So I’ve been thinking about time travel an awful lot lately. It seems to me that time travel would be a very useful and dangerous ability to have.
It would certainly be wonderful to go back and tell the 16 year old me to do a few things differently. Of course I probably wouldn’t have listened to me anyway though, since I wouldn’t be telling myself anything I hadn’t already heard from a bunch of old people like me. Also there is that whole butterfly / trees falling down thing. The little changes made in time travel could drastically alter the present (future)and that could be bad. Or possibly good, but who could know for sure? Better to be on the safe side of not destroying the space time continuum. (Thanks Dr. Brown)
I think, more than time travel though, I am interested in the idea of a full knowledge intact do over. Meaning that I could know everything I know now and would have the opportunity to go back and re-do everything from a set age on. Probably from about 15 or 16 years old and going forward since most of my terrible decisions occurred between 15 and 22. There are so many things I would do differently. Assuming this mulligan were possible, it leaves me with two major questions.
1. Would doing things differently result in me ending up in a less desirable position than I am currently in?
What I mean by this is that there are certain parts of my current life I wouldn’t want to change. Would making better decisions along the way end up leading me into a place where it is impossible to still have the things I want? Ideally I would still end up with the things I like about my current life and would only make decisions that would change the parts I don’t like. Would that be possible though? I wonder if our bad choices are such an integral part of the path and if removing them would mean a different destination would be unavoidable. Could I make better relationship decisions as a teenager and still end up with my wife? I don’t know. I don’t know. Maybe it’s too risky.
2. Would some of my full knowledge be erased as I went through and did things differently?
By this I mean that if I chose to not do something because of knowing what would happen, would I then lose all memory of it ever happening since it now never happened?
This is a confusing question and I’m not sure how to clarify. It’s like this. Let’s say I murdered someone in my past. Hypothetically of course.
I would be going back and making changes to not repeat my mistakes and so I decide on my do-over to not murder that person (even though they deserved it). When that time passes and I don’t go homicidal, do I then forget it ever happened since it never happened? Then, losing the memory of why I didn’t want it to happen, would I then just decide to commit the same action all over again since I have no memory of the reasons why I wished I didn’t do it? It’s all very confusing.
Overall I still think it would be desirable to get to go back and re-live life knowing everything I know now, but since it’s so hard to make good decisions now, knowing everything I do, I don’t know why I think it would be easy to go back and make better decisions then, factoring all the angstiness of the teenage years. Those chemicals certainly conspire against us.
I guess it’s more important to just live in the now and make good decisions going forward. But I can’t help but wonder, what if....