8FOLD/META: About the Author # 1: Tom Russell

martinphipps2 at yahoo.com martinphipps2 at yahoo.com
Fri Apr 22 23:01:55 PDT 2005

martinphip... at yahoo.com wrote:

> The time travel paradox might not be science fiction
> anymore: it may one day be possible to send messages back in
> time.  The catch is that the laws of physics might prevent
> you from doing anything about it: if you learn that your
> mother will die next year in the Alpha Century
> system, for example, and still not be able to warn her in
> time.

That reminds me.  John Lennon received a letter from a psychic telling
him he was going to get shot.  He laughed it off.  Now suppose the
psychic had been real and he had, in fact, seen John Lennon get shot.
Had John lennon taken the psychic's advice seriously and changed his
routine then maybe he wouldn't have gotten killed.  This would be a
severe causality violation: what would the psychic have seen if John
Lennon had not actually gone on to get killed?  An alternate future?
Then we would have to literally believe in the existance of alternate
realities.  The alternative is to say that we don't really have free
will, that John Lennon had no choice but to laugh off the psychic's
advice, ironically, because he WAS going to get shot and taking the
psychic's advice might have changed that.

Nothing in physics will prevent you from receiving a message from the
future.  Everything in physics will prevent you from doing anything
about it.  Or perhaps the act of receiving the message itself is part
of a causal loop.  What would happen if you got a message saying that
you would commit suicide this year?  I imagine you'd become very
depressed.  If you could receive a message from the future telling you
that your mother was going to die in Alpha Century then maybe you can
also send that same message back in time to her, but the laws of
physics gaurantee that you couldn't do anything about it.

In a way, we aren't that different from fictional characters: we only
think we control our own destiny whereas, in a sense, our destiny is
already "written" for us.


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