Time Travel or the Rip Van Winkle Complex
Where did the idea of time travel originate from? What were some of the earliest time travel tales ever told? What are the consequences of traveling into the far future? With new advancements in technology happening every new generation, the world can change dramatically every ten or twenty years, and everything that came before is left in the pages of history.
Time travel and its origins: The concept of time travel has been around for nearly 3000 years. The idea of traveling through time to the past, present and future is not a new concept. The concept of time travel has been used in ancient folklore and modern fiction for centuries.
The Scientist Albert Einstein tried to explain it in the early 1900s, with his theory of relativity and modern science has been able to prove; it is possible to travel into the future, using his theory. But where did it all start?
One of the earliest tales of time travel comes from Hindu mythology, Mahabharata, circa 700 BC. In this ancient story, the King Revaita goes on a journey into the heavens and meets God.
He travels far into the sky and meets the Creator Brahma, and then he returns home and discovers by his surprise to find that many years have gone by on the Earth. This is a very interesting tale, because life on earth continued while he was gone.
As he looked around, he noticed that everything had changed, the landscape, the weather, the entire environment, the culture of people, and the evolution of man had continued on.
The King discovered that all his friends and relatives and everyone he ever knew were all gone. They all had died over the long forgotten centuries of time. He was a total stranger in this future world. Everything was different and new to him.
What makes this ancient Hindu tale so interesting is that this is exactly what happens to a space traveler who journeys far out into space. Just like being inside a space craft traveling at the speed of light to some great distant star or planet. Traveling far away from the Earth you encounter the phenomenon called time dilation.
As you accelerate to this great velocity, special relativity theory kicks in and the astronaut on this journey in space ages very slowly and on his return trip back home, he’ll discover that the Earth has aged years, if not centuries while he was gone. This has been proven as fact.
Another early concept of time travel dating back some 2,000 years ago comes from the Japanese tale of “Urashima Taro.” This story is about a fisherman who goes on a three-day journey and returns back to his village and discover that 300 years have gone by. Everything that he owns is gone and his family is dead.
Time travel in these early concepts seems to be a solitary event, where the time traveler is spontaneously transported into the future. Very similar but less dramatic is the Washington Irving story of “Rip Van Winkle,” written in 1819.
This famous tale is about a man named Rip Van Winkle who falls asleep up top a mountain and awakens 20 years later into the future, and not feeling a day older himself.
Mankind has often wondered what life would be like in our future. How would the measure of progress stand up against ideals and beliefs? What kind of new science or medicine, new technology, and advance achievements will be achieved in the next 50 or 100 years, even in 1000 years from now? Everyone who’s ever lived has always wanted a sort of magical looking glass into the future.
To see what’s ahead. To be given a glimpse of the future. Objectively, we can review our own history and see how the level of civilization has changed over the course of time.
How great cultures and empires have risen and fallen. How the skill of technology and science has advanced over the ages from the Bronze Age to the Industrial Age.
But time for us is constant, and we are stuck in a space and time continuum, always moving forward, always in a linear fashion, never going backwards. What if we could go back in time?
Break the bonds of our three-dimensional existence we find ourselves in and move into the fourth dimension and traveled back in time.
How would we get there and what device would take us there? Is this the stuff of science fiction or has science finally reached the conclusion that time travel is possible?
Could we change history, or would we harm it by just being there? Would we create a paradox? Questions like these open up a Pandora’s Box of all sorts of possibilities, including the controversial theory of parallel universes.
In parallel universes, every choice, every deed, every action we have ever done or thought about doing has ran its course and a path stretching out of a fork of many conclusions. Parallel universes are a concept for another time.