

Simple things like a round world and flying machines were once considered as ridiculous and impossible as the time travel concept is viewed now...
You wrote:
"As for all events of time happening simultaneously, from the start to end of time, this is and isn't exactly so. All time isn't exactly happening 'now', because that contradicts - 'Now' is the single moment in time we are currently experiencing."

If time is relative for moving observers, then how can there be one time? A man aged 30 in 2001 is 40 in 2011. A second man aged 30 in 2001 who travels at near to light speed and then returns to meet the first man is younger than 40, and yet the year for both of them is 2011 on the second man's return. Therefore, to the second man it appears to be 2002 (say). There cannot therefore be one time, and different observers experience different time based on their frames of reference.

Postulate: The past has already happened, and you cannot change it, if you travel back to a different timeline, you are changing your future and not your past.

Drawbacks: where did the energy come from to create the new timeline? Since an infinite number of possibilities for travel exist, this implies an infinite amount of energy must exist, and also how is the new timeline created?

Postulate: The past has happened but it can revisited and changed.

Drawbacks: The past can be changed, means the future can be infinitely different in a finite time, therefore how can it exist? It could only exist if all futures could exist, needing an infinite amount of energy.
This universe is one example of infinity in practice - That is, there is no limit as such, no 'boundary' where space and time ends. This is a completely mind boggling concept the more you think about it. But let's assume the other possibility, that somewhere out there on the fringes, space and time does come to some end. If this is so then 'something' must lie beyond, of course in this situation not in our space/time!

Either possibility points to infinite amounts of space an/or other existances. We may come to the end of something but there will always be something beyond that, just like a fractal. It's a plain fact that Infinity is possible and is all around us. Maybe there is not 'infinite' energy in this universe alone, but it is almost certain that all the energy summed up in and beyond our universe is infinite.

There is 'one' or limitless time, depending on how you look at it. Just like 'now' for us is 2001 and 'now' for someone in the past is, for example, 1960, just as 'here' for someone may be Chicago, and 'here' for someone else is Cairo. It is all one space/time (in this universe alone anyway) But 'here' and 'now' can be from limitless, i.e infinite points of reference.

Time probably does not naturally break off onto alternate branching flows on its own for every single atom at plank time. It could be the case, but it does seem a bit impractical, doesn't it? Unless, natural phenomena like certain black holes or something else may cause this now and again, maybe not.

Naturally, time flows along a single 'stream', but only when two separate points in space/time time are linked does another flow of time branch off. If it didn't, if it all stayed on one flow, there would be paradoxes galore, ie preventing your own birth directly or by a chaotic chain reaction.

Then again, we must also accept the possibility that there IS only one flow of time. From all we know, infinite flows of time are quite possible, but let's suume it is not. So you travel to the past and inadvertedly prevent your own birth. Instead of the original flow of time flowing along with this new altered flow, the new flow of time simply erases straight over the other flow, but your physical self remains, because you are not actually in that original flow of time, you are 'safe'.

However, even assuming this, the original time flow may continue to carry on indefinitely, it is hard to explain, the only way I can compare it to is how you hear thunder seconds after the lightning. The lightning is gone but the soundwaves of the thunder still carry on and radiate. Again, it depends on your point of reference. Of course keep in mind it is extremely difficult to use completely accurate anologies to explain these things, so don't take the lightning anology too literally...

But, when it comes down to it, concrete scientific studies of this field are obscure and sketchy, there hasn't really been advances enough to put space/time manipulation into practice. Maybe there have been, and even successfully, only they could not return to this timeflow. Who knows?

Maybe this explains why there have been no visitors from the future (not proven anyway). Maybe from our point of view, and our point of view only, the future hasn't happened yet. Although in the whole vista of time, the future is laid out ahead in a sense. But from their point of view, they have tavelled to our 'present', but their arrival causes an alternate flow of time, and that's why we donot see them.

The discussions and points of view on this sort of thing cannot really be proved or disproved yet - It is mostly hypotheses at this stage. My ideas may be right or wrong, yours may be right or wrong, or maybe bits of our hypotheses are both right and wrong.

Based on the knowledge we have, various theories could easily be very right or very wrong. Hopefully future advancements will answer this for us, and hopefully in our lifetimes!

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