Alternate Universes, Dimensions, and Time Travel

Discussion in 'Science & History' started by Chaos, Oct 22, 2009.

  1. Chaos

    Chaos Epic Gamer V.I.P. Lifetime

    I've been meaning to make a post about this for some time, now. Be warned; it may ramble as I'm writing it while my head is spinning with ideas.

    First off, the subject of time travel. There are many supposed methods of travelling (typically backwards) through time, which are apparantly just beyond our level of technology. One of the major ideas use theories of the speed and relativity of light; another stems from that idea, pertaining to (hypothetical) tachyon particles, subatomic molecules which travel backward through time due to faster-than-light speeds.

    Now. There are many theories about time travel and the possibility of such methods. I'm going to referring to two major theories in this thread.

    The Grandfather Paradox

    The Grandfather Paradox is a well known argument as to why time travel could be considered impossible. It implies that if you were to travel backwards in time, you would be able to (hypothetically) kill your own grandfather; the implications of this would mean your own parents would never have been born, thus you would never have been born.

    Now, hypothetically, in time travel, anything you do has technically already been done, because it's in the past. (So even before you've actually gone back in time theoretically you've already been back in time and done whatever it is you're going to do.) Thus, if you killed your own grandfather, you would never have been born, meaning you could never have travelled back in time to kill your own grandfather because you were never born.

    Still with me? Good. So the Grandfather Paradox states that it's a logical impossibility that you could travel backwards in time because the potential to kill your own grandfather would have to exist.

    Which brings me onto the next theory;

    Novikov's Self-Consistency Principle

    This was a theory developed to counter the many paradoxes of time travel.

    Basically, Novikov deducted that anything you do whilst travelling back in time, nothing anyone could ever do would change the course of past. This means that anything you did whilst travelling backwards in time, was meant to happen, that it was part of the past, of history. For instance: in a film where someone goes back in time to say, the dinosaur age, they always say things like "Don't kill anything! Anything you do to change the natural order of things will change the course of history", or another simple idea would be "Don't tread on that bug, it might evolve into your ancestors!"; translated, anything you do to change the course of history might completely change the present (from whence the travellers came).

    Novikovs principle states that because they are there, and anything they do - even simply being there - had to have aready happened, meaning that anything you do has already happened and is meant to happen, since because time is on a line you are repeating something that has already happened and nothing you could do in the past would change the present, because what you did was part of the past.

    Also mind boggling, isn't it? Hopefully you're still with me, though. Here, maybe these diagrams will help:

    The common scientific belief is that time runs on a straight line:


    Novikov's Self-Constistency Principle shows that, if we were to travel back in time, like so -


    - meaning anything we do in that timeline is already part of the timeline, like so -


    [highlight]EDIT:[/highlight] Sorry, I thought this diagram was clearer than it is; if you look on the Timeline bar there's a blue line from the point travelled to, to the Present, indicating that any changes made are part of the timeline.

    So, in essence, Novikov's principle states that because anything you do has already been done, it's meant to happen, it's part of the past. But that conflicts with the Grandfather Paradox, right? Because there are some things that are guaranteed to change the present, the most obvious action being killing your grandfather (or yourself as a baby, etc), thus erasing your existence from the future. So which is correct? Surely only one of them can be right?

    The answer is no. How? The answer is CTC's, or closed timelike curves.


    My understanding of the idea of CTC's is that it is an identical timeline which returns to it's beginning point. This means that the Grandfather Paradox is negated, since any and all actions occur in a timeline which returns to the starting point. This would mean that you are in a seperate timeline to ours.

    One way of looking at this would be like so:


    This diagram shows that an identical timeline is created alongside the base timeline, allowing the the traveller to kill his Grandfather (hypothetically) with no impact on the base timeline.

    This means that potentially, seperate timelines can exist simultaneously. While Novikov's theory does not support the Many World's Theory, it shows that individual timelines can theoretically coexist. Another way of looking at the CTC idea means that theoretically during the process of time travel, one is not travelling backwards along one's own timeline, but is instead placed upon another, seperate timeline, víz á víz, an alternate world or dimension. You see, if that timeline exists to allow the changes with zero impact on the base timeline, could not that timeline exist seperately and independantly? Thus, that timeline becomes more than just another timeline; it becomes an alternate world, an alternate reality/universe, independant of the base timeline.

    Getting a bit too much for you? Think of it like this:


    Consider the idea of time travel wherein one is transported to this sperate timeline. Consider that, instead of travelling backwards along this seperate timeline, one travels directly across to an identical point in time; thus it is no longer time travel, but interdimensional travel. The individual has surpassed the realms of simple time and moved to an entirely different world, a completely different universe. It's no longer an alternate past, it's an alternate present -

    thus opening the potential for a new, alternate future.

    I find the entire idea mind-boggling and completely fascinating. Here, we have the idea of interdimensional, transuniversal travel; call it what you will, the potential is astounding.

    While I understand that this is all based on theories and ideas, but I'm still utterly amazed that such a thing could be possible.


    P.S. Apologies for the poorly drawn diagrams. I made them on the fly, in Paint. :lol:
    Last edited: Oct 22, 2009
    icegoat63 likes this.

  2. icegoat63

    icegoat63 Son of Liberty V.I.P. Lifetime

    I believe any Time Travel hypothesis will be largely derived from that individuals perception of Reality. Things like "Destiny" and "Free Will" for instance. Where one could say no such thing as Free Will truly exists because all of our decisions are made for us already and is part of our destiny.

    This is where I disagree and my perception of time travel would look like this:


    The light blue arc being the Time Traveler and light blue X being destination. The dashed red lines indicate the area in which the Travelers actions truly had an impact.

    The way I feel, all time will flow in a consistent form. So even if something changes, it will still find the same path as the original timeline. However now takes the area arc into a new line as a precursor to the ramifications of the Time Traveler.

    Also I feel the same is relevant to non-time Travelers. That every decision we make today that is critical we had "alternate" routes to take, like this for example:


    The Red line being the basic timeline with no Life altering choices or happenings ever occurring in ones life. All the other spikes being decisions that were made in life and their area of ramification either long or short. And even decisions on decisions that included ramifications there.

    This concept does not ever provide a clean cut "timeline" as every timeline could be different while still remaining the same. A world without me, a world without you, a world without Ghandi, every option that ever existed would have its own timeline.

    The great analogy used in just about all areas of the world is "Did you chose the right path?". Well that concept of chosing paths is what I feel this sort of timeline is all about. Because in the end we all end up in the same place, but how we choose to get there has great or small ramifications for everything.
    Chaos likes this.
  3. Chaos

    Chaos Epic Gamer V.I.P. Lifetime

    So you believe in one of the many world theories, where each decision made that has an impact on the world creates two (or more) new timeline/worlds? (The most common example being that of World War II; in one world (ours), we won and life is as we know it, but in another the Nazi's won and the world is a vastly different place.)

    Do you believe it is relevant only to the major world changing events? Or every single tiny occurance, big or small?

    (Also it should be noted that I love you a little more for that post.)
  4. icegoat63

    icegoat63 Son of Liberty V.I.P. Lifetime

    I believe that every choice we make that has positive reprecussions big or small creates a new timeline.

    Also for instance if you look at my first timeline example with the Traveler.... We could say the Blue X Destination point is the year 1925, the time traveler arrives --> Kills Adolph Hitler, then commences back to his/her respectable time. The area of repercussion would be that of the changes made without an Adolph Hitler. Life as we know it continued after WWII, so this would sort of solidify my thoughts that the timelines will always return to a "standard" plain.
  5. PretzelCorps

    PretzelCorps Registered Member

    Of course, the easiest time travel philosophy to grasp is the idea that it is utterly impossible to go back in time. :lol:

    I believe Novikov's response to the Grandfather paradox would be that you can't kill your grandfather; you'd be free to attempt to do so, but no matter how hard you tried, you'd be foiled every time, because your attempts to do so have technically already happened; it strikes me as a form of determinism.
  6. icegoat63

    icegoat63 Son of Liberty V.I.P. Lifetime

    That just feels weird to me. Like it doesnt make sense.

    The reason I dont feel it makes sense is that even though you've broke the law of time, the laws of the universe still apply to you. Your heart beats your mass takes up space, gravity keeps you from floating away. So In my opinion you should be able to do all the things you would have been able to do in your own timeline.... like Kill another human.

    This is why I agree with the many world theory. Because by going back and killing the grandpa, you've created an alternative thread arc on the time line. And pending someone in Grandpa's loins dont change the world, I'd venture to guess that the Arc wouldnt have a very large Reprecussion zone. As say in comparison to Hitler whom if killed in 1925 would leave a huge rift zone in the 40's. Also I wonder how long the Ramification zone would be to whack Hitler. I mean today we pretty much go about business as usual, So I'd probably venture that around this time is where a Hitler-less history probably wouldnt make that much of a difference..... even though we are leaving the baby boomer generation :hmm:

    I always love toying with the theories on that whole Time Space Continuum
  7. Chaos

    Chaos Epic Gamer V.I.P. Lifetime

    That's the one; I think his Principle requires a pinch of salt when interpreting it, personally, since it also states that it could potentially change the very motive behind you wanting to change the past simply to stop you from changing it. :dunno:

    But yeah. Apparantly because you've already done anything you were going to do, and you were still there, alive, you'd be unable to kill him no matter what you did because it'd already happened and you were still there, you still exist. Pretty confusing shit. It makes for an interesting take on free will, too. :hmm:
    We'd potentially be living in a massively more advanced economical period of society. Just think about the last fifteen years, and the huge technological jumps society has made?

    Simply put, War kills progress. Think of all the lives lost, and now wonder just how many of those would have grown up to be brilliant minds, capable of world-changing thoughts and concepts and ideas. Theoretically, imagine the War had stopped right after it started, and all those lives weren't lost. Our present technological stage would have probably already occurred long ago, meaning we'd probably be a lot further along if it hadn't been for the war. (I say probably, because you never know. :dunno:)
    Last edited: Oct 22, 2009
  8. PretzelCorps

    PretzelCorps Registered Member

    Actually, WWII pulled us out of the Great Depression (America, anyways) and pretty much jump-started the economy of the world --> Not to mention, it brought about many useful innovations such as nuclear power (the energy kind derived from the deadly kind), the jet engine, and a whole slew of electronic inventions. Silly putty was a rejected invention of intelligence agencies to lift foreign newspaper articles. And I think I even remember reading somewhere that the internet was a military innovation of the Cold War.

    Sure, the tragedy is inconceivable, but who really knows what the world would look like if the greatest minds of the 20th century hadn't been united by a common threat (or sense of threat, in the case of the Cold War)? :dunno:
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  9. Chaos

    Chaos Epic Gamer V.I.P. Lifetime

    I wonder what would have happened if neither War had taken place? I think it's safe to say that would be a radically different world to the one we know today. :hmm:
  10. ExpectantlyIronic

    ExpectantlyIronic e̳̳̺͕ͬ̓̑̂ͮͦͣ͒͒h̙ͦ̔͂?̅̂ ̾͗̑

    I like the fatalistic 12 Monkeys time travel, where you can go back in time fine, but nothing will change for it. Not that it seems all that plausible. Incidentally, I had a discussion the other day with my roommate about this stuff. I joked that there is no reason to try and invent a time machine, because if I could, I would have already traveled back in time and given it to myself, to save me the trouble. So he mentioned the paradox there (kinda missing the joke, but either way), and I said all I have to do to avoid it is make everything run in reverse while I'm held in a state of temporal suspension outside the universe.

    Now, to ensure that when physics is run in reverse, nothing gets mucked up for me not being around and reversed, I would have to make a perfect clone of myself, and would then just really be giving my time machine to a clone who was built after I had completed it, thus defeating the point. But y'know, other then that it seems like a pretty good plan.

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