Saturday, May 07, 2005

A Timely Invitation

Today is the date of the Time Traveler Convention taking place place at MIT. It's a rainy day in the Northeast, so this may discourage any future folks planning their weekend visits to the early 21st century. Still, the convention planners say that if time travelers don't show up in force there are only a few possible explanations. Either (A.) time travel is impossible, or (B.) Earthlings never figured it out, or (C.) the announcement of a Time Traveler Convention at MIT just didn't generate enough buzz and support in the present. It would take a lot of noise to make an impression that could last until such a time that time travel is possible and the invitation just might never reach its intended audience. (Planners actually recommend that supporters of the concept slip acid-free paper announcements into obscure technical books in libraries to help publicize it.) I guess a fourth possibility is that the future got the message and just had better things to do with the technology.

I engaged in a similar bit of silliness myself awhile ago when I was asked to send a message to the people of Portsmouth in the year 2100. They buried a time capsule at the John Paul Jones House as part of some kind of centennial ceremony and I was among the dignitaries who got to toss my two cents into the next century. I was going to say something very serious and official sounding, but then I realized that one-way communication with the future was pretty unsatisfying. I decided to ask the future recipient to attempt to get a message back to me. I explained that, while physical travel through time might never be possible, what about digital communication, or something like telepathy? I even speculated further. What about prayer? Since the afterlife and eternity are concepts that transcend time, the only true time travel may indeed come when we "slip the mortal coil," so to speak. What is prayer but an eternal act performed by a temporal being?

I noted all this to the future person and wrote something like, "Way back in the late 20th century, many people believed that a man named Jesus Christ was the only real time traveler. He was around before the foundations of the earth and will be around after the universe has run its course. If this is true, then the best way to get a message to me would be to connect with him."

Wouldn't it be cool to arrive at that great time traveler convention called Heaven and to find out that the message got through?


Ernesto said...

Ummm... actually ... if there really were time travelers able to show up at the convention, wouldn't those travelers be bound by some sort of rules about altering history and therefore have disguise their presences? How would the non-time travelers at the convention know if there were time travelers among them?

Rick Broussard said...

Or, what if EVERYONE at the convention is actually a time traveler, but their memories got scrubbed before sending them to this space/time zone and the convention was there to refresh their missions by providing encrypted subliminal impulses to get them to perform certain deeds or have pleasurable experiences no longer available in their own times (like, maybe, go see Star Wars Episode III in a real physical theater as opposed to the brain-beam cinema of the 22nd century). As for altering history, it could only be done if they were concious while they were here, because as unconcious agents from the future their trip to the past is actually part of the uber-future and therefore already part of the ultimate space/time continuum. Now, if someone could travel into the uber-future, after the time they get back from the past, and then go conciously back into the past with the intention of altering both the future AND the uber-future, then they would be violating the rules and have to be tossed into the uber-past as punishment.

Pass the bong.

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