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Our Obsession With Time Travel Explained | Science | National Geographic

Time

Time is difficult to explain. When looking for a dictionary explanation, time is described as "the general term for the experience of duration." But what is duration?

We have contradictory ways of speaking about time. We think of time as a quantity. It is something we waste, spend, or save. We also think of time as a medium we are passing through every day.

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Our Obsession With Time Travel Explained | Science | National Geographic

Our Obsession With Time Travel Explained | Science | National Geographic

https://www.nationalgeographic.com.au/science/time-travel-probably-isnt-possiblewhy-do-we-wish-it-were.aspx

nationalgeographic.com.au

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Key Ideas

Time

Time is difficult to explain. When looking for a dictionary explanation, time is described as "the general term for the experience of duration." But what is duration?

We have contradictory ways of speaking about time. We think of time as a quantity. It is something we waste, spend, or save. We also think of time as a medium we are passing through every day.

The idea of time travel

The idea of time travel is a very recent idea that starts with H.G. Wells's 1895 novel, The Time Machine. After that, we find the concept in American science fiction, or in modernist literature - each twisting time in new ways, to explore the unpredictability of memory.

Stephen Hawking also played with the idea of time travel. He proposed the idea that it can't happen because it didn't happen.

Our perception of time

The internet changed our perception of time: We're looking at the past on our video screens, and it's just as clear as something in the present, making it feel like an unending present.

Time travel is also a powerful way to imagine what the future might bring. Time travel allows us to explore the consequences of our worst tendencies.

Scientists and time travel

Over 50 scientific papers are published a year on the idea of time travel. Even though they will probably never solve the problem of time travel, they still love to talk about wormholes and dark matter.

Einstein, with his theory of relativity, spoke of time as a fourth dimension. After that, Hermann Minkowski said that we should talk about space and time as a union of the two, spacetime, where the future already exists, and the past still exists. Today we're comfortable talking about time as a fourth dimension.

Time travel is fascinating

One of the reasons we continue to be so fascinated with time travel is that we can go back and undo our mistakes. Then we also have a curiosity about the future.

However, every time travel story is about death. The idea of time travel is ultimately about our desire to defeat death.

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Understanding Time

According to physicist Albert Einstein, time is not a constant phenomenon as it appears, but is an illusion, and can vary from different vantage points.

Space is three-dimensional, and Time, according to the famous physicist, is the fourth dimension. It also speeds up or slows down, so is actually subjective, as stated in his Theory Of Special Relativity.

Space-Time

Einstein's theory of general relativity says that Time can be bent, stretched and squeezed, and the four-dimensional fabric with a huge mass creates a dimple, or bending of Space-Time, causing gravity.

This effect of time dilation is proven using GPS satellite technology in space, making astronauts not only travel space but in a slightly different time than the earthlings.

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The perception of time

Although some physicists would argue against the existence of time, we all do have a perception of time that reflects the reality of our lives on Earth.

False pasts

Most of us forget more than we remember. We change memories to make sense of what has happened in our lives. When we then recall a memory, we reconstruct the events in our minds and even shape them to fit in with any new information.

Understand the future

Many of us think of our past as a kind of a video library where we can look at records of our lives. If memories were fixed like videotapes, you would find it difficult to imagine a new situation.

It is our past memories that help us imagine a future, and to preview future events. This skill of using the past to predict the future helps us try out different hypothetical scenarios before we commit.

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Excuses Breed More Failure

When you are disappointed, you have two choices on how to respond:  You can find out how you could have done it differently, or you can tell yourself that you were not at fault.

Personal Responsibility Breeds Success

Making excuses allows you to externalize your failures and blame something else. It also demotivates you when you feel the outcomes in your life are out of your control.

Taking up responsibility does the opposite: It leads to introspection where you can analyze what you could have done differently. It will motivate you to work better and harder.

How To Stop Making Excuses

It all comes down to the stories you tell yourself when you feel overwhelmed or fail.

If you work too much and don’t have time for fun, do you tell yourself that people demand too much from you? Or, do you tell yourself you don’t prioritize your own time well enough?

In one story you are in control, and the other you are not. Focus on the story you can control.