Time travel is a fantasy, a reality, and a potentially fantastical reality. As a diehard science fiction fan in my youth, I have considered the possibility and challenge from many angles. For example, would I want to travel to see the baby Jesus? If so, what year would I set on my flux capacitor?
According to some sources, “most scholars assume a date of birth between 6 BC and 4 BC.” Well, do I set my device for 6.1 BC and pack enough survival gear to live a couple of years in that era? Or, do I go back and plan short jumps forward until I hit the right time, hoping, of course, I am somewhere near Him at the time.
How about a less lofty dream. Perhaps, I want to witness Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address. If I were traveling back from today, I would need to travel in high-quality protective gear to avoid the possibility of spreading COVID among the crowd or bringing a version of some other disease back with me. If something went wrong, my visit might cause an epidemic that made the Black Plague look like a high school prank.
So what, you say? Those people are all dead anyway. True, but for each person present that day who contracted a life-ending disease from me, dozens, possibly hundreds of their ancestors never existed. You and I may never have been born, nor many of our friends and family. And, don’t think those of you who live on other continents would escape the potential disaster. Diseases effect different people differently, and some might have made it to your part of the Earth.
The reality is this. We are all time-travelers. We simply travel forward one nano-second at a time. If we travel long enough we will see some fantastic developments, or if we travel for a short time at the right time, we may see something so fantastic to us, we think it cannot be real.
Another reality is this. We can travel back in time by reading the writings of those who lived in the time in question. We can travel back in time by visiting museums and historic locations. We can study archeology, or at least read about it. There are plenty of ways to travel back in time without a Time Machine or Flux Capacitor.
On the other hand, if someone held a gun to my head and forced me to choose a year, I’d probably pick 1996. The last time the Dallas Cowboys won the Super Bowl. That’s a piece of history hard to imagine today.
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