Saturday, May 9, 2009

Time Travel: A Primer

After viewing the new Star Trek film last night, my film
companions expressed frustration with all of the time travel going on in J.J. Abrams productions, i.e., Lost. To help explain things, I quickly sketched out my interpretations of the different forms of time travel. They are reproduced below, with my annotations.

The first slide shows two states of time. No. 1 represents our concept of linear time, or "Our Reality." There is a beginning and an end, nothing changes, everything moves forward.

No. 2 represents what I call the "Back to the Future Model." The first line is reality before time travel. The second line is after time travel, with X marking the point where history changed and created an offshoot timeline. So while normally time would go from A to B, with the offshoot, time travels from A to C.Slide two tries to make sense of Lost. No. 3.A represents Daniel Faraday's First Theory, or "Whatever happened, happened." Time moves from A to B and even if you try to change the future through time travel, the universe will self-correct and move you back on track to B. Remember the man with the red sneakers.
Note: For simplicity purposes, I'm not explaining the part of this theory where people in the past have always been in the past to help shape the future. This would naturally follow from the concept that everything in the past has already happened the way it happened (i.e., there can be nothing new in the past) and the future is always the same.

Before he died, Daniel issued a Second Theory, where there are variables that can change time, also known as the "I'm going to detonate a hydrogen bomb and destroy the Island" theory (No. 3.B). Here, you can change an event in the past and create a new timeline for the future. Recall the "Back to the Future Model."


Finally, slide three shows time as portrayed in the new Star Trek film (No. 4). Time is, as we understand it, linear. Someone (Spock A) can travel into the past, create a black hole, and travel into the past of a parallel universe. Younger Spock B exists in the parallel universe and nothing that happens to him will impact Spock A (i.e,. you can kill Spock B at birth but Spock 1 will still exist).

Any questions?

No comments:

Post a Comment