Monday, March 10, 2014

Have YOU Considered These Aspects of Time Travel?

What theory of time travel do you subscribe to?

The first panel I participated in at the LTUE conference was about Time Travel. It got me thinking about why we tell so many stories set out of our own time periods. (See my full post on this topic HERE.)

Near the end of the panel, the above question was asked. The man who asked it explained that some people are all about the Chaos Theory and the Butterfly Effect. Change one thing in the past and change everything in the future. Others, don't believe the future can be changed. They're all about fate and the way things are "meant" to be. 

Each of the writers on the panel explained how they handle this element of time travel and why.

My answer is this: 

If you really could travel back in time, I think it's ridiculous to to deny that things could be changed. People have free will, and if we're going with time travel, it would be narrow-minded to say there were no consequences.


I do think some things will always remain the same. 

Here's the thing: individuals as well as societies are always changing, learning, and hopefully growing. If not that, then they're retrogressing. And the fact is, some people will simply never learn certain things until they experience them. Experience, as C.S. Lewis said, is a brutal teacher, but you definitely learn. 

So, I think when people or a society has something that needs to be learned through experience, their actions will always lead them toward that. It's not a pre-destined fate, but the inevitable outcome of their own choices. 

In other words, my theory about this is the following: 

All roads lead to the same destination. 

They always will, until that individual or society learns what they need to learn in order to pull themselves away from that same negative fate. An individual might be able to save another individual or society from a particular negative event, but they can't save them from themselves. 

I think we human beings understand this on some level, which is why there are so many stories about changing one negative thing and having other, unforeseen consequences because of it. Steering away from one event is a bandaid, not a cure.

What do you think of this theory concerning time travel? Which of the three choices do you subscribe to, or is there a forth that wasn't discussed?


  1. Time travel confuses me - I try my hardest to stay away from any book with Time Travel.

  2. To make that even more mind-blowing - if we could go back, God is all-knowing and would already know what we would do and try to change, and as you said, all paths would lead back to the same destination.

  3. Time travel is flawed as a concept because of these two principles. Neither really works. But, if I had to choose I'd guess the same destination theory works the best because it precludes the "Grandfather Paradox." The butterfly theory makes for great drama though.