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Memories of the 28th Century

Realities of Quantum Theory: Free Will and Time Travel

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Possible impacts of physical proof that there are Many Worlds on the argument whether humans have free will and on time travel.

It has been known for a very long time that all events are governed by causality, the endless chain of cause and effect. This endless chain is widely regarded as determining everything, eliminating the possibility of free will in human activities. How can we truly have free will if everything is caused by causes that canít even been seen because they occurred far in the past? However that reasoning assumed that everything that existed was in this space-time, except for Heaven and Hell, maybe. Although there has been debates about free will for a long time; the answer has been determined by causality. But I recently learned that solid, physical evidence showing the accuracy of the Many Worlds Interpretation of Quantum Theory was created in a laboratory experiment. A small piece of metal was seen to be in two states at the same time, which indicated that the wave function of the particles did not resolve into a single state, as the Copenhagen Interpretation predicted, and the piece of metal was large enough to be visible with the naked eye.

This may seem irrelevant or insignificant to the discussion of free will, but it tells us that causality was causing more than one thing at a time, at least in some situations. It has been theorized that the alternative that did not end up in this space-time ended up in a different one, and that there are many and maybe infinitely many space-times. We canít tell where the other options are, but that idea is the best one available. Those other space-times are also places where the other side of any number of decisions could actually have happened.

I will confess that I was a fence sitter on free will until a few months ago, when the causality argument convinced me that we have no real choices. The choices were decided at the time of the Big Bang, because there simply was no other way that things could have happened. My personality is such that I would have preferred to have the ability to make real choices, but I could not see any way around the matter, until I learned that there really are other space-times.

Writers have been playing with the idea of multiverses for several decades, so the concept is not foreign, but it is convenient, and it leads me to think that some of the more unlikely possibilities actually do exist. Some of the ideas that have been dreamed up may also have physical existence, but there is no way to access those other realities. The piece of metal that was seen having two states was separated from this space-time as much as possible (vacuum and extremely low temperature). For fiction I was thinking of ways to isolate a time machine from the rest of this space-time, and the best that I could think of was a using a vacuum metalizer (essentially a large thermos bottle). Then something would have to be done complete the insulation.

I canít think of any other way to get out of this space-time, and that method might leave the travelers in a hyper-space, between space-times. I have not yet thought of a reliable way to propel that kind of time machine, but having the insulation incomplete might do something, and changing some of the physical constants for the thing might also do something. Itís worth trying both methods. If you can think of any possible methods of propulsion, then please let me know.

Then there was the syllogismobile that Harold Shea used. Maybe that would work.

Updated 08-02-2013 at 09:59 AM by PeterL

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  1. free's Avatar
    Good idea for the time machine, although I don't quite understand it.
    But I've thought about the novel by Philip Dick, "The Man in the High Castle" in which the idea of many worlds is used. I now wonder why didn't the author use the idea of the world in which Hitler became a famous artist, and not a famous politician, to satisfy his wild ambitions of being famous. What I wanted to say is, why did the author, among so many possibilities, choose the worst one, hmmm...?
  2. PeterL's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by free
    Good idea for the time machine, although I don't quite understand it.
    Two things would be required for this kind of time machine: getting out of the space-time and travelling to another space-time and entering that. My idea here would simply get one out of this Space-time.

    But I've thought about the novel by Philip Dick, "The Man in the High Castle" in which the idea of many worlds is used. I now wonder why didn't the author use the idea of the world in which Hitler became a famous artist, and not a famous politician, to satisfy his wild ambitions of being famous. What I wanted to say is, why did the author, among so many possibilities, choose the worst one, hmmm...?
    I don't remember that; although I am sure that I read it; but I believe that time travel was just a plot device to do something within the main plot. So why don't you write the one about Hitler becoming a famous artist?
  3. free's Avatar
    It doesn't attract me much. But I have the idea of writing the third (or would it be the fourth?) part of Gonne with the Wind.
  4. PeterL's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by free
    It doesn't attract me much. But I have the idea of writing the third (or would it be the fourth?) part of Gonne with the Wind.
    That would be easier if your time machine were running; you could do some research on-site.
  5. free's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by PeterL
    That would be easier if your time machine were running; you could do some research on-site.


    Which direction would you choose - past or future?
  6. PeterL's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by free


    Which direction would you choose - past or future?
    I will travel into the past and into the futre. There are advantages to both, but the future will be a completely ne adventure. There's only one way to find out what will happen. But there are mysteries of the past that I would love to clear up.
  7. free's Avatar


    We live in the world with so many mysteries of the past time. So confusing, isn't it? I understand your curiosity about it.

    Would you like to change something or just witness it?
  8. PeterL's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by free


    We live in the world with so many mysteries of the past time. So confusing, isn't it? I understand your curiosity about it.

    Would you like to change something or just witness it?
    If I changed anything, it would result in a new branch; nothing would change in this spaace-time. I might change something, but it wouldn't be my intention.
  9. free's Avatar
    I've read a book with this subject of time travel into the past, I don't remember its name, the author chose the variant of time travellers as observers, only. All they could do was to induce the feeling of someone's presence in the people from the past who they observed. And, of course, the people thought it was the presence of their gods.
  10. PeterL's Avatar
    If you find the idea interesting, then read Lest Darkness Fall by L. Sprague de Camp. That is probably the best novel regarding travel into the past, and it agrees with what I put forth above, and it is a great read.
  11. free's Avatar
    Thanks, PeterL, for the recommendation. I love time travel novels. Apart from love stories, they are my favourite ones.
    Updated 07-25-2013 at 02:40 AM by free
  12. PeterL's Avatar
    You are more than welcome. Have you ever read H. Beam Piper's Paratime series?
  13. free's Avatar
    No, I haven't. What is it about?
  14. PeterL's Avatar
    The ordinary time travel through parallel space-time. The stories are good.
    http://www.amazon.com/Complete-Parat...Piper+paratime
  15. free's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by PeterL
    The ordinary time travel through parallel space-time. The stories are good.
    http://www.amazon.com/Complete-Parat...Piper+paratime
    Thanks. I will read it.

    What I don't like about time travel stories is the fact that they mostly talk about crimes, thieves, murderers, policemen... etc. If it was possible to time travel I would like it to see the nature of the past. There is a sentence from one of them which says how timetravellers to middle ages (16th or 17th century) were delighted with the silence and freshness of the air. I happened to see a picture of a certain place in nature taken some 100 years ago and knowing how it looked today, I was surprised how much the nature changed.
  16. PeterL's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by free
    Thanks. I will read it.

    What I don't like about time travel stories is the fact that they mostly talk about crimes, thieves, murderers, policemen... etc. If it was possible to time travel I would like it to see the nature of the past. There is a sentence from one of them which says how timetravellers to middle ages (16th or 17th century) were delighted with the silence and freshness of the air. I happened to see a picture of a certain place in nature taken some 100 years ago and knowing how it looked today, I was surprised how much the nature changed.
    I know exactly what you mean, and I feel mostly the same; although the best time travel stories that I have read were about matters of state more than crime, but the best parts are about a modern person putting up with the way that things were thousands of years ago. While I don't like his attitude toward time travel, Poul Anderson wrote a few time travel novels that centered on the people involved, The Dancer from Atlantis and The Sadness of Odin the Goth. The Dancer from Atlantis is beautiful.
    Updated 01-09-2014 at 04:19 PM by PeterL
  17. free's Avatar
    What is the most interesting for me in this kind of novels is the ways authors choose to perform time travel. There is the Wells' time machine, then a natural talent as in 'The Time traveler's wife', there is the induction of psychological time travel by using power of traveler's mind, then particular places on Earth from where one can go into the past like Gabaldon's, spontenious transportation after some specific experience with no will of the traveler involved to go there.... Do you know some more?
  18. PeterL's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by free
    What is the most interesting for me in this kind of novels is the ways authors choose to perform time travel. There is the Wells' time machine, then a natural talent as in 'The Time traveler's wife', there is the induction of psychological time travel by using power of traveler's mind, then particular places on Earth from where one can go into the past like Gabaldon's, spontenious transportation after some specific experience with no will of the traveler involved to go there.... Do you know some more?
    There are many more, and most are spaceship like things, as in the Paratime series of Mr Piper, and there are the timecycles that Poul Anderson dreamed up. Most of the time travel stories that I have encountered have the travellers using something that has a shell, controls, and some sort of unspecified time engine. Harold Shea's syllogisimobile was unique.