What if... Tuesday July 3, 2007, 4 comments

What if some day, when you’re old and grey, an angel appeared to you. An angel. Or an alien. Time traveller from the future. God, or whatever.

What if someone appeared to you later in your life, and gave you the opportunity to go back and change something in your past?

What if you had a chance to go back and not drop out of university? A chance to go back and go skydiving with your friends, instead of letting fear cage you. A chance to go back and make sure you run over Kiefer Sutherland while pulling out of the Delta Chelsea parking lot?

Would you go back? It’s scary to think about. You’d be going back and changing everything. You might not even be the same person you are because you’ve gone back and changed the events that made you.

What if we padded this mental exercise a bit? Say this angel – or alien, time traveller, god, etc. according to belief and/or preference – let you see the results of your change, so you could make your decision with an easy mind. This being would let you see, and you’d make your decision, and then you forget the results, and go back and live that part of your life over – a chance to make that decision differently. That’d be a whole different ball game.

What if that already happened to you in the future, and this is you, back here right now for a chance to sally forth boldly and stretch your life to fit around your unbounded imagination?


Comments

Jorge Wednesday July 4, 2007


That’s the last time I pretend to be a time traveller when you’re drunk, man.

Adrian Wednesday July 4, 2007


Can always count on your, Jorge :)

chris Wednesday July 4, 2007


what does sally forth have to do with it? is she the angel/alien/time traveller/god? she’s not even really that attractive. so I’d probably turn her down.

Daniel Black Saturday July 14, 2007


Your last point implies that the critical stuff, i.e. the knowledge of the repurcussions, is wiped in the return trip. Without that, you’re essentially left with a supposition taken on faith, which faith can’t distinguish between sound suppositions and unsound ones. That is, you might as well just assume that whatever it is you want to be true is true, because that’s the only way to differentiate between the options.

Which isn’t your point, of course. Unless there’s a way to develop at least a probabilistic map, if not a deterministic one, of your path after choosing differently at some juncture, again, you might as well just jump back in time and pick what you think you’d want whether or not an angel told you what to expect. I doubt a human mind could hold all the salient details of the repercussions of the new choice, no matter how patiently the angel might be in explaining them. I can’t even fathom the path before me now, over some near term (e.g. today); I think my thinking parts would break if any sublime creature tried to stuff more in here [points to head].

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