Time travel is confusing, and can have drastic effects.
Imagine a world where you were the last living grandson of Hitler. You grew up reading and learning the terrible things that your grandfather did, and you realize that this isn’t what you want your family to be known for. And so, you spend your entire life solving the issue of time. Time only moves forward… that is until now.
After years of work, you finally achieve your life’s goal. You’ve built a fully functional time machine. You go back in time to 1930. And so, you find and carefully kill your grandfather. Congratulations, you’re a murderer… but you’ve also prevented the death of tens of millions of other people. But, now since your grandfather no longer exists, neither does one of your parents, and subsequently, neither do you. So if you don’t exist, then who killed your grandfather?
This is known as the Grandfather Paradox. It sounds absurd at first glance, but on closer inspection, you find out that it’s in fact, logical. Does the timeline you’re living in snap off into a new one, or have you literally changed history forever? Well, it isn’t really history now, is it? You’re just impacting your new present. If you were to travel back to the modern day, 2021, what might the new world look like? Would it even exist?
Paradoxes are all around us, and you would be surprised at how common they are in our day to day lives.
I’m sure everyone watching this video has been to the beach before, if you haven’t, well you should try it sometime. The water is beautiful and the heaps of sand make really nice sand castles… until the tides knock them over and well, ruin them. But wait, what makes a “heap of sand” a heap of sand?
Let’s say this; this heap of sand contains 1,000,000 grains of sand. Let’s remove just a single grain of sand. Does it still remain a heap? Yes? Well how about I take out another? And another?
If your answer is still yes, then we must come to the conclusion that even after I take out 999,998 grains of sand, it still remains a heap of sand.
Let’s take a different approach. Let’s do it in reverse, starting with one grain of sand. We go from one, to ten, to ten thousand. At what point does it become a heap of sand again?
We apply labels to so many things, mostly for visual purposes. But in theory, things can get confusing.
The most expensive cruise ship in the world is named the Symphony of the Seas, and it cost nearly $1.5 billion dollars to create.The features aboard the ship include 22 restaurants, 24 pools, an ice-skating rink, and even a full-size basketball court. For that price, the ship better be original, a one-of-a-kind vessel. After 3 years on the sea, it’s safe to say that this ship is, still in fact, still original. But as we all know, things go bad, things break, and over time, things begin to need to be replaced.
So, let’s say in ten years, the Symphony of the Seas rennovates it’s ice-skating rink. 20 years after that, the ship's restaurants are all renovated. Then, in 50 years, all the steel forming the ship is replaced with new steel. At that point, can we still call the ship original? Is it still the Symphony of the Seas?
What if all of the old parts that were removed from the ship were used to make an entirely new ship, which of these two ships would you call the original Symphony of the Seas? The one that had all its parts replaced? Or the one that was made from all the replaced parts?
What makes something original?
Humans are just like that ship. If you look at a picture from when you were a baby and compare it with what you look like now, you would see a world of difference. You have new hair, new teeth, you’ve grown a little taller, got a bit heavier, and maybe you even changed complexion slightly.
So, are you original? Now you might say “Oh, it’s your thoughts and actions that make you original,” but most of us used to believe that an old fat guy flew around the planet and somehow brought presents down all of our chimneys in a single night. Some of you might have even believed that babies came from the store when you were a kid, and unless you still believe those now, your thoughts and convictions have also changed, so what exactly makes you original? What makes you, you?
It’s not so simple.
Speaking of original, have you ever heard of the term anti-stratfordian? Yeah, me neither. However, these are people who don’t believe that Williams Shakespeare wrote the works that were attributed to him. It might sound like a dumb hoax, but people like Mark Twain, Helen Keller, Sigmund Freud, and even Prince Phillip all believe this theory. The argument they claim is that Shakespeare didn’t have the education or traveling experience to write the works that he did. But if Williams Shakespeare didn’t write the books, then who did?
The Bootstrap Paradox might just have the answer.
It’s the year 2109, and a young boy named William who was in love with the works of Shakespeare stumbled on a time machine. So, as any normal person wouldn’t do, he got into the machine and set the time to 1610, the height of Shakespeare’s popularity. Upon his arrival, he went in search of the famous playwright in London where he was working at the time. The boy asked a few people, but no one knew where to find the great Shakespeare, in fact, they had never even heard the name before.
Confused and devastated, the boy didn’t know what was going on. But then he remembered that he always carries a copy of Romeo and Juliet in his bag, because who doesn’t, right? So he brought out this book, rewrote it, and published it under the name William Shakespeare, in honor of his idol.
But if there was no William Shakespeare to begin with, who wrote the Romeo and Juliet that he brought with him? This is the Bootstrap Paradox - an object or piece of information that is sent back in time essentially becomes trapped in the past in an infinite cause-effect loop. It has no point of origin.
Now in our scenario, that boy is stuck in what is known as a “causal loop.” In the future, in 2109 as a young boy, he’ll stumble on the Romeo and Juliet book again, and the exact same sequence of events will happen again, and again, and again, forever.
This begs the question - how do we know that we aren’t just reliving what has already happened? How are we sure that, everyday we wake up, we’re not stuck in a causal loop as well?
Because here’s the thing, if we were, we would never know.
Although we can remember the past, we can’t remember the future, so we would never know if something that’s about to happen has already happened. Deja Vu gets us pretty close, though. Literally translating to “already seen”, Deja Vu is the feeling that you’ve experienced the present situation before.
But what if Deja Vu isn’t just a feeling? What if we’re truly reliving that present event again and again, and we can only remember it in parts because our brains just aren’t strong enough to retain all the information in the loop?
The older we get, the worse our observation skills become. Our brains feel like we already understand how the world works, and so we draw conclusions about things that we can never say for sure are true.
How do you know the light in the fridge is off if you’ve never seen it for yourself? If a tree falls in the forest and no one hears it, does it make a sound? You can make assumptions, but you can never be certain. This paradox is called “Schrödinger’s Cat”, and the way it was originally phrased is a lot more grim.
Basically, you put a cat in a box with a poisonous gas and a radioactive atom that has a 50% chance of decaying within the next hour. If the atom decays completely, it triggers the gas which then kills the cat. However, the radioactive decay is completely random, and so no one can tell when exactly that might happen.
What is the state of the cat before Schrödinger opens the box? Is it dead or alive? Essentially, Schrodinger is saying that until the box is opened, the cat must be thought of as both alive and dead. It exists in a blurred reality. When Schrödinger observes it, the cat fits into a single reality. Who knows, maybe the other possibility happens in a parallel universe. Until the box is opened, neither outcome can be certain.
Alright we went dark there for a moment, and as the saying goes, there’s a rainbow after every storm, but is there? The rainbow only exists when we look at it, when you take your eyes away, the rainbow ceases to exist. This is not a paradox, it’s just really fun to think about.
Rainbows are basically optical illusions formed by raindrops, the Sun, and the angle we’re seeing everything from. This is why you can never see the end of a rainbow; no matter how fast or far you move, the rainbow will always be the same distance away from you.
While scientists give this explanation for the existence of a rainbow, religious people attribute it to the work of a deity, a God. But whether you believe in a God or you believe in nothing, this causes me to question things.
It brings to mind the Omnipotence Paradox. Can an omnipotent being create a rock too big for themselves to lift? Think about it for a second.
If you say yes, then they aren’t omnipotent because there now exists something they cannot do, a rock they cannot lift. And if you say no, then how can they be regarded as omnipotent if they can’t do anything and everything?
Well, if we ever find this omnipotent being, maybe they’ll also be omniscient and finally put this paradox to rest. Until then, we keep searching.
Searching for knowledge, or learning, is a fundamental part of life. It’s what has gotten us this far as a species. We saw the world around us, asked questions about how it works, got answers, and we learned, or at least this is what the scientific method describes to us. But the truth is, we never learn anything new by asking questions, we only learn answers that already existed.
In the words of Socrates, “A man cannot search either for what he knows or for what he does not know. He cannot search for what he knows — since he knows it, there is no need to search — nor for what he does not know, for he does not know what to look for.”
Which is a strange quote, because every scientific, technological, and philosophical breakthrough we have achieved has come from asking questions, or has it?
A while back I made a video titled “the english language is a giant meme..”, because… it is. But creating that video didn’t only open my eyes to the many confusions in the language, but it also kept my eyes open to finding even more discrepancies in the future.
The word autological refers to a word that describes itself. Multisyllabic is multisyllabic, a noun is a noun, and English is English. Heterological, on the other hand, refers to words that do not describe themselves. Blue isn’t blue, hyphenated isn’t hy-phenated, and triangle isn’t a triangle.
Autological is autological since it describes itself, but is heterological heterological?
If you say no, that means it describes itself, which means it is heterological. But then if you say yes, that means it does not describe itself, which means it is heterological, the endless loop continues forever.
And you know guys, I have a confession to make: this entire video is a lie. If that statement is true, then everything in this video is a lie, including that statement, which means everything in this video is true. But if everything in the video is true, then that statement must also be true, but if that statement is true, it isn’t.
You got it? Good.
Is anything I said true? Is anything truly real? I’ll let you decide on that one.
Time travel is confusing, and can have drastic effects.
- EE, MM