Time Travel

We saw Looper. I liked it! It was so much darker and more grim than I was expecting, which, god help me, I always appreciate in a movie. Although I never got used to Joseph Gordon Levitt’s face, I would say that I was fairly riveted by the film. Such a good mix of brief stirring action and long boring conversations. Just a feeling of dread throughout. Also I love Emily Blunt. Also isn’t it weird how charismatic Bruce Willis is? Watching JGL’s excellent impression of him kept driving it home to me. There was also a moment when I realized I had just thought to myself, with a complete lack of irony, “Man, I love watching Bruce Willis shoot a machine gun.”

But on the ride home, after the requisite 15 minutes of “but what about”s that must follow a viewing of any time travel movie, we started talking about actual time travel. Apparently traveling into the future is deemed “totally doable” by science, whereas traveling into the past is not doable. I had never really thought about it before, but it IS going into the past that always causes all the problems and paradoxes. If you went into the future you’d just pop up in the future; it wouldn’t cause horrible doubling issues, you’d never encounter yourself, you couldn’t fuck with the past, etc. The old man was saying how amazing it will be when they finally figure out how to send a human into the future, but then I was like, “no it won’t be, because there would be no way for it to benefit science!” The person who goes into the future will just be in the future–they won’t be able to communicate with the past. They’ll just pop up, and then maybe they’ll go find their old scientist colleagues and be like “remember how you put me into the future last year? Well here I am” and the scientists will be like “amazing,” and I guess they can study the person’s physiology to see how it affected them, but basically there’s no value to it except that it’s interesting, and it’s really only interesting to the person who gets to go into the future. I was laughing so hard, imagining it, scientists sending individuals far into the future just so that it could be interesting for that one individual. Popping someone into the future and then just being like “well, that happened,” and going on with your life, because there’s nothing else to do–you can’t talk to the person, thus you can’t understand the present better through their experiences in the future. You can’t, like, ask people in the future how to cure global warming. They will have either done it or not, but since you can’t go BACK, then even if you went forward and were like “oh, they fixed it!” it wouldn’t do the past any good, and anyway if they fixed it then there’s no urgency, even if you could go back. I don’t know why this is making me laugh so hard.

In trying to come up with a way that it could be valuable to society we ended up conceiving a satirical movie idea about future-only time travel getting invented but then everyone just using it to procrastinate. Like we could shoot all our garbage and criminals into the future and just hope that the people in the future deal with it better than we do. Forgetting all along that those people in the future are just US. Like lets say you run a prison and your prison needs new wiring and it’s gonna cost a million dollars and you can’t deal with it so you shoot all your inmates 20 years into the future, like, “I’ll deal with this later.” Then you live the next 20 years, fine. Then one day 20 years from then, you’re in your office and all the prisoners pop up. For them only a split second has passed. Now you’re 20 years older and you probably didn’t ever do all the paperwork necessary to get the prison retro-fitted or whatever was the reason you sent them into the future in the first place. So then you’re just like “oh crap.”

We imagined a society in which everyone is pushing all their crap into the future. We push our crap into 100 years from now, not knowing who is receiving it or if they might prefer that we stop sending them all our crap. Then they, in trying to deal with all this crap from the past in addition to their own crap, send it all another 100 years into the future. And so on.

Then the old man said “maybe we could figure out how long it would take the planet to recover from a total nuclear holocaust, and then just send like 6 really awesome people that far into the future, and then just blow it all up.” I was like “what would that accomplish” and he said “I don’t know”

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