How can a future that is yet unwritten somehow exist? Is the present that we inhabit merely a train traveling along the tracks of time that we can, with sufficient ingenuity, ride either forward or backward to another epoch? And if so, doesn’t that kind of render all of our actions, decisions and struggles in the present rather meaningless?
The concept of time travel is preposterous on a level that is seldom considered. The Earth is moving. So is the Sun. So is the Milky Way. So is the local galaxy grouping that contains it. So, if you wanted to travel to the past, you would not only have to circumvent the positive flow of time, you would have to somehow find ‘old Earth’ without having a clue as to its previous absolute velocity. We’re traveling on this planet at about 16,000 miles an hour, just based on the velocity of the Sun and our orbital velocity. We’re traveling in a corkscrew, a helical pattern around that sun that is also traveling in a helical pattern around a galaxy that has some velocity within the galaxy cluster that we’ll never be able to comprehend in a universe that has a breadth of somewhere around 22 BILLION light years. We can’t even be sure of the actual velocity with regard to ‘static’ space, much less calculate the directional vector at any point in time, so it would certainly be pretty hard to locate a small planet in the past cosmos once you’ve made the time jump, because with time comes motion, and motion over time crates distance, and the past is figuratively and quite literally, a long way away.
And while thoughts of building time machines do not pervade the efforts of the present scientists, the prevalence of stories of this type do reveal a deep seated characteristic of the human consciousness:
We still think that we’re at the center of a static universe.
How else can you explain that, in all cases, the mythical time traveler just remains stationary, while time is whooshed around him and he ends up on his own Earth, in the same spot, some increment in time distant. And while these thoughts are not evil or destructive as many belief systems can be, it is a crystalline example of how our geometry has created a ‘wrong headedness’ with regard to our place and standing in the universe, on so many levels. By considering time to be an independent variable, as nearly everyone does, we think that we can move through it, forward or backward, without changing our relative position to the physical world.
Of course we can’t.
Neither can we move in any of the physical dimensions without time.