Tuesday, November 05, 2013

What If This Is The Better Version?

There is a theory which states that if ever anybody discovers exactly what the Universe is for and why it is here, it will instantly disappear and be replaced by something even more bizarre and inexplicable. There is another theory which states that this has already happened. Douglas Adams

I have mentioned before that my two favorite superpowers are invisibility and time travel.  I do worry that if I were granted the latter, I might find barriers beyond which I could not travel, because it was some other time-traveler’s territory. 

That is, we are living in the cleaned-up version of reality already.  Man’s inhumanity to man may have actually been much worse.  It may be that the existence of evil and incompetence and tragedy are not what require explanation, but the existence of good.


james said...

Or you imagine another "time" direction, in which the universe's histories can evolve in a different way--sort of a well-ordered multiverse in which a universe in which you nearly decided to do X yesterday morning precedes and becomes the universe in which you did. Obviously such a family of universal histories is connected at the end and not the beginning.

Sam L. said...

But...how would you know?

james said...

Know that they were connected more closely at the future? I'm using the intuitive measure of closeness in which more events that are the same means the histories are closer. Since changes near the beginning (in ordinary time) can have very far-reaching effects, while changes near the end of time have more limited ones, the histories are closer when the changes are later in "time".

If you could travel from one history to another, you could imagine traveling to the EOT in one history, jumping to a nearby one, and traveling back to more or less where you were before. Most of the time you wouldn't notice a thing, unless the EOT were just a few days away or you traveled a _long_ way.

If you cannot travel from one history to another, you can't tell the difference, and you can't write an interesting sf story about it. So for the purposes of this exercise we assume the existence of a Supertime machine, and just have to figure out how it works. Probably the story would wind up following the lead of Olaf Stapledon's Last and First Men/Star Maker.

Sam L. said...

I tried reading First And Last Men when I was a teenager--couldn't get into it.