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Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

How does science reconcile the paradox of meeting yourself in the past during time travel?

Asked by Hypocrisy_Central (26798points) May 19th, 2014

For time travel to work as promoted by most sci-fi writers and movie makers, you can go back in time and interact with your past self. How does science reconcile:

• Your present life force/spirit will be occupying the same space as your past life force/spirit. How do they both reside in the same time continuum at the same time?
• If a person went back in time and their past self, thought your present self was an intruder and pulled a gun on his/her present self, who in the struggle not to get shot, accidently shoots the past self, putting a bullet in his/her own past self’s brain. How would he/she be able to be in the future to go back into the past if one kills their past self?
• Seeing a parson who is in the future can to go back in the past, does it mean no matter what, he could not kill his past self even if he wanted to?
• If a person when back in time would he is a mere observer as a latent imprint in another dimension unable to affect his/her past self in any direct way?

How would these seemingly contradictions are paradoxes be solved or reconciled scientifically?

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12 Answers

ragingloli's avatar

1. No such thing as a “spirit”.
2. Multiverse. You do not emerge in the past of your own time line, but an alternate one. You kill an alternate past self, not your own.
2b. Causal disconnect. The very act of time travel might disconnect you from the chain of cause and effect. So even if you kill your own past self, you will not be affected.
3. Another valid possibility. Any action you take in the past was already part of the timeline that you left. In this specific case, not only will you not succeed in killing your past self, since you are in fact, still alive, but you will not even meet your past self, since you did not meet your future self in the past.

Dan_Lyons's avatar

A) Your spirit/life force (of course there is such a thing) already controls more than one body/being in other dimensions and/or multiverses and right here in this plane of existence. So there is no problem there.
B) If you go back in time and shoot yourself, you will immediately have the scar and/or be deformed by the broken bones you gave yourself. If you go back in time and shoot yourself dead you will immediately cease to exist.
C) Asked and answered.
D) Next question please.

kritiper's avatar

Science doesn’t do that. What you want is science fiction.

talljasperman's avatar

Temporal psychosis…. mulpitle persoanlitys.

ragingloli's avatar

and dyslexia

jerv's avatar

Theoretically.

As they haven’t actually done it (or at least they’re not telling us), they’re have no real basis of knowing for certain. And without experimentation, all they have are theories, each with their own possible flaws, and no way of really knowing if the truth is something entirely unexpected and different.

flutherother's avatar

If science said it was possible it would have to reconcile the paradoxes but science doesn’t say that.

Haleth's avatar

Time dilation is real, but that’s not the kind of time travel where you can go back and kill your past self or whatever.

Skaggfacemutt's avatar

Well, you can’t reconcile the paradox. It is all conjecture and speculation anyway.

I mean, ponder this; you go back in time two years, kidnap yourself and bring yourself back with you. Then you go back three year, kidnap yourself and bring yourself back. Now there are three of you. Then you go back four years, kidnap yourself and now there are four of you.

You can do this indefinitely, back to your point of birth. You could go back once for every day of your life and wind up with 10,950 of you (considering you are now 30 years old).

Science fiction, but in reality the past is gone and not existing in some kind of frozen time warp.

kritiper's avatar

I’ve always heard that if you were to meet yourself in the past, the result would be an explosion that would obliterate everything.

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

@ragingloli 2. Multiverse. You do not emerge in the past of your own time line, but an alternate one. You kill an alternate past self, not your own.
That blows holes in the pundits of time travel as far as going back to prevent something like a loved one dying, or enacting something like a cure for your ailing brother. What would be the point of going back if the past you change will be in another dimension and not the one you are in?

2b. Causal disconnect. The very act of time travel might disconnect you from the chain of cause and effect. So even if you kill your own past self, you will not be affected.
And how is that so; give me something I can hang my hat on. How can your life force, for your benefit, we will bypass any spirits, not be connected to your body past or present? The past person is still the same person with the same life force.

3. Another valid possibility. Any action you take in the past was already part of the timeline that you left. In this specific case, not only will you not succeed in killing your past self, since you are in fact, still alive, but you will not even meet your past self, since you did not meet your future self in the past.
Again, blows in any idea of going back to change the future of yourself or someone you love if you never end up in the same place or time.

@Dan_Lyons B) If you go back in time and shoot yourself, you will immediately have the scar and/or be deformed by the broken bones you gave yourself. If you go back in time and shoot yourself dead you will immediately cease to exist.
If ’A’ is true, if I went back and shot my past self, how would I come back with a scar? The past me I shoot will be in a different dimension, same way if in another dimension the Nazi won WWII it has no effect on us here in this universe.

D) Next question please.
Why would you not be in a latent dimension if you went back but not into another whole different dimension? It would not exactly be this dimension but not really a totally different one either.

@kritiper Science doesn’t do that. What you want is science fiction.
Time travel is a physical impossibility? Any one, government or private citizen with a very deep pocket, is chasing a folly of they ever think or believe they can travel time? Piggybacked to @jerv.

kritiper's avatar

@Hypocrisy_Central Yes, it is physically impossible, a science-fiction fantasy.

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