Rules for Time TravellersPosted on May 21st, 2009 No comments
Discover Magazine has a list of 10+1, which where I come from is just called 11, rules for time travellers. They’re not rules of the legal sort (i.e. suggestions) but physical laws which determine what you can and cannot (possibly) do. For example:
0. There are no paradoxes.
This is the overarching rule, to which all other rules are subservient. It’s not a statement about physics theory; it’s simply a statement about logic. In the actual world, true paradoxes — events requiring decidable propositions to be simultaneously true and false — do not occur. Anything that looks like it would be a paradox if it happened indicates either that it won’t happen, or our understanding of the laws of nature is incomplete. Whatever laws of nature the builder of fictional worlds decides to abide by, they must not allow for true paradoxes.
1. Traveling into the future is easy.
We travel into the future all the time, at a fixed rate: one second per second. Stick around, you’ll be in the future soon enough. You can even get there faster than usual, by decreasing the amount of time you experience elapsing with respect to the rest of the world — either by low-tech ways like freezing yourself, or by taking advantage of the laws of special relativity and zipping around near the speed of light. (Remember we’re talking about what is possible according to the laws of physics theory here, not what is plausible or technologically feasible.) It’s coming back that’s hard.
Rules for Time Travellers [Discover Magazine]
Leave a reply