Time travel and rewriting history

decorative paintingI have written in the past about consciousness being an accumulation of sensory experiences [see ‘Is there are real ‘you’ or ‘I’? on March 6th, 2019].  Our memory consists of fragments of images, sounds, smells and feelings from the past that we can re-assemble into a complete experience often triggered by something in the present that resembles a fragment of a past experience.  We can time travel in our minds by thinking about the past.  It is so ubiquitous that we barely stop to think about it. Yet, we are fascinated by the possibility of time travel into the future.  However, our subconscious minds are constantly time traveling into the future [see ‘Predicting the future through holistic awareness’ on January 6th, 2021].  They are constantly making predictions about what will happen next, whether anticipating the path taken by a ball so that your hand can be positioned to catch it or picking up an umbrella as you leave the house so that you do not get soaked when it rains later in the day.  The further we attempt travel into the future the less dependable our predictions become and I suspect the same is true for travel backwards in time.  The reliability of our recollection of past experiences become less as time and entropy erode the connections between the fragments in our mind so that we struggle to reassemble all of the fragments in the correct order and our personal history is unintentional rewritten.


Stefan Klein, We are all stardust, Melbourne: Scribe, 2015  (a conversation with Hannah Monyer on memory entitled ‘Do You Remember?’).

2 thoughts on “Time travel and rewriting history

  1. Tony Patey

    As the great economist John Maynard Keynes claimed – some of the cleverest minds have been involved in economic forecasting but they invariably get it wrong. Maybe we can only, as you say, take a holistic stance at any one point – sum up the data, look at what is actually happening, and take an educated guess. Even then, who listens? The listener has to have the ability and knowledge (?) to discern what is relevant. The Big Depression in the mid-2000s, for example, was a car crash waiting to happen – even the IMF warned of hot-air housing loans ballooning in UK and US (I remember reading it out to my A-level Economics class in 2003) – but no-one seemed to care. In the late 60s and early 70s some of us could see that increasing pollution and lackadaisical political policies were going to lead to major problems, unless we took action, but we were totally ignored, written off. (I’m extremely concerned about the future direction of our education system; but I’m out the loop.) Twas ever thus – that’s why, as a retired 75-year-old I’m immersing myself in my books (maths, physics, ancient and medieval history, among others). My “future” is limited, of course, but I’m very happy, thank you very much!

  2. Pingback: Dwelling in the present | Realize Engineering

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