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How to handle a paradox?
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hikaru
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 24, 2002 3:23 pm    Post subject: How to handle a paradox? Reply with quote

The most curious thing about the Tabitha story is the concept of her creating a Paradox. If she prevents Sabrina's death, then Tabitha won't have the impetus to become a temporal mechanic, nor would she have the burning desire to go back in time and prevent the accident that saves her sister's life.

Depending on which school of temporal mechanics you subscribe to, there are three possible effects:

    She fails to prevent the accident.
    She succeeds and nothing spectacular happens
    She succeeds causing a pardox that make BAD things happen.


A goodly number of people subscribe to the theory that history is written in stone and you can't change it, thus Tabitha will fail in her attempt to save Sabrina's life. Her ability to cure Sabrina's endometriosis is not a history shaking event that preventing Sabrina from dying would be. (Essentially it's not a major change to the tapestry of life.)

Another school says that once Tabitha went back in time, she was no longer bound to the time stream, thus changing the future wouldn't have any effect on this. Nice idea, however in that case you could have dozens of copies of a person running around in the time stream causing havoc. Not good. An alternative to this says that by altering history, she's creating a divergent event. As such, the time-stream would fork allowing Sabrina to both live and die at the same moment in time. It would also create the conditions for Tabitha to go back and safe Sabrina's life. However, by diverging, Tabitha would then be stranded in the alternate timeline with no way to return to the future.

Lastly, you can't cheat fate. Sabrina's supposed to die and if she doesn't, then bad things happen until either she dies, or someone close to her dies. This would make for a great tragedy in that Tabitha saves Sabrina's life, only to ultimately pay for it with her life to balance the equation.

OK. I think that's enough metaphysics to stir the pot for now. Let's see what everyone else has to say on the subject.

Cheers
Hikaru

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caspian
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 26, 2002 10:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think of time as a Large River. If you though a rock in the river of time there is a splash and a little ripple but then it is gone and the river moves on seemingly unchanged for the most part.

I think Tabitha going back in time is a small rock in the time stream. Yes! She can save Sabrina. There will be some ripples but the time stream will move on mostly unchanged.

You would need a really larger rock/massive bolder or make a dam in the time stream to make a real difference. Say some one goes back in time with an A-bomb and nukes London in 1941 that would be a big time change for millions of people. Tabitha is just one person not wanting to change too much just make a few thing better, in her mind, for herself and a few people she loves.

my thoughs on the matter

Caspian

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Galadrion
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 26, 2002 12:24 pm    Post subject: Well, how DO you handle a paradox? Reply with quote

You paradoctor it.
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Jbird
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 26, 2002 1:06 pm    Post subject: Re: Well, how DO you handle a paradox? Reply with quote

Galadrion wrote:
You paradoctor it.



Ow.... Laughing


Somewhat opposite to the 'river' analogy is the 'Butterfly Effect'. I forget who pioneered the idea, but the general idea is that events will cascade exponentially upon each other. Example: a butterfly in Central Park flaps its wings once too often, displacing a minute amount of air. That air has to go somewhere, and thus displaces something else, et cetera et cetera. The process gradually builds, as a perfect mass/mass transfer is theoretically impossible, compounding upon itself... and leading to a typhoon taking out most of Osaka. Oops.


Having a skunk quite literally pop into existence on a plane (existential plane, not aircraft plane) where she has no 'right' to be, is going to start something. The car that stopped for Tabitha (for lack of a better term Rolling Eyes ); what would its actions have been had it not had to stop? What would that have effected, and what would be the effects of those effects...?

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Tygon
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 26, 2002 1:10 pm    Post subject: Re: Well, how DO you handle a paradox? Reply with quote

Jbird wrote:
Galadrion wrote:
You paradoctor it.



Ow.... Laughing


Somewhat opposite to the 'river' analogy is the 'Butterfly Effect'. I forget who pioneered the idea, but the general idea is that events will cascade exponentially upon each other. Example: a butterfly in Central Park flaps its wings once too often, displacing a minute amount of air. That air has to go somewhere, and thus displaces something else, et cetera et cetera. The process gradually builds, as a perfect mass/mass transfer is theoretically impossible, compounding upon itself... and leading to a typhoon taking out most of Osaka. Oops.


Having a skunk quite literally pop into existence on a plane (existential plane, not aircraft plane) where she has no 'right' to be, is going to start something. The car that stopped for Tabitha (for lack of a better term Rolling Eyes ); what would its actions have been had it not had to stop? What would that have effected, and what would be the effects of those effects...?


In other words: Small reason, big result Smile

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Jbird
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 26, 2002 1:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Oh sure, go right ahead and murder my halfway-intelligent-sounding post; go right ahead and boil down a perfectly sound scientific thesis into four stravag words. Razz
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caspian
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 26, 2002 3:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Two things

First to fix a Paradox you will need two doctors that can obtain the same solution for the patient.

Second are you saying that small changes in time will have a continuously larger echo until it has a major disaster results some where in time? Going for a domino type effect? Not that time will just smooth things over as quickly and as smoothly as possible so that know one would even notice time was played with in the first place. Who and how is any one, other than we the readers and possibly Tabitha, going to know time was even played with? Does time care if itís played with? And if it does, does it enjoy it and help the time traveler along? Is time an entity? Is time a thing? Is it controlled by entropy? Or does it control entropy?

More thoughts for the moment

Caspian

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Kinsfire
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 26, 2002 3:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think a large part of it relies on the version of time you're dealing with in your universe. In Serina, they've proven that the Everett theory is correct, but they've also discovered that it is possible to change things in your own timeline.

Personally, I've never like the idea that a butterfly farting in the Pleistocine Era makes the difference between what species is sentient in the modern era, or even which idiot is currently president. My personal belief is that history fills in around itself, so to speak. If you jump back and murder Hitler, someone will rise in his place. History doesn't care whether or not you tie your left or right shoe first, but it does care about specifics. (As I said, though, this is merely my opinion.)

I think I'll stop typing now - the Percocet is doing interesting things to my brain. (Twisted my back last week.)

Kinsfire

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Fishburne
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 26, 2002 3:51 pm    Post subject: Re: Well, how DO you handle a paradox? Reply with quote

Jbird wrote:
Somewhat opposite to the 'river' analogy is the 'Butterfly Effect'. I forget who pioneered the idea, but the general idea is that events will cascade exponentially upon each other. Example: a butterfly in Central Park flaps its wings once too often, displacing a minute amount of air. That air has to go somewhere, and thus displaces something else, et cetera et cetera. The process gradually builds, as a perfect mass/mass transfer is theoretically impossible, compounding upon itself... and leading to a typhoon taking out most of Osaka. Oops.



GAAAH!!! Universal Unified theory!!! RUN! RUN FOR YOUR LIVES!!! The theory was posed by those researching cause and effect. Now it has become a nifty little buzzword. GAAHHH!!!

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Tygon
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 26, 2002 3:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

caspian wrote:
Second are you saying that small changes in time will have a continuously larger echo until it has a major disaster results some where in time? Going for a domino type effect? Not that time will just smooth things over as quickly and as smoothly as possible so that know one would even notice time was played with in the first place.


Well, it is a possibility. I could just as well be that nothing al all happens.

caspian wrote:
Who and how is any one, other than we the readers and possibly Tabitha, going to know time was even played with? Does time care if it’s played with? And if it does, does it enjoy it and help the time traveler along? Is time an entity? Is time a thing? Is it controlled by entropy? Or does it control entropy?


That is a matter of definition by the author. There is the "Guardian of Time" theory. In a German Fantasy RPG that is a demon that was cursed by the highes god to watch over the stream of time because he had stepped on the Ship of Time in an attempt to control it. There you have an entity that watched over time and fights every disruption or tires to correct it.

Another possibility is like they helt it in Disney's Gargoyles. There time itself was described as a semi-sentient entity that actively fight every intrusion.

In the series they went back to WWII and saved someone who died there. As a result accidents started to happen around him and every single of them would have killed him if they hadn't watched out. It only stopped when they took him with them into the future/present.

Otherwise it could of course be that there Tabby only has to fight logic or not even that. All a matter of Definition by Chris and James.

For further reference, please go to my site and read "The Masters of Time" in the Other Writings section Wink

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Fishburne
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 26, 2002 3:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

caspian wrote:
... Does time care if itís played with? And if it does, does it enjoy it and help the time traveler along?


Depends on if the time traveler plays nicely with others, shares its toys, and invites it home for a sleep over.

Fish Laughing

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hikaru
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 26, 2002 4:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Y'all's points are true. However there is one thing you're ignoring:

By changing history, Tabitha's changing the course of her personal history thus removing the desire for time travel.

Now you could say that she want's to learn it for some other reason, but she STILL won't go back in time again and save her sister, which will let her sister die, thus extending the paradox.

There's also the question that if Tabitha doesn't become a researcher, who's to say that in the altered future, SHE doesn't die for some reason. It would be pretty embarrasing to come back to the future only to find out you'd died five years earlier.

How you gonna 'splain dat one?

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whiterabbit
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 26, 2002 4:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

At which point the head of the person that is researching explodes.

Seriously, I don't know how you guys can keep up with all of it. I'm a really smart kid, and I can't even keep track of everything. If it is fate that send Tabitha back to save Sabrina becasue Sabby wasn't meant to die, don't you think that fate would fix it so that there wasn't a time loop? Surely one of those would create a lot of pain for a guardian.

If you want to be confused by parallel timelines, then the best game to play in Chrono Cross. It is VERY confusing, though still fun. ^.~

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Tygon
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 26, 2002 4:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hikaru wrote:
Y'all's points are true. However there is one thing you're ignoring:

By changing history, Tabitha's changing the course of her personal history thus removing the desire for time travel.

Now you could say that she want's to learn it for some other reason, but she STILL won't go back in time again and save her sister, which will let her sister die, thus extending the paradox.

There's also the question that if Tabitha doesn't become a researcher, who's to say that in the altered future, SHE doesn't die for some reason. It would be pretty embarrasing to come back to the future only to find out you'd died five years earlier.

How you gonna 'splain dat one?


A few possibilities.

First: Tabby takes Sabrina with her into the future. That wouldn't make it easier for her or Chris but Sabrina will be alive.

Second: The "Alternate Timeline". Tabitha' actions create an alternate timeline and her own future isn't affected by what she does.

Third: Tabitha sets something up that will make young Tabby take the way of researcher and travel back into the past on the future (okay, that sounds silly but you know what I mean Smile). Of course, this would be incredible difficult to do but theoretically is it possible.

Fourth: Chris says: It all works!!! Wink

There are more, of course but these are the best I can think of right now.

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Elfen_Furry
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 27, 2002 12:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Tygon wrote:
Hikaru wrote:
Y'all's points are true. However there is one thing you're ignoring:

By changing history, Tabitha's changing the course of her personal history thus removing the desire for time travel.

Now you could say that she want's to learn it for some other reason, but she STILL won't go back in time again and save her sister, which will let her sister die, thus extending the paradox.

There's also the question that if Tabitha doesn't become a researcher, who's to say that in the altered future, SHE doesn't die for some reason. It would be pretty embarrasing to come back to the future only to find out you'd died five years earlier.

How you gonna 'splain dat one?


A few possibilities.

First: Tabby takes Sabrina with her into the future. That wouldn't make it easier for her or Chris but Sabrina will be alive.

Second: The "Alternate Timeline". Tabitha' actions create an alternate timeline and her own future isn't affected by what she does.

Third: Tabitha sets something up that will make young Tabby take the way of researcher and travel back into the past on the future (okay, that sounds silly but you know what I mean Smile). Of course, this would be incredible difficult to do but theoretically is it possible.

Fourth: Chris says: It all works!!! Wink

There are more, of course but these are the best I can think of right now.


I'm just wondering what happened to my original post.... which was #2 on the list; right before something happened and PlanetFurry went down for the weekend as far as my connection was concerned.

But other than my typical rant... if, as some say, history and the future are written in stone and cant be modified, then time-travel is an event that is allowed by the laws of time/space itself.

On the other hand, in Wheeler's theorum where this is an infinate number of possibilities, if time travel occurs, then problems arise in where in time would one land. The time and place might be right, but what of the event and probability settings?
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