Wednesday, March 2, 2011
2050CE Redux: "If You Tear It Down, They Will Not Come"
Regardless, I won't turn this into another political diatribe. Room enough in the future for saying I Told You So. Instead, I was thinking of all fun I had composing the 2050CE essay. All the behind-the-scenes- world building that went into crafting a fabulation. We do it all the time in regular life. Planning. Day dreaming. Entertaining the fictive experience is rewarding in both a mental and emotional sense, but probably in a evolutionary/survival sense as well. Trying out a thought experience with no risk to life or limb does have its advantages. and it has been quite useful, after experimentation and theoretical calculations, running Monte Carlo scenarios (models, now, but not always, on computers) has been very, very fruitful.
Anyway, I had fun building up a world, and a kooky theory, to hang my little speculative scarecrow on. And I do have a kooky theory. That's the nice thing about having a fable, it provides a fictional vehicle to seat your kooky theory in, so that it can be as loony as it wants to be, waving its hand to the crowd like a queen, and no one takes it seriously. Like the Emperor Norton.
Anyway, here's my theory, and it has to do with time, and alternate history, and general relativity, and quantum mechanics, and all of them twisted up nicely together with time travel and add a wormhole twist.
(And the cool thing about this theory is, it contains elements I cannot - or will not - explain, and parts that, by the very fact of being intractable mysteries, make the whole thing internally consistent. And, of course, that's the fun part of fiction. If I tell you everything up front, you won't be entertained, or curious, or terrified. The End.)
So, the thing is, relativity and quantum mechanics so far irreconcilable, and the reason being is we don't quite have a handle on Time. Figure Time out, process or entity or what, and it all falls into place nicely and ready for the next conundrum. So, the figure at the top of the essay. The vertical dimension of time, and the horizontal dimension of space labelled "Hyperplane of the Present" or "The Infinite Elsewhen". Now replace the label of "space" with Chance. In which case it becomes the "Hyperplane of All Possible Presents". With me so far? Okay. Here's the kicker.
There's only the one present. There are no others. In other words, no parallel timelines, no parallel universes. There are, however a whole multitude of futures and pasts. Weird, huh?
There is only the one timeline. Only the one universe to change through time travel, and yet, no changes are allowed. Or at least no changes that allow paradoxes to occur. Is this a paradox?
Some might say, "Oh simple, this is just a variation of the old Godellian closed timelike curves, but with future postselecting them so that no backwards time travelling causes a grandfather paradox or suchlike. Something like the theoretical experiments that Seth Lloyd and his team have played with recently".
Um. No. Whomever it was that said that. No.
Alright then, this is similar to what David Deutsch has proposed. That if you go back in time, you go back to a different past than the one you remember. Like, you can go back and twist the heads off as many dinosaurs as you want and nothing bad happens, right? Um. No. There's only one Now, remember. If you go back into the past, you are in that Now, and there's only one of them. Interesting thing in this scenario is, even though that past is now the Now that is the past you remember (the "real" past) you can twist the heads off all the dinosaurs you want and not change the future. Weird, huh? How do I explain it? I don't.
So, is this a variation of Roger Zelazny's "Amber" series? There's only the one really real universe and all others are shadows? ...maybe. ... kind of. But the difference is, there are no other shadow universes. You can't pull a travel to parallel dimensions in the present routine.
No all the futures influence the one present, just as all the pasts influence the present. They are ghosts tugging at your legs and arms. That's the weird thing. That's the key. That's the fun. All of those awful things I wrote about? All Monte Carlo simulations, but real, but not real.
But, for some reason, in every single alternate history scenario, President Sarah Palin is eventually eaten by her office staff. Funny how things work out, huh?