As a previous history major, I have an in depth knowledge of history from all over the world. It can easily be said that I’m passionate about the subject. I have often commented to my friends and family that the best and worst invention ever would be a time machine (or discovery of the ability to go back in time).
To go back in time would present the keen observer a brilliant opportunity. This person would have the ability to set the record straight – for thousands upon thousands of year, if not billion. Or dare I even say it, billions? History, as we know it, is bias. Even told by the most trustworthy of sources, it is still coming from the point of view of people who lived at the time. People with allies, vendettas, and causes. That doesn’t mean that it isn’t true, it just means that it is only one side of the equation. Now, often we do have more than one point of view during any major event but that doesn’t mean we know what is going on behind the scenes. There is so much to know and correct, I’m sure, about the past that it boggles the mind. Without first hand knowledge, we have no idea what has taken place in our earthly past. Wouldn’t it be exciting to finally be able to behold the truth? So much to learn!
At the same token, only certain people could go. It would be a massive challenge to pick who would have that privilege. A lot has happened just in the past century that has turned the tide of the world as we know it. Many people would take this chance to right a wrong in their lives instead of studying and rewriting history. It would also be fantastic to not only see events but possible tip toe around disasters. Of course, we never know what we might mess up and change the world of the future because of it. That’s the tricky part. If I could go back in time would I murder evil dictators or tell warring sides what the other is planning? No, that would cause too many unknown consequences that I could not account for. What if I stopped a major battle from happening that would have won the war? What if that messes up time and the future and the traveling device I used was never created and I’m stuck in “insert time period” forever? That would suck… or would it?
The possibility of altering any thing in the past could have dire consequences. Have you ever heard of the idea that stepping on one leaf back during the Jurassic period would forever alter the landscape therefore altering the future? I’m not sure how true that is but it could be possible. Each change would send a ripple through time so to speak. Each footprint would mean an alteration. Perhaps some things are better left alone? People could possible cause more trouble than they realize. Talking to one person from the past could alter a chain of events that led up to something great. For example: you travel back in time and bump into a woman on the street. You take the time to say excuse me, she remarks that it’s OK. You both smile at each other and continue on your separate ways. This bump made her JUST miss the train, she was already running late. While waiting for the next train, she meets a man who is quite charming and he offers her dinner while she waits. She falls in love with the man, they marry, and possibly live happily ever after. Sounds nice, doesn’t it? But the reality is that she was going to meet a different man once she arrived at her destination. That man was also going to marry her and live with her happily ever after. In this marriage she was going to have a son – Albert Einstein. In this new future, there is no Einstein so it took longer for science to catch up. Therefore, your device was not invented! You’re stuck!
Of course this was a simple example but it would not be hard to see the possibilities that are available from this point. One would have to be amazingly, almost inhumanly, careful.
With that being said, I can imagine how cool it would be to have a tourism company that brought people back in time. Some sort of incredible security devices would have to be put in place but people could witness the moment their grandparents met or when their ancestors first came over from Europe.
Not only would time travel have the ability to change our history books, it would also bring personal happiness. These moments are talked about in family history but bringing them to life would be incredible.
What do you think? Would you travel back in time if you could? Where/when would you go?