Opening Our Minds to Time Travel

Time Travel. Is it possible? Are there time travelers amongst us?

Have you ever had the peculiar sensation, what many call déjà vu, that maybe you’re re-doing something you’ve already done in the past? It could be you’ve already experienced time travel, but don’t remember. What if your brain just can’t handle alternate version of the same event? That doesn’t mean it didn’t happen. In many time travel stories, the characters often do not recall having gone on a time travel trip, having had their memories erased by a higher power.

What is time anyway and how do we measure it? We measure in increments the shift from lightness to darkness as our planet turns on its axis. We chart the physical movement of the earth around the sun. We talk of minutes, hours, days and we notice how we change, physically age as we grow from babies into adults and our bodies gradually decline. Everything-the milk you buy in the supermarket to your driver’s license-has an expiration date. Time marches forward, we think, or does it?

We’ve trained ourselves to track our “use of time” by checking our clocks and phones. What happens when you stop and focus, entirely into an experience, and forget everything else. I don’t think I’m exactly time traveling, but I do think that I’m pushing against the edges of confinement, when I fully engage solely in the moment. This is what pulls me again and again to write. I lose myself in the story and my perceptions expand. I feel a rush of energy and a connection to the universe and the sensation becomes addictive. And its not always writing. It could be assembling the ingredients to create a new recipe, composing a piece of music, or constructing a collage birthday card.

The word sabbatical, a break from teaching to travel, write, and reflect, comes from the word Sabbath. The biblical idea of a Sabbath, a day of rest , enables one to reflect on the world and our place in it. A vacation, provides us with an interlude, away from our daily lives. If we’re having fun, we say time passed too quickly. If we are bored, time is slow. Our perceptions change how time is experienced. In our modern society, keeping track of time keeps us organized and “productive” but it also confines us.

The Time Machine

In order for time travel to take place, the past and the future need to be accessible to a time machine. The human consciousness perhaps can only experience the present, a slice, of the entire continuum of existence but in order to time travel the past and future needs to be accessible. The easiest way to think of this is in terms of dimensions. We live in a three dimensional world. Time is the fourth dimension.

Packed with possibilities, the ability to travel back and forth in time would give us the ability to right the wrongs we’ve committed in the past as well as give us the foreknowledge to know, in advance, what actions would cause grave harm.

In sci-fi stories, the protagonist travels in time to kill off a mad scientist who will unleash a deadly virus or a maniac dictator who will launch a war that will destroy the planet. But what happens in the timeline when we “re-program” ourselves to change directions?

Our Own Personal Timelines

We don’t (to my knowledge) have a physical time machine to step into, but perhaps within our own minds we can make a journey. Some of us have momentarily glimpsed our future and we choose our present actions accordingly. Dreams can provide a gateway, but because this is an undeveloped ability for most people, these glimpses are often ignored.

Others among us frequently ruminate over events from their past. We wish we could go back in time and make different choices.

Probably everyone has noticed when talking with close friends or family members our memories can be very different. Is it because they focused on a different aspect of the event noticing different details ? Or could it be that you have changed the facts within the memory, because you have changed?

The changes you make in your present life do change the significance of past events. If you decide to become a master gardener at age 40, the small garden you planted at age eight becomes an important foundation to the interest in gardening that you resume as an adult. If you decide on a hobby of rebuilding bicycles and decide gardening is boring, your gardening forays as a child lose importance on your timeline. Building bicycles might propel you towards a career change; opening your own bicycle shop or working for the department of transportation promoting alternate forms of transportation.

What you do in this moment affects the person you become in the future, but it also affects the impact of past events. Heady thoughts, but worthwhile concepts to consider.

Writing prompt for personal time traveling: Recall a significant event in your past and write down what you remember happened. Create a character based on your present self, send them back to the event, and write them into the scene. Maybe they will offer advice and perhaps intercede in some way or maybe they will quietly observe. Your choice. Try different versions.

Follow me on twitter at SN Maril and if you live in Maryland and have an interest in art and images, as well as the work of my father the artist Herman Maril check out the free November 13thlecture announcement on my website

Originally published at on November 7, 2022.



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