Quiz: Mulder and Scully vs. Lois and Clark in an easter egg hunt in Mordor. Who finds the most?


Homework #4: Time

Time travel is a common plot device and theme in sci-fi. Usually in a sci-fi movie, ep, or book, the timeline gets distorted somehow and the job of the heroes is to fix it.

Of course, "distorted" is a pretty loaded term. In a story, we see the timeline as being "distorted," but in reality there's no "right way" for events to unfold. This leads me to a question:

Why does time travel intrigue us so much? And in the absence of even the possibility of time travel, why do we dream about it? Before sci-fi was invented, did people dream about changing the past or the future?

Feel free to answer any of these questions--or all of them.


catherine said...

I guess I'm going to address why we might love the idea of time travel...(I realize also I should NOT start my essay this way, but I don't care lol).

Anyway, I think, at least for me, is because as a human (and think humans as a group) are regretful and curious beings. I know I myself have wondered "what if" about not only the past, but the future. "What if I had crossed paths with person X instead of person Y" or "what if I never find X" etc...we want things to be better--even things we can't change necessarily (like the past).

Spacerguy said...

I figure people do their best to shape their intertwined "timelines" every day. When we look into space using telescopes and see our nearest star Proxima Centauri, we're looking back on something that has already happened 4.2 light years away, thats 40 trillion km away.

Humans can't change that but using timetravel anything is possible. I guess timetravel has something to do with influencing how the universe unfolds and the futures of sentient lifeforms in the cosmos.

Prof. Sci-Fi said...

Thanks both of you for posting.

Spacerguy, you sort of hit on the idea of timelines that I've been thinking about a lot. We exist in a timeline that we have little control over--yet we do contribute our little part to how it is shaped. The timeline, ultimately, is so much bigger than us.

But, as you said Catherine, we dream. That's the weird thing. We have some vision in our heads about what the timeline should look like. We regret things we didn't do. We hope for things we're going to do. But in the end, we're still part of something so much bigger than any of us.

I think that might be part of being human--drastically misunderstanding our own importance.