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Warp

Signs of the Times: Time Travel, Mind Travel, or Mere Perception?

It has become a recurring theme in science fiction movies over the last half century; ever since George Pal’s film adaptation of the H.G. Wells classic, The Time Machine, the incredible notion of lapsing epochs through space and time has riddled our sciences and the best fictional representations of both future and past. In fact, the theme of  is so often used today that, after decades of spin on the silver screen, it’s hard to imagine what time travel might really be like in the absence of aliens, robots, and dudes with laser blasters and the like, returning to the present from some post-apocalyptic future era to save the unsuspecting past from a future robotic hell.

My obvious reference to the Terminator film franchise here is not intended to preclude other classics, such as the Back to the Future trilogy, as well as the Fortean favorite, The Philadelphia Experiment (1984), starring Nancy Allen and Michael Pare. But how much would “real” time travel be like what we see in the movies? Perhaps more importantly, would the real-world counterpart to what we see in theaters be at all like what we would expect, or might there be other modes of “travel” through time that hardly involve any travel at all?

Part of what gets me thinking along these lines has to do with the apparent connections between UFO phenomenon and time travel. While many abductees report experiencing what they would refer to as “missing time,” there are at least a few camps that seem to believe that the entire UFO enigma is actually he result of literal, trans-human visitors from our future, which pilot advanced craft capable of impressive movement through not just space, but literal time just as well. This concept is further addressed in my upcoming book, The UFO Singularity, which is scheduled for release this December 22, 2012.

But rather than the hypothetical scenarios surrounding time travel and UFOs, let’s get down to the actual science behind perception of past, present, and future, where I’ve often wondered if the changes awaiting future generations might not cause radical shifts on not just our technology, but also human levels of perception itself. This might perhaps result in the ability to seemingly “look” across memories of not only our temporal past and the immediate present, but also of future events; but if so, how might this sort of thing be achieved, and would it be intentional at all? In other words, might humans stumble onto the beginnings of being able to shift the way we think (whether achieved technologically or otherwise), eventually leading to things like functional psi and, perhaps most important of all in the present discussion, stranger avenues for “travel” through time?

What we’re talking about here may not directly involve the use of some variety of apparatus used to travel through time. Instead, it seems more logical that levels of human perception, with the advent of more complex and miniature brain science applications, might begin to blur the lines between past, present and future altogether, on a perceptual level. In his book A Brief History of Time, Stephen Hawking argues that the natural flow of entropy amidst the course of all things in space-time influences the way that humans think and, most importantly, remember. In other words, our cognitive functions obey natural laws where entropy causes a trend toward chaos (well, for the most part, all you psychics out there reading this). However, in the event that such a thing as “reverse entropy” were indeed achieved, should we consider whether nanotechnology and other advanced miniature sciences may one day be applied to it’s incorporation into the human body just as well? Not only might perceptual levels of space and time be changed drastically in the coming years, and enough to allow perception of future as well as past, but humans may even achieve functional immortality one day on down the road.

It’s food for thought, for the time being… and while it may not really constitute what our films of today would help define as “time travel,” there may indeed be a time when the human mind (or some trans-human modification that comes along thereafter) could result in something more akin to “mind travel” instead.

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  • Drooperdoo

    Read “An Experiment in Time,” by JW Dunne. He was an engineer in the 1920s. A man of science, he was perplexed by a premonitory dream he’d had about a train crash in Scotland. What stirred his curiosity was the fact that his dream (had a few nights before the events) provided him with skewed data. He dreamed, for instance, that 111 people died. Initial newspaper reports DID say that 111 people died. But it was corrected days later and brought down to 108. So he didn’t have omniscience when dreaming. He only remembered what he’d read in the newspaper. So if the newspaper got it wrong so would his dream. This led him to realize that he was limited by his own experience. If he didn’t read that particular paper, he wouldn’t have had the information in the future (which he could hack into in the present). This led him to realize that Eddington might be right after all: past, present and future were NOT linear; they were happening simultaneously. Viewing them as linear was a construct of our brains. But when our brains relaxed in sleep, we saw reality as it really was: a mixture of past, present and future. In any case, Dunne’s book became celebrated, and was championed by intellectuals of the time [like HG Wells].

  • Chuck

    We do not actually see the past. Our memories are changes in our brain tissue that stores sensory data, and our memories are notoriously inefficient. Photos and other recordings are chemical or electrical changes in matter. Neither memory nor memorabilia are looking at the past.

    What seems to be the ‘stream of time’ is an effect of the mind. According to Kant, time has no existence independent of the mind. What we perceive as time is a convenience that allows us to predict what might happen based on past experience. The particles that make up the universe are nearly infinite in number, traveling in nearly infinite trajectories. To go backward in time would mean rewinding every particle in every galaxy, every star, every material object at once, EXCEPT your own!

    Even a clock does not keep time, it merely measures changes within its own mechanical or electronic configuration. That is not the passage of time, it is the illusion of time.

    Therefore, how can time travel be possible?

  • alanborky

    Micah I’ll put this down here for what it’s worth.

    I’ve been subjected to experiences where time seemed to flow backwards.
    I was even ‘exposed’ to what were supposedly an order of ‘angels’ who supposedly exist solely to witness time flowing in the opposite direction. For those of them supposedly assigned to witness people being buried in coffins it seems as if people’re like moldy dessicated peanuts born from rotting wooden shells.

    From my point of view the most startling thing was realising if I really was experiencing time simultaneously flowing in the reverse direction then it isn’t just the sun which shines its light on us but us and the rest of the planet who shine our light on the sun.

    At least though even reversed time seems to have a certain Newtonian sequential logic to it because there seems to be innumerable other ways time interconnects and operates beyond anything I’m yet able to describe.

    And if nothing else such experiences’ve made me realise time and space may be far more complex and mysterious than in our wildest current theories.

  • IronSandPalm

    I think humans may achieve time travel, however only forwards, like being frozen and thawed in the future. Of course not exactly time travel but the effect would be the same.
    There are at least 2 instances of this mentioned in Al Quran. The famous one is the sleepers of the cave, a group of young men and their dog that wanted to escape the evil of their city, and took refuge in a cave. Allah the most high caused them to sleep for 300 solar (309 lunar) years. When the people found out their case, they built a masjid (the correct word for mosque; it’s root word is sujood which means a place where a lot of prostration is done) at that place.
    Time travel, perception, dreams and perceiving future events are all very interesting.
    A few years ago I had a dream, it wasn’t what I would call very significant, but at one point, a man came up to me and told me a list of things to do e.g. when you get to the fence do this, when you get to the door do this etc.
    4 to 5 months later I had a dream where I was being pursued by something or a group of people, but at in the dream I remembered what the man had told me in the previous dream, and I was able to escape using that knowledge.
    And Allah knows best.

  • Prashant Shukla

    I am do not think that a real time travel can ever be possible until and unless we are able to build machines which can also travel in space. The question which comes up in my mind is- As the Earth rotates, moves around Sun, moves along with the solar system within the galaxy and the galaxy itself is moving forward, any effort to move back or forward in time will only cause displacement of the the so called time machine in time but not space and the machine will not actually emerge on Earth cause back in time the Earth will not have arrived there and in forward time Earth would have moved away from the place…..so technically the time machine and its occupants will emerge in space….and moving to Earth will require a space shuttle.