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View Full Version : Would you use a time machine to save the one you love?



Rein
2003-Nov-28, 09:19 PM
Suppose some time ago you lost someone you deeply love due to an accident, which is something that really could be avoided. Now that you have a time machine, would you go back to change the past?

Actually this was the topic that I was talking to some of my friends, and I'm pretty surprised to find that none of them are prepared to use the time machine this way. In fact, they insisted that no one should ever attempt to change the past. Thoughts?

SpaceTrekkie
2003-Nov-28, 09:54 PM
Well thinking about it LOGICALLY now i would ahve to say i would not attempt to alter the past (only 'bad' things would happen) But never have been in the situtation i can not say that i WOULD not. Love can be blinding and screw with ones judgement so i dont really know.

I hope i wouldn't!

(does that make ANY sense?)

Madcat
2003-Nov-28, 10:10 PM
What, you mean if that could ever actually work? Yeah, I would. I suspect most people would too. Does that mean I think it's right? Nope. I know I'd do it though. :)

Andromeda321
2003-Nov-28, 10:26 PM
Emotion would overrule logic. Who cares about upsetting the natural order of the universe when your own personal universe, which is your first priority, is topsy-turvy because someone you love is gone? 8)
Sounds selfish, but that's what it would come down to for most people.

Paul Beardsley
2003-Nov-28, 11:30 PM
If my Loved One was killed in front of witnesses, body turned up in morgue etc, I would not bother going back in time to save her because I would know she had died, and therefore my efforts to save her would at best fail, at worst cause her death in the first place. (See Time Travel Is For Time Travellers thread.)

On the other hand, if she went missing, presumed dead, I would go back, on the grounds that my rescuing her would be consistent with her going missing.

Paul

Ripper 2.0
2003-Nov-28, 11:58 PM
I have a darker question. Would you go back in time to kill someone before they could do something horrible?

Avatar28
2003-Nov-29, 12:15 AM
Me? Yeah, I think I would. Andromeda hit the nail on the head, emotion would overrule logic. Although it would, I think, depend on how far back you're talking about. If you're talking that they died 5 or 10 years ago, then I'd be less likely to because I would, pretty much, be over the worst of the pain. On the other hand, if it happened last week or even last month, then, hell yeah, gimme that time machine.

Witnesses or no, I'd do my damndest to find a way to stop it and a pox on the universe! :-) Besides, you'd probably just split off into an alternate realtiy when you changed it, a la Back to the Future.

Invader Spleen
2003-Nov-29, 07:56 AM
i think regardless off what happened i wouldnt go back in time for any reason other than to observe something that happened, i like to think that i wouldnt be so selfish as to change the timeline for my own personal reasons, having said that in reality i just dont know until im ever given the chance, then ill find out if i would or not.

dgruss23
2003-Nov-29, 12:49 PM
Emotion would overrule logic. Who cares about upsetting the natural order of the universe when your own personal universe, which is your first priority, is topsy-turvy because someone you love is gone? 8)
Sounds selfish, but that's what it would come down to for most people.

Interesting, if it was possible to go back and alter time, then how would we know what the natural order was? How would we know that the events that happened around us weren't being "tinkered" with by others? Some would probably say that they would need to go back in time to fix what others had done.

On the original question - does how long ago it happened make a difference? What if it just happened - in the last hour - or in the last 10 minutes. The consequences of such an event have not had much time to unfold - few other lives have yet been directly effected - nobody has remarried after losing their spouse. No new children have been born from that new marriage. Heck very few even know about it other than the emt's on the scene (if its an accident). Do you do it then? Are you really fixing what is broken if its done quickly?

Ilya
2003-Nov-30, 03:19 AM
"Screw causality!"

-- Professor Hubert Farnsworth, Futurama episode 45 ("Roswell That Ends Well")*, back in time from year 3003 and about to wreck major havoc on Area 51 in year 1947.

*Fry, not to mention Fry's father, would never had existed if Fry did not go back in time and sleep with his grandmother Mildred. Which makes Fry's genes: 1/4 his mom's mom, 1/4 his mom's dad, 1/4 Mildred, and 1/4 Fry.

The Supreme Canuck
2003-Nov-30, 03:23 AM
Could it even work? Current theories state that any possible time travel (and it just may not be possible) would deal with travelling between parallel universes (as predicted in quantum theory). By changing something in a parallel universe, even in one that appears to be your past, and then returning to "your" present, ie "your" universe, only the other universe's present would be changed. I hope that makes sense.

Ripper 2.0
2003-Nov-30, 03:47 AM
Let's put it this way. There is nothing I would not do to protect my daughter. That includes retroactively. The unexpected consequences to thre rest of the world and myself are of little concern.

tuffel999
2003-Nov-30, 04:20 AM
Let's put it this way. There is nothing I would not do to protect my daughter. That includes retroactively. The unexpected consequences to thre rest of the world and myself are of little concern.

Typical overprotective military parents....just kidding. :D



I would probably be in the same fram of mind regarding certain people....others I might like to go back and eliminate.....

The Supreme Canuck
2003-Nov-30, 05:08 AM
What if it made it worse? Would you go back in time again and try to stop yourself? :o

Wow. That would be interesting.

Jpax2003
2003-Nov-30, 07:42 AM
Let's put it this way. There is nothing I would not do to protect my daughter. That includes retroactively. The unexpected consequences to thre rest of the world and myself are of little concern.
risk billions of lives for one... can't balance that equation. what if someone here went back in time to stop you from going back in time. Then we'll have a race back to the beginning to stop someone else from getting there first and undoing their preferred reality.

Some people think aliens have come back to fix some genomic mistake caused by us before we became them...(woohoo). I say let 'em die. Those who want to travel back in time do not appear to have any faith in a supreme being. Obviously if someone is in a better place, why would you want to go back and drag them back into this reality? Time travelers are selfish and I shall stop them whenever I can.

Time travel seems to usurp free will which is as ungodly as it comes. There is no redemption if you avoid repentance by undoing your crimes. Maybe someone should go back in time and abduct Christ from Gethsemane so that he doesn't die on the cross ...hmmm, that sounds like a good short story plot!

ZaphodBeeblebrox
2003-Nov-30, 09:27 AM
Time travel seems to usurp free will which is as ungodly as it comes. There is no redemption if you avoid repentance by undoing your crimes. Maybe someone should go back in time and abduct Christ from Gethsemane so that he doesn't die on the cross ...hmmm, that sounds like a good short story plot!

Already tried it, turns out he didn't want to go, kept spouting off ideas about Martyrdom, Destiny, taking one for the Team, and above all, not disappointing Dear Ol' Dad, I swear, those Suicide Bombers make better sense, at least they take other people with 'em, even if they are Innocent Men, Women, and CHILDREN!

Of course, writing any Story the Characters always seem to take on a Life of Their Own, especially when we're talking about a Science Fiction, Time-Travel, Plot where any journey through Space-Time is Possible, so long as it doesn't disrupt The Timeline.

Colt
2003-Nov-30, 01:00 PM
"Would you use a time machine to save the one you love?"


In a heartbeat. Afterall, love is illogical. :) -Colt

dgruss23
2003-Nov-30, 02:11 PM
risk billions of lives for one... can't balance that equation. what if someone here went back in time to stop you from going back in time. Then we'll have a race back to the beginning to stop someone else from getting there first and undoing their preferred reality.

Well let me ask again - would it make a difference to anybody if it was only back in time 10 minutes to try to stop an accident that just happened. There haven't been any spiral off consequences to that death if its only happened 10 minutes ago. So hop in the time machine and go fix it.

How about this: if time travel were possible then couldn't an evil or insane person go back and find a way to set off a full scale nuclear war. Pick the right moment of tension between USSR and USA and it wouldn't take much. Knowing that there are evil people out there that don't care about life and would love to do that sort of thing, can't we conclude that if time travel we're possible, that somebody at some point in the future would find a way to do that. If that happened then we wouldn't be here discussing all this. After all, how could you go back in time and fix something that destroys your future. So doesn't the fact that we're here demonstrate that time travel will never be possible?

The Supreme Canuck
2003-Nov-30, 05:56 PM
Or that changing the past has no consequences for the present or future.

Earthbound
2003-Nov-30, 10:38 PM
Well let me ask again - would it make a difference to anybody if it was only back in time 10 minutes to try to stop an accident that just happened. There haven't been any spiral off consequences to that death if its only happened 10 minutes ago. So hop in the time machine and go fix it.

It might have an impact if that person goes on to do something that helps/hurts a situation. Or that person were to have decendents that invent something that saves the world or destroys it. If you save that person you may upset what was/wasn't to be. You have to look beyond the immediate when meddling in time. Just because the person you save doesn't seem to matter, their actions later might (including procreation).

dgruss23
2003-Dec-01, 12:15 AM
Well let me ask again - would it make a difference to anybody if it was only back in time 10 minutes to try to stop an accident that just happened. There haven't been any spiral off consequences to that death if its only happened 10 minutes ago. So hop in the time machine and go fix it.

It might have an impact if that person goes on to do something that helps/hurts a situation. Or that person were to have decendents that invent something that saves the world or destroys it. If you save that person you may upset what was/wasn't to be. You have to look beyond the immediate when meddling in time. Just because the person you save doesn't seem to matter, their actions later might (including procreation).

That is true, but the difference is that if you decide to go back and change something that happened 1 year ago or 10 years ago, then you're messing with events that have already happened - perhaps lives that have been born since the loved one died and so on. If you could go back in time only 10 minutes after something happened, then you're only overtly changing whatever happened in that last 10 minutes. Certainly things will be different based upon whether or not that person lives or dies, but if you were to reverse a death very quickly, you're only undoing a brief amount of "known" history. So I'm just wondering if that would make a difference to people as to whether or not the loved one should be saved.

gethen
2003-Dec-01, 12:26 AM
Maybe someone should go back in time and abduct Christ from Gethsemane so that he doesn't die on the cross ...hmmm, that sounds like a good short story plot!
I think it's already been done, (http://www.strangewords.com/archive/behold.html) more or less.

Humphrey
2003-Dec-01, 02:08 AM
Yes i would go back. But only od days when i am really in love with her. :-) I don't have kids yet, so i can't say about that.

DG: Interesting idea about time travel. But what if we do not see time travel because it is limited. Say the new physics limits time travel to a certain amount of time or event in history. Like in 29 years a supermassive sun creates a black hols and somehow this creates a availability to travel backwords in time back to this point. So You can enter the wormhole at any time but will always exit at that exact same point in time.

That make any sense?

dgruss23
2003-Dec-01, 02:40 AM
Humphrey, so you're saying that another option would be if you had a "time travel wormhole" that allowed you to enter at any point in time but always ended back at the same point in time. Sounds like the type of thing that would allow time travel but not allow you to dial up the time of your choosing. Yeah, that would make it harder to mess with history.

There's probably a nice science fiction story in that - something about sending criminals back through this wormhole.

I wouldn't say that my conclusion above is rigorous in any way. Its more of a hypothetical. You could argue that if it was that easy to set off a nuclear war, that someone could've figured it out already without the time travel. But still you might think that as technology progresses, at some point in the future it would become possible for an individual or small group to pull off something of that scale. Certainly if time travel was readily accessible to people in the future you would think somebody would figure out a way to mess with it for evil purposes.

Humphrey
2003-Dec-01, 03:09 AM
True, i would agree with you there about future criminals getting the technology for their own uses.


------------------------------

About my idea: i got it from the new timeline movie (didnt see it, but the trailers).

Earthbound
2003-Dec-01, 06:59 AM
Yes i would go back. But only od days when i am really in love with her. :-) I don't have kids yet, so i can't say about that.

DG: Interesting idea about time travel. But what if we do not see time travel because it is limited. Say the new physics limits time travel to a certain amount of time or event in history. Like in 29 years a supermassive sun creates a black hols and somehow this creates a availability to travel backwords in time back to this point. So You can enter the wormhole at any time but will always exit at that exact same point in time.

That make any sense?

Sounds a bit like quantum leap.

mike alexander
2003-Dec-01, 10:15 PM
I find it interesting that this thread reinforces a suspicion of mine that human intelligence grew out of emotion, not logic. Minsky and the AI people have it all wrong.

dgruss23
2003-Dec-01, 11:41 PM
I find it interesting that this thread reinforces a suspicion of mine that human intelligence grew out of emotion, not logic. Minsky and the AI people have it all wrong.

Interesting. Could it be that intelligence only came about when humans learned to control emotions (if only for periods of time) and thus free themselves to use logic?

What's the logical choice in this thread? Couldn't it be argued that using a time machine to save a life (if done in a short 10 minutes after a death) is just a more advanced version of the various forms of medical procedures and preventative medicine doctors engage in all the time? True doctors don't very often save people that have "died", but if they had the ability to do that by means other than a time machine - wouldn't they?

It was pointed out before that if we go back in time we're messing with destiny - it was that person's time to go and the course of events in many people's lives will be affected by whether that person lives or dies. But that's what doctors do with medicine all the time. People are cured that would surely have died from cancer or whatever without treatment. We could argue that by saving lives with medicine the course of events and destiny of lives is changed ... and it is.

I suspect if we ever develop time travel capability that the moral dilemma will be extremely controversial.

Jpax2003
2003-Dec-02, 04:14 AM
There's the old saw about being a little bit pregnant... What is, is. Whatever will be, will be. Going back in time centures, hours, minutes or even nanoseconds is equivalent. Whether it is moral or not is a different argument, but a violation of the paradigm is a violation, no matter how small.

Now, what if we develop the several thousands or even millions of years in the future, in that time, we have a genetic pandemic. We realize it was caused by an even from 2000 timeframe. Would you support going back in time to change the even so that the genomic mistake did not occur?

Think of the times you may have suffered an injury, mental or physical, only to learn a valuable lesson afterwards. Would you want to go back and live life without that experience and without gaining that wisdom?

Is ignorance really bliss? Does knowledge of truth really set you free or just allow you to see the bars of your prison more clearly?

Paul Beardsley
2003-Dec-02, 10:46 PM
What's the logical choice in this thread? Couldn't it be argued that using a time machine to save a life (if done in a short 10 minutes after a death) is just a more advanced version of the various forms of medical procedures and preventative medicine doctors engage in all the time? True doctors don't very often save people that have "died", but if they had the ability to do that by means other than a time machine - wouldn't they?

It was pointed out before that if we go back in time we're messing with destiny - it was that person's time to go and the course of events in many people's lives will be affected by whether that person lives or dies. But that's what doctors do with medicine all the time. People are cured that would surely have died from cancer or whatever without treatment. We could argue that by saving lives with medicine the course of events and destiny of lives is changed ... and it is.

The thing about altering destiny is that paradoxes arise, and logical loose ends. Doctors save lives, but they don't do so with such effectiveness that the person was never ill in the first place.

If you go back in time to avert the death of a loved one, and you succeeded, then your loved one never died. So what motivated you to go back in the first place?

This is one of many variations of the Grandfather Paradox. Some people regard it as proof that you can't travel back in time. I believe it merely means you can't alter the original course of history.

However, if the question is purely a moral one - "Would you go back in time to save a loved one if it didn't result in that tedious paradox business?" I would say, "Yes! Why not?"

The stuff about intellect arising from emotion is interesting (and credible) too.

dgruss23
2003-Dec-02, 11:39 PM
Paul Beardsley wrote: The thing about altering destiny is that paradoxes arise, and logical loose ends. Doctors save lives, but they don't do so with such effectiveness that the person was never ill in the first place.

If you go back in time to avert the death of a loved one, and you succeeded, then your loved one never died. So what motivated you to go back in the first place?

Is this really a paradox? If you could go back and stop the death of a loved one then that death never happened and in the alternate future there is no reason for you to go back in time.

What I would consider a true time paradox would be if you had to go back in time to make sure something happened that allowed you of the future to exist. That's a paradox because it requires that you go back in time to make sure that you're around to go back in time.

tuffel999
2003-Dec-03, 02:53 AM
What I would consider a true time paradox would be if you had to go back in time to make sure something happened that allowed you of the future to exist. That's a paradox because it requires that you go back in time to make sure that you're around to go back in time.

That wouldn't be a paradox because it couldn't happen. Since you didn't exist in the future in the first place to go back intime to make yourself exist you would never exist in the future or past. You simply weren't.

Invader Spleen
2003-Dec-03, 03:13 AM
or you could just tell your past self that he has to go back in time to do the task, if he says it never happened you tell him its because he went back and did it, also tell him that he has to tell his past self the same thing and so on


<typos>

dgruss23
2003-Dec-03, 03:22 AM
What I would consider a true time paradox would be if you had to go back in time to make sure something happened that allowed you of the future to exist. That's a paradox because it requires that you go back in time to make sure that you're around to go back in time.

That wouldn't be a paradox because it couldn't happen. Since you didn't exist in the future in the first place to go back intime to make yourself exist you would never exist in the future or past. You simply weren't.

No, it can't happen, and that's exactly why if it did happen it would be a paradox. It seems to me I've seen episodes of science fiction based upon that premise, but I'm too tired at the moment to remember where.

tuffel999
2003-Dec-03, 04:39 AM
It seems a paradox would be if you went back in time and somehow stopped yourself from being. Then you would stop being in the future. IF you stop being in the future how did you go back to the past to stop yourself from being? Paradox.

Matt Butts
2003-Dec-03, 05:16 PM
All this talk about "would you travel back in time to change the past" brings up a very interesting question... what if this has already happened? We wouldn't realize it, would we? We wouldn't "remember" what history "was" before it was changed.

Example: Maybe someone (or a decendant of someone) on the Titanic went on to become a tyrannical despot worse than Hitler, so somebody travelled back in time, sank the Titanic, and thus erased that history after 4/12/1912. Of course, we know the Titanic sank when it hit an iceberg in 1912...

Or did it...?

If you think about this long enough, you can really give yourself a headache.

dgruss23
2003-Dec-03, 06:08 PM
Interesting thought Matt Butts. Its kind of what I was getting at earlier. Lets say that people will be around for millions of years. We don't destroy ourselves and no disease gets us.

But throw time travel into the mix. If it was possible to travel back to any point in time doesn't it seem probable that at some point a psychopath with the means to destroy civilization with some high tech weapon or disease would think it fun to go back in time and wipe out history (obiously including him/herself). Given millions of years you would think that such a person with the means and the mindset might come along. The fact that we haven't been wiped out by such an event makes it somewhat unlikely that such an event (timetravel) is possible.

But again that's pretty speculative. Thoughts anyone?

Matt Butts
2003-Dec-04, 03:27 PM
Anyway, to heck with saving lives or preserving the future... All I want to do is go back in time 24 hours after memorizing last night's winning lottery numbers. :D

dgruss23
2003-Dec-04, 03:56 PM
Anyway, to heck with saving lives or preserving the future... All I want to do is go back in time 24 hours after memorizing last night's winning lottery numbers. :D

Hmmm ... the definitive proof that time travel isn't possible?

Either that or everybody in the future is a millionaire!

:D

Ripper 2.0
2003-Dec-04, 07:45 PM
So would Glom go back in time to keep Dr. Ishiwara from going to school to become an optometrist?

Eirik
2003-Dec-04, 10:57 PM
There would seem to be a lot of ways to take care of changing the past without even traveling to it, depending on what you're intending to do or what you're able to do by "remote".

For example, you hear of people that seem to snap without provocation and go on a killing spree. What if that's the result of some future tech from a villian trying to take out the ancestors of his enemies? Or even a future government trying to prevent a disaster by taking out select people at a specific company... (somehow, that reminds me of Cyberdine.)

Or even the concept that was in the book "Millenium", in which a future world in which humans are dieing out go back in time to large, no-survivor, airline crashes and remove the people, replacing them with faked bodies?

Or, as someone else noted, seems like a good way to take out inconvienent people. Cause their ship to sink, their plane to crash, or their brakes to fail....

Madcat
2003-Dec-05, 04:46 AM
Well guys, this just became rather personal to me... and yeah, I'd do it. The hell with causality. I'd destroy the whole damn world if it would change a thing. Not that it would. :cry:

OscartheGrouch
2003-Dec-05, 09:27 PM
There's no point in going back to save your sweetie. She'll just keep getting killed again and again just as soon as your back is turned. Didn't you see the movie? :( :D

mike alexander
2003-Dec-05, 10:54 PM
You can check out Michael Moorcock's Behold the Man.

Poul Anderson's book There Will be Time attacks the problem by pointing out the sheer complexity of the Universe as a solution to the paradoxes of time travel.