Subject: a simple question
Date: Tue, 29 Sep 1998 00:33:27 EDT
From: "chad hadsell"
okay, so when one person creates an infinite loop, what happens to the rest of the people from that person's time? Say someone goes bak in time to kill themself. they succeed, but in doing so, they will no longer exist in the future, so they can't go back and kill themself, so they are alive, so they *can* go back, they succeed, so they can't.... you get the idea, it just keeps looping. But what about the people who are in no way affected by this person's life? There has got to be someone somewhere who is not affected in anyway whatsoever by any of the other person's actions. So does their time loop? why would it? would they suddenly cease to exist along with the one who started it all? That just doesn't make sense. From this isolated person's perspective, time should continue just fine, even while Mr."iwannakillmyself" is stuck in his little loop. Time branches off at this point, and the looping character probably will simply not exist in the new branch. But it is all so mind-bogling. What is your view on this type of thing? I can't believe that ALL time would loop infinitly because of some puny humans' actions.
If I split the atom in Los Alamos, why should anyone else in the area be killed besides me? There must be people in Los Alamos who don't even know I'm about to split an atom, who don't know that I have split it, who wouldn't understand what that means if I told them. But they are still dead--because a nuclear fission reaction of that sort affects an area around it.
People in Indochina and in much of Africa have never made any significant use of Chloroflourocarbons--CFC's, the gasses which have been implicated in destroying the ozone layer. Yet these people are exactly the ones who will suffer most if the ozone layer fails, as their location close to the equator causes them to get more direct sunlight and more UV already. It certainly doesn't seem fair that they should suffer, most not knowing anything about CFC, ozone, UV, or greenhouse gasses--yet if the ozone is destroyed, all life on earth suffers.
The same could be said for other forms of pollution and environmental damage. Countries who don't pollute the atmosphere suffer from the damage done by those who do; those who don't overfish the ocean will be compromised by the lost fisheries as much as those who do. Much of what comprises our reality is shared by many, most, even all of us.
What I am saying is that if someone goes back in time, he affects time itself--and wherever that same time exists, it is changed. Thus anyone within the area of effect of time is affected by that change--and that means everyone in this universe. There is only one temporal dimension in our universe; we share time with each other, and with the rest of the cosmos as we know it. If any one of us damages or destroys time, it is damaged or destroyed for all of us.
It is conceivable that there are other universes which relate to time in different ways, or which have distinct temporal dimensions; in that case, time might not be affected for them, or might not be affected in the same way. For them, time might continue. It might even be possible that there will one day be a way to move from their universe to ours; they might be able to enter our world and repair the damage. But in view of the fact that our discussion of the effects of time travel begs the critical question--how can one travel through time at all?--trying to determine whether someone from a distinct timeline could enter ours and repair it is too theoretical even for me at the moment.
Thanks for the question--it's a good one, and shows you're thinking; and it's forced me to think, which is very important. I'd be glad to tackle another, if you've got one in mind.