TIME TRAVEL (tt)* can either take place in a Block Universe – an unchangeable frozen timeline, where “events exist” from one Temporal Date to another Temporal Date. Or it can be the direct cause of the Multiverse, where the timeline, the cause and effect of events following events, branches into a new timeline, inside which a (tt) Observer moves from one Temporal Date to another and always has done so. The reason for this alleged branching is a rationale designed to avoid the paradox of (tt) to the past to change things without altering the future that makes you go back to change the past…
Yes, a head turner for some. But, so, there are two solutions:
- The Static Block Universe, where everything you do is already part of the present, as you (tt) backwards in time
- the Multiverse, where any change in the past causes a new universe to incorporate the changes made in the past while time travelling.
Basically both versions spring from the concept of the unalterable Block Universe, time stream, time line. The idea of the unalterable “flow of events” probably arise from the musings of Heraclit, here parafrazed: “You cannot twice step into the same river – so all of us both exist and exist not at the same time. Time is a river, where the past is forever gone, only to exist in temporary memory”.
* (Disregarding real science for the moment)
The well known ideas of gaining access to changing past events and acquiring information about future events are both at the core of human recollection of events and predictions and visualisations of the future.
In the course of approx. 110 years (tt) has been increasingly popularised – first by authors and now more and more as premises for movie and TV stories. But as (tt) moves into mainstream as setting, plot device, cinematic-dramatic character, frontier, etc., and more and more people become accustomed to wrapping their head around paradoxes and their apparent or obvious solution, the concept loses its mystique and becomes as predictable as any vehicle to another location – a horse, a car, a rocket, a djinn driven lamp, your thought of that location.
As paradoxes avoided in circular stories conforming to the block universe theory become second nature to readers and movie buffs, script writers are forced to jump through hoops to re-invent (tt) through disregard of science, while focusing on personalities exploiting (tt) causality (LOOP, Interstellar, Edge of tomorrow etc.), or to make dramatically interesting the formation of a diverging universe taking a slightly different course – eg. with doubles existing of everything at the point of branching. Since viewer/reader investment occurs only in characters promoted by the story, and a Branching Universe (employed in order to avoid paradoxes) contains double the history, at present you will mostly see just one branching (eg. the series DARK, Sliders and Counterpart).
To some, though, causalities govern the options people come to realise are interesting (no matter the consequences): As ways of weighing Black&White/either-or life strategies against one other in a simple universe, and brimming with colour in a complex universe of eventual equilibrium between cause and effect.
Script-writers often handle single-branchings like they would a soap: The known world is the base, but half the characters and you only have half of the universe as guess-room, and everything else is a matter of having had different challenges. Which provides a lot of confusion and spanners in the works – while not really contributing to the concept of (tt) or philosophical musings about the nature of options in the hands of humans.