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Murray Rosenbaum

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Is Time Travel a Good Idea?

Posted: 10/23/2012 9:12 am

In the new feature film "Looper," Joseph Gordon-Levitt is an assassin who kills men that the mafia want dead in the future. He then disposes of a body that never existed. His job is simple yet strange, because time-travel hasn't been invented, and won't be for another 20 years. How Joseph Gorden Levitt's character knows that he is done with his contract as a looper is when he has to kill himself from 30 years in the future, and his older self came back in time to change the course of events that creates an ultimate crime lord. The idea that time-travel can be used for such a dark purpose makes one realize that time-travel wouldn't be jsut fun times with the Doctor from the hit show "Doctor Who," that BBC viewers have come to love.

Time-travel is one of the strangest ideas that mankind as ever come up with. Time-travel is the ability to go into the future or the past and interact with the objects and people there. It seems like the greatest thing humans could invent, and if that is so, why is it that all scientific studies focus on creating a machine that can travel through time? We could go back in time and stop wars before they start; we could take people who don't deserve to hold a position of power and make sure they don't enter that position. If we have all of these possibilities at our disposal with a time machine, then why don't we make one? For one simple reason -- time-travel is a fantasy and and only a fantasy. The only way to even remotely travel through time is to travel at the speed of light, according to Einstein.

Now, let's pretend we have a fully functional time machine for our use and we go back in time and stop Hitler before he starts to bring Jews to concentration camps. While this may seem like a heroic thing to do, the most disturbing part is that you may never exist if Hitler never became the Nazi leader. Events that we think we have no part in whatsoever can actually affect our family tree, and if your great-grandfather would have ever met your great grandmother, and if he hadn't, then he has different children, and they are part of a completely different future from what had existed before.

Just to further prove why going back in time is a terrible idea, there is something called the grandfather paradox. The grandfather paradox is when you go back in time and accidentally kill your grandfather, therefore never being able to have your father who could never have you, who could never go back in time to kill your grandfather.

Many movies and TV shows try to portray time-travel as accurately as possible, such as the new movie "Looper" or the great continuing show "Doctor Who," and also "Back To The Future," but it is difficult. Most shows hit dead ends fairly quickly because they made a decision before and realize that they can't continue because it will contradict the past event.

There is all this jumbled information, so what exactly does it mean? The phenomenon known as time-travel, while quite an enjoyable thought, will unfortunately only stay on screens. Time-travel, if it were to ever exist, would not create peace; it would cause countries to kill for the materials to make it or to steal it. A time-traveling machine will be the equivalent of a nuclear bomb. It can destroy civilizations and make one country hate the other for having one. People would also try to change history, and in the process, make themselves not exist at all. Even after all this, "Looper" still does a fantastic job at keeping most of what happens straight. I would strongly recommend seeing "Looper" if you're into slightly edgy time-travel action. Plus, it has Bruce Willis.

 
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