Time Travel: An overly-popular myth? – Yash Gokhale

One of the most fascinating concepts in the entire canvas of topics, be it pertaining to art or science, is ‘Time Travel’. The concept of time travel is of great fascination to each and everyone who follow fiction closely. The concept of time travel was first publicly popularized by H.G.Wells at the end of the 19th Century in the most famous work of his career, ‘The Time Machine’. Since then, there have been a plethora of examples of time travel being used in fiction, most notable being that in the 1985 blockbuster, ‘Back to the future’. James Cameron, the star director in Hollywood, made optimum use of the concept of time travel in his 1984 classic, ‘The Terminator’ which involves a cyborg being sent back in time to find and kill a woman, Sarah Connor, thereby terminating the existence of her future born son, John Connor. Making a movie on time travel is not easy, for many aspects are needed to be considered. Time travel has then been used numerous times in Hollywood with movies such as ‘Looper (2012)’, ‘The Butterfly Effect (2004)’ and ‘X: Men Days of Future Past (2014)’ amongst others. Well, it is better to keep fiction aside and talk on a practical and punctual level. Is time travel really possible?

The answer, according to me, is a huge ‘NO’. On paper, theoretically, yes, it could be. But, in reality, on a pragmatic scale, it is implausible. To support the same, I would take a step by step approach. The first step would be to find a way in which the device which would enable us to travel through time would be procured. The earth is three dimensional that is with the latitude, longitude and the altitude. For simplicity, let us imagine a sponge. The sponge has three dimensions, the length, the height and its breadth. The sponge is kept plainly on the kitchen table. After a while, a five year old boy decides to play with it. He sees a knife besides it and decides to cut the sponge. He cuts the sponge along the height, rendering two parts of the earlier sponge. He then decides to cut one of the two pieces horizontally along the length. Now he is left with three pieces of the earlier unified sponge. Minutes later, his mother observes him doing so and scolds him. While scolding him, she says, “You are a child, Max. You are not supposed to play with knives. And why did you cut the once useful sponge?” The child starts crying and the mother then tries to console him by saying, “Max, listen to me carefully. I am not angry with you for cutting the sponge. We will buy a new one. I want you to learn a lesson from this. The lesson is you can make thousands of attempts of improving a wrongdoing over time, but the important thing is , whatever you do, you cannot make up for the lost time.” The child stops crying and hugs his mother. The mother is happy, that the child has learnt something useful, the useful thing is, you can amend things but you cannot amend time. Time once lost is lost forever.

The point of me, narrating this short incident is to stress upon the fact that we have been taught since childhood, through experiences and stories that ‘Time and Tide wait for no one.’ This phrase can well be proved incorrect in future if the passionate researches and scientists devise a method to alter the course of time, that is introduce a fourth dimension. Alter the course of the earth in a way, that along with the length, breadth and height, one can also alter time. Now, let us boldly assume that, in the next one hundred years, the scientists conceive a ‘Time Machine’. The next thing they decide is to travel back in time, exactly hundred years back. If this would have been really possible, there would have been some instance, somewhere in the books of history of an individual having anachronistic characteristics. Anyone who is strange or doesn’t fit in a particular setting is easily observed. An individual from future, however seasoned he might be, would be baffled at the strange and old setting of the time period he has sent himself in. As there has never been a single notable incident so far in the history of time, of an individual coming to the past from the future, it is thus hard to say, with confidence that in future, there is someone who is going to do so.

A second possibility is that of a time machine being in use thousands of years back, but over the course of time, the science behind the same withered away. This logic can be refuted in a similar manner that if there was someone who had access to a time machine thousands of years back, there is no notable evidence of someone travelling from the past into the future. The world works on concrete proofs and evidences and so far, regarding the existence of time travel, there have been none.

Notwithstanding all these problems, let us consider that time travel is possible about five hundred years down the line and it is available to the common public. Won’t it be highly like that there are people swinging over all around the timeline, and at some point, they might intersect with the year 2017?  If they do so, someone in the world today is likely to meet someone who has come from the near future. The question might arise, that in future, even if the technology of a ‘Time machine’ is invented, why would it be available to the common public? The answer to this is in fact, the urge of every human to evolve. Some years before the introduction of navigation to the public, the same was available to a selected and privileged few. The future is unending, and so is technology. Time machine is one such concept which might take millenniums to ensure its procurement.

And the day the time machine arrives on the earth would be the day the world will move towards destruction. Introduction of a time machine would flag off an unending show of power and superiority. All of the powerful factions of the society would fight for suppressing the other and emerging victorious. A time machine could know no bounds, and this might also help us know how time originated. But, it is best that some mysteries are left unsolved and left for open interpretation. So, ideally, if a time machine does exist some day, it would then be possible to loiter around the entire timeline, moving from the Presidential Inauguration Ceremony of Donald Trump to the birth of Jesus Christ to the Big Bang on one side; and from the first manned mission to Pluto to the destruction of time on the other.

All of this seems highly improbable. A concept of time travel is a good thing to brainstorm, but not worthy of working tirelessly to bring it into existence, for that is almost certainly next to impossible. So, I think with the five minutes you have spent on reading this article and the two hours which I spent on writing this, I might have convinced you the how unlikely a time machine is. If I failed to convince you, my sincere apologies and I suggest you to wait for a few years for a time machine to be made and then travel back in time to regain those precious five minutes that you have lost.

Thank you.

– Yash Gokhale

Pic Credits – Yash Gokhale


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