“Every human being desires to travel in time; in the past to fix what went wrong, and in the future to live his fantasies.”
Since times unknown man has fantasised about travelling in time, yet in spite of all the progress made by science, humanity seems to be no way near to cracking the puzzle. But how can you find an answer to a question which itself is based on a wrong premise? We want to travel in time for we believe time to be an inherent characteristic of the physical existence, going as far as calling it the fourth dimension. But the concept itself is flawed!
The basic characteristic of the three spatial dimensions is; you can identify any point within them and call it origin, and then move in both positive and negative direction from that point. But what happens with time? Let us say we have a clock that runs in the opposite direction to another one which runs in the regular direction. If we start both the clocks at the same time, say 12noon, six hours later first one will be showing 6am and the other one will be showing 6pm. But has the time moved back or forward? You will say ‘still forward’, but I will simply say that six sixty minute units of time have been added to the start of the experiment. Time is nothing more than a mathematical constant whose value when used additively, helps quantize the speed or pace of activities or processes.
Chemistry students will know how there are two kinds of chemical reactions; reversible and irreversible. The first ones’ proceed only in one direction, creating products from reactants, say for e.g. combustion of wood into smoke, ash and heat. The second ones’ can proceed either way, creating products from reactants and vice versa, say for e.g. Electrolysis of water to yield hydrogen and oxygen is reversible, for hydrogen can be recombined with oxygen to yield water. But why this discussion about chemistry when we are discussing time travel?
Well, let us say that in our example with clocks, we had two separate containers of reactants, one set to hydrolyse water, and the other set to combine hydrogen and oxygen. Now if we start the two processes and the two clocks at the same time, the processes as well as time measurement will both travel in opposite directions to their respective counterparts. And this example roughly sums up what we want to achieve with time-travel.
In order to return to the past, we will have to reverse each and every physical, chemical and biological activity that has taken place, not just in our neighbourhood, but the entire universe. This is because our present is a gross result of all such reactions and activities, with energy having been absorbed from all over the universe (radiations and even matter coming from space and distant stars), and emitted (or lost) to it in the same way. And in case one were to miss the point, let me also mention, every activity that occurs in this universe can have many possible results.
So basically if we were to try and return to a previous time, not only will we have to reverse all the activities and reactions, but there is no guarantee that the time (or rather physical state of existence) that we return to, will be the same which we actually had lived through. This happens because the reversal of heterogeneous activity can pick up any possibility out of the bucket of choices it has, very much like the future. Just imagine a ball hit by a baseball player; it can go for a home run, it can be caught, it can drop in no man’s zone, it can vanish in crowd, or even out of the park. These possibilities are affected by other environmental factors such as wind velocity and direction, humidity and particulate matter, etc. Even if you were to start a perfect reverse of the situation from the last hit, it is not necessary that the batter who smashed it would be the same who actually did it originally. Every time you will reverse the processes, at some stage or the other a variation from the original version will occur, and the history you will revisit will not be the same that you have known. The scientific myth in fiction is that any change in the past will drastically alter the future. The truth however is; “Every time you will revisit past, it would be different than what you would have known.”
And if you wish to travel in future, you will have to speed up the processes. But remember, once you get to the future, you will not be able to return to this present, due to reasons explained above.
In the end, time indeed is just a constant. What is changing is not the time, but our existence.
Fatal Urge Carefree Kiss “Amanpreet Singh Rai”