Time travel
The nature of time and travelling in it
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I think the physical laws of the universe dictate the nature of time. Everything here seems to have a begining, an end, and a span of existance in between that is generally refered to as the 'life' of the object. During the 'life', existance moves forward smoothly like a wavefront always proceeding from past to present. The future of a 'life' doesn't exist except in probability. (a newborn baby will probably grow up to be an adult). Time is therefor described as linear and that seems to make sense.
Can we travel forward and backward along that line?
I picture a line representing my life. The begining is defined. The forty odd years since then exist and I sit on the crest of my wavefront present looking bravely into the probability of my future while knowing the end results of all this trouble are already written. I see a time machine being discounted at the local wal-mart and think it would be cool to go back and fix some of those pesky mistakes I made so that my wavefront present is more to my liking. I buy it take it home and set it up in the living room while the dog barks like a fiend. I get in and fire it up and the lights dim on the entire block while my electricity meter spins like a whirling dervish on meth.
Nothing happens so I get out and kick it.
No results. Like all people conversant in high tech gadgets I do the obvious; I unplug it for thirty seconds then plug it back in but beyond a conspicuous power drain in my state, I accomplish nothing. I check the settings and the hint book that came with it. After reading the directions I learn that I can't travel backward in time because that reality already exists without a time machine in it.If I wait for a while, I can eventual return to any time I want, as long as it has a time machine in it. You could say I'm frustrated by the cat in the box. In my past, the box has already been opened, reality is fixed and, sadly, the cat was dead. From this moment forward however, I can change my past willy nilly. I am a bit disapointed but it WAS on sale and you can't expect really high quality stuff from a wal-mart anyway. Suddenly I realize the dog has stopped barking. He's been barking constantly for three years now so this is unusual. More unusual still is that he seems to be frozen in place under the lazy boy. I realize that of all the mistakes I've made, this one is the worst.
My wavefront has ceased to move. I now exist in a slice of time that contains only me and the rest of the universe as it existed the moment I activated the stupid time machine. Somehow I've managed to crash my entire future just like a laptop after a toddler has been banging on the keys. See my future was based on probability but, becasue I have a time machine and can change anything in my life from this point on, probability has turned into pure POSSIBILITY. The line that is my existance from begining to end has turned into a maze and the wave front of my present is directionless because from this point onward I can, literally, do anything simply by going back into the past to change something. I have turned linear time into a singularity where all possibilities exist simultaneously. Unfortunately for me, the rest of the universe has blithely continued on its linear path leaving me stuck with my non moving singular life.
[here is where i get stuck on the issue of death. will I die here in the singularity or just continue to exist until the universe reaches it's conclusion in a cosmic reset?]
There would be different problems with travelling into the future had I chosen to do that in the first place. Let's skip back in this sorid tale.

Here I am, sitting on the grand wavefront of my present which now includes a time machine. I decide I would like to see the future so I can save up enough maney for a down payment on that flying car they're eventually going to build and that I want with a passion. I get in and push the FORWARD button and away I go...into nothing. Its just me and my time machine and nothing else. What the hell happened now? I don't dare get out and kick the thing, who knows how far I'll fall and it's turtles all the way down! (wink,nudge,nod)
IT turns out that I have indeed travelled forward into the future, all the way to the BIG wavefront. There is nothing ahead of me. I have literally reached the end of the universe whose physical laws govern the nature of time. Beyond this wavefront is, again, pure possibility. Anything could happen, has happened, does happen out there because beyond the wavefront of probability governed by physical law is the singularity of time. As a creature created in the physical universe, living in a linear fashion, ever surfing the probability wave of the present, I cannot travel further. But why didn't I just travel further in the probability of my actual life?
I cannot travel faster than life because of the cat in the box. In order to observe what happens to the cat, in order to observe and fix the reality, the wavefront must pass through the moment when the box is opened. Before that moment there are probable outcomes given physical law. Eventually those laws will force a reality on the situation if, ast first, no one opens the box and everyone goes out for coffee and bagels. (the dead cat will start to stink and someone will figure out the damn thing ate the sardine and died OR it will start scratching and meowing until somebody figures out it didn't like sardines and let the animal out) all results are probable until one happens...the wavefront of the present will pass through this event but, again, one cannot travel faster than that becasue one cannot travel faster than life.
There IS a future. It is the expanding edge of the universe in which we all live. Beyond that is infinity and possibility. Our personal timelines and wavefront presents cannot move faster than that. The only certainty is the end and none of us knows how it will come. Prehaps we go on from there and, eventually, figure out how to travel in time. As for my machine, its in the dumpster. I have my eye on a new blender now but that's a different story.
replied to:  lehmann520
Replied to:  I think the physical laws of the universe dictate...
I would just go back long enough to shoot H. Ross Perot. Then we could make some Tequila based drink in your new blender.