Time Travel

The idea of time travel is connected to the idea of the time being a container.

In my thinking however time is an abstraction and not a container. Properly speaking, what is there are things which change, and our awareness of their changes and our abstracting the specific states of those things as being before and after one another. For example when an object is moving, we can become aware of the movement, and from that movement we can abstract the positions that the object had and that it has now. The thing there is not something which exist as time-slice. We could say that it transcends the change, or so to say – it is the thing that changes, that moves, and so on.

But when things (as changing things, but there is no reason to add this adjective – i.e. changing, as there are no unchanging thing, to be a thing is to be changing, and really any change requires something that changes, some identity which transcends time) are thus seen as more actual than their states which are merely abstractions, the idea of time travel is shown as non-sensible.

Namely if the things are what is actual (or more actual), and time what is abstract, there is no way to go to the past, as the states exists only as abstractions of what is actual, and that they are not actual themselves. What is true are the things, their states are transitory (Of course the things are transitory too, but that is topic for some other post).

The only way something might feel like time-travel is to make things change towards the states they had before, (If that is possible. I’m skeptical that this is metaphysically possible too). Notice that again, this will be normal before/after changes, just that the nature of the changes will be different. Properly speaking this will not be “travel in time” but only affecting how the things change. Of course to have this illusion of “time travel” would also require for the time-traveler to be isolated and for him the changes to continue in same direction.

5 thoughts on “Time Travel

  1. I think you’re basically right, so I hope you get further with such thoughts than I have. The idea of time travel suggests to me that we have temporal freedom of movement, whereas clearly we don’t; and furthermore motion through time seems contradictory to me, as motion is change in some dimension and change clearly requires time (so to speak), so that time travel would seem to require two kinds of time… or not (what also seems contradictory is that although the past happened before the present, the future lies before us as we move into it, but presumably that is just the way we talk about temporal things).

  2. Thanks for the comment Enigman,

    Yeah, it also seems to me that it is inherent in the concept of change, that we can in any change think of the previous state and state to which the thing is changed. So, in such sense, there is no “reverse time”. Of course there can be returning to some state, in the sense something to be in state A1, then state A2, and then state A1 again, but for some “time travel” one would need to change the state of all the universe, while one is normally developing.
    I just had a thought of Superman from the first movie flying around the Earth, and reverting the state of the Earth as it was, and being selective while doing that :)

  3. Hi Peter, thanks for the comment

    I agree with you it is an “absurd belief”.

    I have already posted on my ideas on time in few posts: Time as Abstraction, A Rant on Time and Causality. So, I don’t have much more substantial to add. :)

    But I think there is other interesting issue that can be analyzed in relation to the article that you point to. And that is the metaphysics of the contemporary science, which is usually not seen as a metaphysics at all, but as facts. And how when this metaphysics clashes with the scientific results (theory of relativity, QM), what is sacrificed is not that (bad) metaphysics, but the reason itself!

    Instead of being critical of the assumption of this “invisible” metaphysics, it is said that our reason is product of evolution, and as such it is a trait which is selected because of the advantage it gave us in our environment. So, that means that some things that we think might be product of that, and not really “truths”. So, here is the formula:

    1.Have bad metaphysics
    2.Deny that you have metaphysics. Just speak of the assumptions of that metaphysics as facts.
    3.When the experiments go against those facts blame the reason itself!

    So, to return to the link you provided, I think that those ideas are very normal given that lot of people are under the spell of this formula.

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