One day a man wearing a mask with a strange symbol on it that you've never seen before shows up on your doorstep. He says that he can place you back in time to your toddler years and you get to keep the consciousness and intelligence that you currently have now. So, whatever mindset and brain development you currently have will be placed into your 5-year-old self. You can replay your life again, having the intelligence of an adult and being extremely young.
However, he warns you that it will be nearly a one hundred percent certainty that the way your life is currently played out in this timeline will be completely altered and the way you see the world now may come out completely different due to obstructions to the natural progression of time. You will be trapped with the memories and knowledge of people you know and love now but may never get to meet them because your paths never end up crossing. There is no going back whatsoever.
Would you accept it?
Okay just so that everyone fully understands, there is something called the butterfly effect. Basically it's the idea that even the most microscopic of changes can ultimately change an entire destiny. A butterfly could flap its wings in China and cause a hurricane in America. It applies to anything and everything.
For example, simply dropping your pen on the way to school can change the entire way your life is heading right now.
So, in this hypothetical, simply existing and choosing different actions in this altered timeline will change everything.
(really commonplace notion. That was just so that people who aren't familiar with this idea fully understand the hypothetical)
If we could do it all over again, knowing what we know now... would you do it?
It sounds great, but we have to realize that we will have an 'adult' mind and a calculating one that will not venture out and climb a tree (and perhaps fall), or try to lick a scoop of ice-cream on a cone only to knock it off and see it fall to the floor. And then cry and learn and love the whole experience.
We were all a little bit insane as children (and I met a few this weekend during Canadian Thanksgiving...), but that is the process of life. We need to be ridiculous to learn. Without that, living it over again, knowing what I know now, would be extremely boring and there is no wonder and mystery in life anymore.
SO no-thank-you, Mr. Man at my doorstep. I hope to bring back that childhood curiosity into my present day life and enjoy the process of learning from all my mistakes and pick myself back up again and try again, but I will find my own way.....
That's just something a lot of people don't think about when it comes to this scenario. You'd be killing your kids!
I'd say you'd alter history. Then again, this time-travelling business is very befittingly hypothetical.
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This made we question: what is death, anyway?
It doesn't have to involve pain or gruesomeness; it can also merely be 'blinking out of existence'.
Marty McFly almost died, slowly disappearing as he played his guitar. (Back to the Future). I always had a contention with that scene because he was slowly fading away and why just his hand at first? It should have been his whole body, instantaneously. (But it doesn't matter because of 'artistic license' and it was a memorable scene).
But would the one who gets blinked out even know it, or would they continue down a different branch of time?
Maybe the children would not die or blink out of existence, but continue living in a different branch of time and it would be YOU who is the one who blinked from their perspective. You all continue going on living, but never see each other again.... forever.
Sounds like our definition of 'death' to me in the end. You may find solace in knowing they still grow up, but you would never be able to wonder, "what are they doing now?"
"Now" would be irrelevant.
(There's no answer to these, but they make you think. All thought experiments must start this way too: What if ...)
Why would, all of a sudden, Marty do something that his future self had never done? It would imply free will which is incoherent. He'd have to be physiologically different to his future self to the point of having different behavioural potentials and this would violate the common sense notion of space-time.
Also, once he travelled back and stopped his parents from meeting as they did, what are the chances that he would be conceived by the "second" copulation which had not happened before? McFly would not be born exactly when he did originally. Moreover, it would not be him given the altered physiological changes of his parents due to different events which would conjure different moods and nutrition, sleep patterns etc.
Moreover, how many times did George McFly masturbate after the botched encounter with his would-be future wife? Surely, little Marty would be wasted on the palm of his silly-billy of a father and wiped off with an old sci-fi mag...
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Summerlander wrote:Then I'd get my mother to place a few bets and the lottery to make us rich. At school I'd be the best and I would also be manipulative and make bullies suffer. I'd enjoy it. I would also kill a few people and get away with murder as a minor.
Exactly what I'd do Be that creepy kid who seems to have a vast and eerie intelligence behind those eyes.
HAGART wrote:Without that, living it over again, knowing what I know now, would be extremely boring and there is no wonder and mystery in life anymore.
There is ALWAYS new stuff to learn. You could replay everything, this time learning other things and doubling the time you have for your intelligence to grow.
I would definitely do it. Especially since there's not really anyone in my life who I'd be too torn up to see go. If it's a person that already exists, you could just look them up in a phone book and pay them a visit (and if they're a particularly open-minded and intelligent person, try to explain to them that you've started your life over by providing information that nobody could have known and that, in another timeline, you and that person were extremely close).
And techniquelly you still wouldn't be losing anything because you still have all those beautiful experiences locked in your memory. The only loss is not seeing recognition and the sharing of those experience in that person's eyes.
This would be such a cool novel idea..
I like to think of this whole thing as an enormous, intricate system of tree branches, each of them infinitely splitting off to form one version of reality.
For example, with my hypothetical, your current line of existence would continue, but a DIFFERENT timeline would branch off of that once your consciousness travels back. Nothing changes in THAT place.
Like, say there is a reality where you accidentally drop your pen (like I said before) and, bending down to pick it up, set in motion a chain of events that makes you late to class. Consequently, you never meet that one girl in Anatomy class and thus had no one to comfort you through your entire family's death in a horrifically gory car crash. You hang yourself in the closet and never go on to invent a revolutionary treatment that slows lung cancer progression down significantly with none of the setbacks of chemo. This, of course, changes the entire course of history.
But, in another timeline, you don't drop the pen and things play out differently. And differently. And differently. Branching off into different realities, each sparked by infinite possibilities.
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