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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.


Micah Hanks is a writer, podcaster, and researcher whose interests cover a variety of subjects. His areas of focus include history, science, philosophy, current events, cultural studies, technology, unexplained phenomena, and ways the future of humankind may be influenced by science and innovation in the coming decades. In addition to writing, Micah hosts the Middle Theory and Gralien Report podcasts.
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