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dotlin's avatar

How could you visit yourself 10 mins ago?

Asked by dotlin (419points) June 19th, 2010

Hypothetically lets say you were in Kurt Godel’s universe and time travel was possible.
http://img96.imageshack.us/img96/4307/timeg.jpg
An image that may help explain what I’m saying

Imagine going back in time to visit yourself 10 minutes ago.
Just to made it easier to visualise lets imagine ten minutes ago you were down the shops, you walk back home, remember this bit you push a cup off the table what lands on the floor and then you go into your time machine to travel back in time 10 minutes to when you were still down the shops.
Now on travelling back in time the energy that went from the cup into the floor goes back into the cup and the cup rises and goes back into the table.
But the atoms that made up you ten minutes ago are still in status in the time machine, so they can’t go back down the shop for you to visit them.
The atoms that made up you 10 minutes ago will not just appear this would create more mass in the universe and due to E=MC^2 there is more energy in the universe going again fundamental laws in physics.

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39 Answers

dotlin's avatar

I’m very open to legitimate criticism.

It seems to me people make assumptions on time travel bases on intuitive views on universal time rather than relative time, so the past will be the same as it once was including you.

timtrueman's avatar

I think the Into The Universe With Stephen Hawking episode on Time Travel explains very clearly the possibilities and probable realities of time travel. Warning: it’s long (but seriously awesome).

dotlin's avatar

@timtrueman
I did just watch that yesterday. :)
Some of the idea I thought of Stephen Hawking also did as well in his books not this show.

Response moderated (Off-Topic)
Thammuz's avatar

@mammal because his pc is not.

@dotlin An interesting movie on the subject is “Primer”.
It doesn’t address the problem of adding matter to the universe, obviously, but it has one of the most coherent time travel related plots, i hear.

FireMadeFlesh's avatar

It is far simpler to assume time travel is impossible. That way we do not have to deal with violations of conservation laws, paradoxes, or mind bending problems that really have no logical solution. This does not necessarily mean that time is linear, but only that it is not able to be manipulated.

dotlin's avatar

@FireMadeFlesh
I’m willing to change my mind with a blink of an eye if problems are brought forward showing why what I said is incorrect.
I may be able to convince people my views are right but I will never convince the universe that’s how it really works.

RandomMrdan's avatar

Time travel is fun to think about… but I don’t think it’s possible to go back. Only forwards using advanced propulsion technology that we currently don’t have.

dotlin's avatar

@RandomMrdan
In a hypothetical Kurt Godel’s universe it would be possible as far as we know.

FireMadeFlesh's avatar

@dotlin Lets say the total mass-energy of the universe is x. The mass-energy you want to move around in time is y. The time you move from therefore has a total mass of x-y, and the time you want to move to would have mass x+y. To create mass x+y, which is to add mass y to a different time locus, you must take it from another time locus, hence the term ‘time travel’.

The problems come in when you consider that you are either coming from, or going to, the future. The future is unwritten, so from the point of view of our current time locus, there is nowhere to travel to/from. Say you build a time machine (for simplicities sake, we will assume it is incapable of spatial travel), and want to visit people living where you are 100 years in the future. Who will this be? What will the landscape look like 100 years from now? Chaos theory makes it difficult to predict even short spaces of time into the future, but we need to be able to predict with near certainty to have any hope of hypothesising that the future is written, and is therefore able to be travelled to.

antimatter's avatar

Make a video, wait ten min and play it back. Get a split personality and have a conversation with yourself in a mirror.

Zyx's avatar

Future is no problem, predestination is a fact. Deal with it you filthy quantum whores.

Time is a dimension, the fact that causality seems to only work one way does not a flat world make. You just have to move in the opposite direction, only your own energy to worry about. This however is a very bad idea. Much better to rewrite history from a distance, to safely time travel you would probably have to have either inverse-causality-scanners(?) or teleportation. And that’s just to make it safe for you. If you want the rest of the universe to not get ripped a new asshole, you’re out of luck.

Time travel brings up a lot of issues that seem to demand two-dimensional time, of which I see no evidence. We are flipbook-people and if we manage to get loose from our pages we will get killed by our pages, because the pages are dangerous.

FireMadeFlesh's avatar

@Zyx “Predestination is a fact”
You seem awfully sure of this, but have no supporting evidence. How did you figure that one?

Time is not linear, but it is two dimensional unless you bring in the somewhat dubious multiverse hypothesis.

PhiNotPi's avatar

A few (interesting) things:
#1 Between the point of when you arrive from the time machine and when you enter the machine, there are 3 of you, one is the original, the second is when you are in the time machine, and the third is when you exit the machine. I will call these you1, you2, and you3, respectively.
#2 When going backwards in time, the cup gives its energy to you1, which is still there because he (or she) has not entered the machine yet.
#3 Having three of you does not violate the E+MC^2. This is because one of you, you2, is going backwards in time. Matter going backwards in time is the same as antimatter. The antimatter of you2 and the matter of you3 cancel each other out, even though they are separated in space.

dotlin's avatar

@PhiNotPi
“Having three of you does not violate the E+MC^2. This is because one of you, you2, is going backwards in time. Matter going backwards in time is the same as antimatter.”

Can you back this up with evidence? I’ve never hear of this in my life, this was the actually point Stephen Hawking also came up with the same as me.

FireMadeFlesh's avatar

@PhiNotPi As far as I know, time has nothing to do with the matter/antimatter distinction. Do you have a source?

dotlin's avatar

I really don’t like nothing having any good points against this for me to really think about it for other people’s points of view.

Thammuz's avatar

@Zyx Future is no problem, predestination is a fact. Deal with it you filthy quantum whores.
I’d like to see your PhD in advanced physics, to back up bold claims on things that not even the highest luminaires of the field can say for sure.

Also i’d like to ask you: are you on drugs? your reply is rambling, largely incoherent ad aggressively contorted for the sake of it, it seems the kind of bullshit someone would write during an LSD trip.

dotlin's avatar

@Thammuz
I was thinking something similar.

PhiNotPi's avatar

I got the antimatter = matter going backwards in time from “Physics of the Impossible” by Michio Kaku.

FireMadeFlesh's avatar

@PhiNotPi Thanks for that. Since he specialises in string theory, I think I may well disagree with him on many more points, but I will defer to more qualified people.

dotlin's avatar

@PhiNotPi
I’ve actually got that can you directly to what page?

Zyx's avatar

@Thammuz

I gave you a great answer for guessing I’m on drugs but I’m not telling which ones.
I will however try to explain myself, a little. Axioms supersede science, in fact science depends on quite a few axioms. You can change an axiom and apply science, and if it helps you get more science. Changing the axiom that things can be understood, is not going to help at all.

Thammuz's avatar

@Zyx Goedel’s incompleteness theorem. Nothing new, and i think it’s just someone being way too in love with philosophy to actually focus on the real world. Just as string theorists are too in love with math to realize that only because their calculations turn out correct it doesn’t mean reality is like that.

Zyx's avatar

@Thammuz

I’m going to leave after this, because I don’t like talking to you and there really isn’t any good reason to. Did you just diss philosophy? That just makes you look bad. Science without context is as much a religion as christianity. Oh shit I just realised you haven’t made a single argument anywhere, leaving now.

Thammuz's avatar

@Thammuz I haven’t because i don’t see a reason to. You’ve not made any argument either, by the way, you asserted your point as fact, pretty bluntly too, and left it at that. Which from an absolute nobody-until-proven-otherwise is pretty idiotic.

And by the way the feeling is reciprocated, i don’t like talking to people whose whole argument is “i’m on drugs, so i’m going to ramble incoherently for two paragraphs and act as if i’m right” and who take replying to a question lightly enough that they will happily substitute their drug induced bullshit to a cohrent and well formulated response.

And yeah, i did just diss philosophy because, from Descartes on, it has entered the realm of self referring mental masturbation, ceasing to have any utility for the real world.

The greeks saw philosophy as we see science today, a way to understand science through reason, the problem is that since Descartes it’s become understanding reality through “reason alone”. Which is bullshit, because without grounding in fact you can prove everything you want.

I don’t like Descartes, he was not a coherent man. If he was, he’d have lived his life utterly unshaken by what happend around him, because he couldn’t have been sure about any of it being real. Probably dying in about a week, out of thirst.

Which is not saying that he was wrong, mind you, he’s absolutely right about the fact that we can’t know anything outside ourselves, and even there i’d have my doubts, but these are inconsequential facts, they don’t affect anything, because you’ll still eat when you’re hungry, drink when you’re thirsty and so on.

As for science being a religion without its context, i really don’t see what the hell you mean by this. Science is a method. Its axioms are the same axioms everyone uses on a day to day basis and have proven themselves to be satisfactory and useful. You think the method doesn’t work? Don’t use your fridge for a week.

The efficacy of a system is proven on its results, Goedel’s theorem doesn’t change anything form a practical standpoint and, while theory is all well and good, it’s not on theory that we live and thrive.

And since this is completely off topic i’ll put it all in whisper, hoping a mod doesn’t decide to delete it anyway

FireMadeFlesh's avatar

@Thammuz “And yeah, i did just diss philosophy because, from Descartes on, it has entered the realm of self referring mental masturbation, ceasing to have any utility for the real world.”

What exactly do you know of modern philosophy? Philosophy uses reason to theorise about what science cannot yet test. An example of this is Daniel Dennett’s book Consciousness Explained. Published in 1991, it made many philosophical predictions based on research in artificial intelligence, psychology, neuroscience and computer science. Science has since caught up, and shown many of his predictions to be accurate.

Thammuz's avatar

@FireMadeFlesh I’m not talking about philosophy of science, i’m talking about that part of philosophy between Descartes and Heidegger. The part that used to concern itself with understanding the world, as i said, through reason alone. Dennett’s book is more abou speculation on science’s capabilities, in light of its current situation and possible developments, so it doesn’t really fallin the cathegory i mentioned.

I’m a great fan of Bertrand Russel, so i can’t say i don’t like philosophy as a whole, and i could have explained myself better on that. The reason i have qualms with Goedel is that his incompleteness theorem has as much use as “i think therefore i am”: true, but of no weight whatsoever when it comes to real world applications.

FireMadeFlesh's avatar

@Thammuz I cannot comment on the Incompleteness Theorem because I only have a sketchy knowledge of it. Dennett’s book is philosophy of mind, which uses science to complement his theory that is based on pure logic. In fact much of it is devoted to a reason-based dismissal of Descartes’ ideas.

I agree that a lot of modern philosophy is inconsequential, but since the philosophers I know personally are concerned with philosophy of mind, ethics, physics and biology I think there is a huge amount of value in modern philosophy as well.

Thammuz's avatar

@FireMadeFlesh the philosophers I know personally are concerned with philosophy of mind, ethics, physics and biology

Precisely my point, as long as it is based on reality in one way or the other, like the subjects you listed (with the exception of ethics, which, to me, is a vestigial field in a society like ours), it can turn out to be a valuable input. When it turns into self referring mental masturbaition it stops being useful.

FireMadeFlesh's avatar

@Thammuz Which fields of philosophy would you call useless? Remember Descartes’ thoughts on the mind were probably irrelevant in his day, but philosophy of mind has proven very important since.

I have to disagree with you on ethics though. When an otherwise civilised country still practices the death penalty, when people insist on killing animals in an inhumane way because their religion dictates it, when voters demand legal sentencing to reflect revenge more than justice, I think we have a long way to go with ethics. I think it is an extremely important field, and it should be compulsory to study it in schools – so many children never learn to behave ethically at home, school may at least provide some guidance.

Thammuz's avatar

@FireMadeFlesh I’m unable to respond to your question on which fields. Ufortunately my knowledge on the subject comes from my mandatory philosophy class during the last three years of high school (Italy has a course on history of philosophy in all university-oriented high school courses) which isn’t divided by field. We study the main philosophers in chronological order, from Thales to the late greek philosophers, on to Saint Augustine and the christians (courtesy of the roman catholic church), then descartes and so on u to Heidegger. Those i’d bar as useless lie within that timeframe, except for Marx and Freud (and the branches that come from them) which, IMO, are as alike to those that came before them as i’m alike to a chunk of wood. Also I like Nietsche, and i think his work was revolutionary for the time, ven though it’s mostly ethics, and i already stated what i think about that.

I probably forgot someone in the exclusion list, but you get the point.

As for your remark on ethics being thaught in schools: i completely agree that it should but, being a pessimistic and cynical motherfucker, i also think it would change nothing.

We do have some sort of mandatory ethics course in high school, and we even had a teacher that took it seriously, unlike many others, that didn’t stop my classmates from selling drugs, stealing motrorcycle helmets, stealing wallets and basically doing everything just under unarmed assault.

I think idealists love ethics because they think it’s all it takes but, actualy, those who decide to follow a set of ethics will do so regardless of it being taught to them. My girlfriend is a vegetarian, and has become so on her own, i have my on twisted version of what most would call ethics, my old classmates didn’t have shit, with or without school teaching them.

When you live in your reptilian brain most of your life, ethics don’t mean shit.

Yes, i have no faith in humanity.

FireMadeFlesh's avatar

@Thammuz That is probably the root of our disagreement then. You were taught philosophy in school, and all I know is from reading books and papers from specific fields that interest me. Since potentially purposeless fields hold no interest for me, I have not come to any conclusions on topics that are purposeless, and I cannot even be sure they exist.

I think ethics in schools, like any form of education, must be delivered in the right way to have any significant effect. First, it should be taught to university students in education classes. Tertiary students generally want to learn (at least more than high school students), and are looking for ways to be better at their chosen career. Once we have ethical teachers who feel a responsibility to train students to be ethical, we should place these teachers in primary schools to start good habits from a young age. Maybe it won’t make a difference, but since the majority of crime is simply anti-social behaviour, I think it is worth a try. Part of the education process is to encourage people to aspire to higher levels of understanding, so hopefully we can help people progress past the reptilian brain to a level where they at least feel some sort of responsibility to be civilised.

Thammuz's avatar

@FireMadeFlesh Good luck with that!

Personally, i think it’s a lost cause, and i’ll tell you why: Reality. Being unscrupolous and not giving two shits about ethics has repeatedly proven to be the best way to make tons of money and reach a better lifestyle.

Tobacco companies, Bill Gates ripping off Apple and illegally using DOS’s source code to put together Windows 3.1, weapon manufacturers, drug pushers, astrologists, televangelists, fraudolent doctors, you name it; they all make more money than a honest, hard working person does.

I really don’t think that a lifestyle that has as only reward a higher sense of self respect, at the expense of playng by all the rules, will ever be more inviting than saying “screw it” and ripping people off.

FireMadeFlesh's avatar

@Thammuz Okay, now the issue gets really messy. You’ve probably figured out by now that I am a hopeless idealist, and I get frustrated by people accepting things as they are or appear to be. First lets deal with reality though.
Social awareness exists because it is an evolutionarily advantageous trait. Lions still outnumber tigers in the wild, although their numbers are far lower than they should be, partly because they hunt in packs rather than alone. They are a more successful species because they use cooperation to achieve a common goal. In a similar way, developed countries remain successful by keeping unemployment low, which keeps productivity higher than developing countries where a few work over capacity.
In my idealist microcosm though, none of the people you mentioned would be considered successful (except Bill Gates, thanks to his charity work). Money does not equal success, it is a tool by which success may be gained. A successful person is not necessarily a rich person, but a person who has strived for an admirable goal, and made significant gains towards achieving that goal. Social success is something far more worthy than financial success.

Thammuz's avatar

@FireMadeFlesh You’ve probably figured out by now that I am a hopeless idealist, and I get frustrated by people accepting things as they are or appear to be.

I’d like to precise one thing: The facts i exposed before are by no means how i would want a society to be, it disgusts me to no end that people who do actually important stuff, like medics, are consiedere less imprtant than retards who can throw balls straight and that ruthless companies can do whatever they like because corrupt governments care more about their pocket money than the people they’re supposed to serve. That aside the facts are still true.

Social awareness exists because it is an evolutionarily advantageous trait.

Absolutely true. But lions don’t hunt in packs of 10000. In a small community you can have the guarantee that everyone will be in check. Bigger communities however allow for “antisocial animals” to thrive at the expense of the community, eventually becoming much more powerful than those bound by societal constraints. Their being antisocial becomes an advantage only when the community around them is big enough for tem to act unseen.

A pack of lions with a single lion who doesn’t do shit and eats double the others would kick him out beofre he had time to brush his teeth, however if the pack was made of 1000 lions finding out WHO is the one slacking would be a much bigger problem.

In my idealist microcosm though, none of the people you mentioned would be considered successful

Adn they wouldn’t care, just like they don’t care about being considered morally reprehensible scum in this reality. The point is exactly that. People without a set of ethics don’t care about society’s view of them beyond wether or not the community is going to harm them in some way.

Money does not equal success

I disagree. Money does equal success. And i’ll prove it to you. All in all wether it is by exploiting others or by helping others our aim is to make life better for ourselves. Wether you achieve this by making life better for everyone including you or by fucking everyone’s life up and racking in the profits, the goal is reached, and the better your life the more successful you are, from your own point of view.

As for Social success is something far more worthy than financial success. I have to remind you that social success easily transforms in financial success. See sites like That Guy With The Glasses or The Spoony Experiment which rack in quite a lot of money (That guy with the glasses, a year ago if i recall, made 150000 dollars a month).

FireMadeFlesh's avatar

@Thammuz “Lions don’t hunt in packs of 10000.”
Of course, but as with almost every other natural trait, humans have taken simple principles to the extreme. That allows for those few who do get to the top through unethical behaviour, but those few just create termite-like damage to the structure of society. Fortunately we are strong enough as a group to survive a small number of anti-social fools.
“All in all wether it is by exploiting others or by helping others our aim is to make life better for ourselves.”
Absolutely. But if you use a gold toilet and I use a porcelain one, are you really better off? In developed countries, most of the population enjoys a standard of living that is actually quite difficult to improve on. Even for the obscenely rich, there is very little difference between having $10m and $10b.
“I have to remind you that social success easily transforms in financial success.”
That is not quite what I mean. The Red Cross is not financially successful as an institution, but it is socially successful in the amount of trust people place in them. The porn industry is extremely socially successful in the sense of its distribution, and therefore financially successful, but it is not socially successful in the sense of providing a valuable service to people in general.

Thammuz's avatar

@FireMadeFlesh The porn industry is extremely socially successful in the sense of its distribution, and therefore financially successful, but it is not socially successful in the sense of providing a valuable service to people in general.

You take that back!

In developed countries, most of the population enjoys a standard of living that is actually quite difficult to improve on.

My girlfriend’s father’s family is quite rich, i won’t go into the details but, I have to tell you, Their lifestyle > My lifestyle. It’s just that most people don’t have enough fantasy to know how to improve their lifestyle. If i had Bill Gates’ money i’d buy houses all over the world, visit foreign countries, travel constantly, etc. It’s just a matter of knowing what to do with money.

That allows for those few who do get to the top through unethical behaviour, but those few just create termite-like damage to the structure of society.

And a way better lifestyle for themselves, making antisocial behaviour a benefit over the run-of-the-mill law abiding citizen.

By the way, we’ve derailed the conversation completely at this point, i think we should go on by private messages, what do you say?

FireMadeFlesh's avatar

@Thammuz Going to PMs now. I’ll leave them public for anyone else interested.

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