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Would it be right to go back and change something?


pafjlh
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This is a question that is always pondered in time travel. Do we have the right to stop a tragic event from happening knowing now what we didn't then. For example would it be right to try to go back and stop the events of September 11, 2001? Would it be right to go back to try to stop Hitler from going into power?

 

These are just some examples of things that were horrendous events on the world. Yet, despite how horrible they were do we have a right to go back to change them? I think things that happen in life no matter how horrible have a reason for happening, they can shape things in a direction they might not have gone in before. Made people see things differently or ban together in a way that they might now have before the tragedy. So, as tempting as it may seem to do so I don't think I would want to try to change such events. It might actually be impossible to do so, some things are just meant to be.

 

 

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I'm of the religious inclination, so I'd say that things do tend to happen for a reason. Of course, there's a little bit of a mind screw that happens there: suppose someone does in fact go back in time and stop some catastrophe from happening. They change history. Suppose God (or whatever equivalent of the divine you believe in) allows that to happen. Was that time travel, and the change it caused, meant to happen for a reason? I would suppose it does. I don't know, perhaps both things were meant for a reason.

 

The problem with going back and stopping things from happening is, you don't know what unseen consequences it has. Something like a terrorist attack or a war might seem like the amount of evil it caused far outweighs any evil that might result from preventing it. But that's the thing it only seems that way. We can't say with any definitive knowledge whether things will turn out for the better.

 

Then there's the issue of things resulting from those bad events that later went on to be very good things. Can the amount of benefit lost by preventing the bad event be justified?

 

 

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You can see lots of those now - Just turn on C-Span or Fox news ;)

 

Personally, I don't think I'd ever want to CHANGE anything. We're the culmination of our experiences, both good and bad. As horrible as some experiences can be, they're necessary to continue to grow as people.

 

 

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I think the "Back From the Future" movies illustrated it best. The changes he made were nowhere near as drastic as what you're talking about and the consequences changed the entire world. Something as little as leaving a sports almanac behind had some very profound consequences. I can only imagine the consequences would multiply exponentially with eh the severity of the changes you made.

 

 

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Changes may just be fulfilling events that have already been recorded as a part of history. Would right or wrong apply to events already accepted as part of history ?

 

If I were religious, a christian, I would go back to when Eve ate the forbidden fruit, just to see that snake talking.

Since the snake is simply a metaphor within an allegory, good luck with that one.

 

 

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This is something I hadn't thought of... I suppose it comes down to whether or not you yourself would recall the events as they "originally" occurred, versus having your memories altered by the actions you take in the past.

 

 

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I personally won't change anything about me or my current circumstance if given the change to go back in time, but out of forgetfulness (I obviously can't relive everything as they happened then), I might accidentally change things a bit. I want to believe that this present is worth fighting for. Perhaps if I could change something, maybe it would be better to go back way before I was born. I'd like to meet my alcoholic maternal grandfather - heaven rest his soul - who was already dead when I came to this earth, give him a proper scolding and perhaps have him sent to rehab so that when I return to the present, my parents, siblings and I might have good memories of him. Other than minor fancies, I really don't have a pressing need to revamp my past to have a different present.

 

 

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First of all, I'll discuss the theories of time travel. There are two theories as to how to change the past. One is the multiverse and the other is causal loops. Multiverse means if you change the past, you'd be changing the history of a different universe, ergo different people's concern. Your problems will not be affected. The Causal loop, however, says that you can change your own history. But it is somewhat absurd because you can make things out of nowhere like a God. Think of it this way. If you learned something from your time travelling self so that in the future you become the time traveller and teach your past self the thing you learned from yourself in the past, this means that you created the information out of nothing. Where did the something that you learned come from? It is completely out of nothing.

 

The conclusion would only be, you can't gain anything from time travel and changing history. And even if you did, that only shows how powerless we are since we are destined to follow a known future.

 

 

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  • 1 month later...

It would be good to change some things if it is known to cause harm in the Future, like in the animie Dragonballz Future trunks coming to the present day and warning about the androids changes things and giving the heart virus medicine as well. For instance, everyone trains and two androids do come but are android 19 and 20, and the 17 and 18 are asleep as well and goku catches the virus when fighting android 19 and is saved by the medicine. When the real ones awake another is there, and he is calm as well and shown not to be evil but has one goal to fight goku and they don't harm the others and have been made stronger and a better personality as the future ones caused harm to innocent people and were evil but did not use the full power when fighting unlike the present day ones who do use their full power when fighting. Another creature appears from a timeline where trunks shuts the androids off and is killed by cell, and he comes to this one to merge with them. So we see changing something can be good, but can bring other consequences and would be hard to change them as well.

 

 

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I would strongly lean towards not attempting to change the past, not matter how tempting it may be, especially the further into the past that we go. I may not personally subscribe to the "everything happens for a reason" mantra, but there's it would be exceedingly difficult to fully grasp the chain of casual events the would be altered from a minor change. Fiction is rife with tales of even the most minor, seemingly inconsequential change to the past can have monumental changes down the line--with further changes in response only exasperating the situation. Moreover, the risk of inadvertently creating a paradox, that could even wipe the time traveler out of existence, is too great. If we were to hypothetically develop time travel, why should only interfere the immediate past (at most a few minutes) and strictly observe the past when any further distant than that. I would not trust our competency tinkering with time beyond that.

 

 

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There is another multiverse-related theory which suggests that going back and making a change actually causes a new universe to branch off. So then you have Timeline A, where you traveled from, and Timeline B, where you're now presumably stuck (unless your ability to time travel also allows you to jump between universes).

 

For the most part, I think without the multiverse, it seems like going back specifically to change something would result in a paradox. If you go back specifically to change or stop an event, then the reason for the trip is no longer there, and so you never time travel, and so the event still happens, and so you go back to change it, and so you have no reason to time travel, and so on and so on. But is this only a result of thinking of time in a linear fashion, as purely cause and effect? There are also theories that time isn't a line so much as a "big ball of wibbly-wobbly, timey-wimey stuff," to steal a quote from Doctor Who. More seriously, I think time and the fourth dimension can be likened to space and the third dimension: everything, every "when", the past and the present and the future, all exist at the same time and while they are certainly connected, they don't follow one from the other in the way we think.

 

In any case, it is difficult to fully understand the rules of the fourth dimension when we are stuck viewing it from a limited, third-dimensional perspective... Which is, I suppose, why we end up with so many variations of time travel in fiction.

 

As far as the moral question the OP brought up...well, I suppose it all depends on whether or not a significant change could be made. I once heard it suggested that time travel may be real and people may have actually gone back already to change history's horrors. The assumption there is usually that they (will have) tried and failed, but what if they (will have) succeeded? What if we're already living the best possible version of history? What if all the wars and famine and terrorism are/were somehow the lesser evils to choose from?

 

That would sure suck, huh? ;)

 

 

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I agree with you OP. I believe things happen for a reason and they are meant to happen to shape our history and our lives. Going back to the past and changing anything could mean more harm than good to us because we are disrupting our history. Who knows, if we go and change the past maybe we won't even be part of the present anymore.

 

 

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I believe that if we were to go and change something the person who went back and changed the events would find themselves on an alternate worldline. So unless the person has something they could personally gain from that situation being changed, it is rather pointless.

 

 

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If it were clear that alterations to the past created a new alternate universe within the broader multiverse rather than wiping the previous continuity out of existence, I would be considerably less anxious about not changing the past (and, indeed, my very existence and even minor interactions constitute changing the past to some degree). However, I would still be very cautious about not creating a paradox by changing my own past, would keep my true origins as a visitor from the future a closely-guarded secret, and would avoid tinkering with major events.

 

 

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I wouldn't strive to change anything that happened in the past. Maybe if I was given the chance to time travel, I wouldn't change anything because first of all, I couldn't really do anything to stop Hitler or stop the terrorist attacks even if I knew the results. Second, I believe our future is already planned out and whatever happens in this world was bound to happen and has a reason, whether good or bad. So yeah I wouldn't try to change anything but I'd still grab the opportunity to time travel just for the sake of witnessing the events. However, if I were to go back to my own past, I'd probably only consider changing how I acted towards people, especially those I have offended. I hate to hold grudges and I hate being held grudges on.

 

 

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I think that trying to change things, or stop certain events from happening, would definitely have certain consequences in the future. And there’s no way of knowing whether the alternate future would be any better. I have mixed feelings about things happening for a reason, but if the butterfly effect is real, even a tiny change could have drastic consequences. So eliminating some of the world’s greatest tragedies and screw-ups, who’s to say that something worse couldn’t end up coming along?

 

 

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I believe in destiny and fate and that if something is supposed to happen it will one way or another. I have seen and experienced it in this life, where you avoid a course of action, but eventually it happens because it is meant to.

 

I don't think you can change things, even if you go back in time and you think you have changed it. Nature has a way of correcting itself and adjusting things back. As for should you? Well, many people would like to, but then it changes the person that you are as those experiences are part of you.

 

 

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