Thoughts for a new turn of the solar system....

...Over on that one site-the one they made a movie about? Yeah. Over there, one of my very oldest friends (I've known him since he was 5 and I was 4) posed this question: If a magic portal suddenly appeared in front of you, and a voice said you can go back one time- for an event, a mistake, or to travel to the future- what would you do?

It's an interesting logic puzzle, and there really isn't a 'right' answer, but it's along the lines of my 'What would you do if you won the lottery?' mind-occupier, which makes it right up my alley.  I realized right away there were too many connotations, and the question isn't as simple as it first seems.  There would be conditions, methinks, and situations to consider, definitely. Conditions could range from the stereotypical time-traveler's paradox all the way to definitions of the terms used. Situations to consider... Dear Reader, you have to understand that I really cannot say 'best' or 'worst' or 'favorite' or 'hated' because it really does depend on the situation at hand. For instance: Favorite food? My immediate thought becomes: What type of food? Main course, ingredient, raw food, flavor, what? Give me more details and I may be able to answer your question.

Sic-un has played a bit with me, asking me to describe stuff.  I find myself beginning to answer like a Fair Witness, filled with detail and nothing to chance, nothing assumed. My mind really does work to that level. If you tell me blue, I'll ask if it's the baby blue or the royal blue or the midnight blue- I see in several million colors and there are different meanings to everything in the world. My blue is not your blue. My answer depends on the details that can be provided. When the question is as devoid of detail as the one he has asked, my answer gets longer. For example...

Events... How many people would choose to go back to that grassy knoll in Dallas? What would they do once they were there? Don't even get me started on 9/11. Here's one... How many people would choose to go to Sarejevo in 1914? Would it make a difference? COULD you make a difference?  Let's look at my answers to this part of the question- keeping in mind I operate on detailed information: If you say event, do you mean historically verifiable event? How far back? How famous, infamous or innocuous does that event have to be? Will my actions when there affect the outcome or will I only be able to observe? Let's pick a few and see how the answers change.
Let's say it could be any name-able event ("When Home Sapiens first discovered fire" doesn't count, because Sapiens didn't 'discover' it) that is plausible.  Please note: I did NOT say verifiable.
According to the time-traveler's paradox, I'll only be able to observe.

I can only observe and it has to be plausible and name-able?
Oh, Dear Reader... I'd want to be there to see Maestro fly...

Let's change the parameters.
Observe, but it has to be a familial time-line event: I'd wanna be there when Gramma met Grampa in the hospital in Chicago. OR! I'd like to be there when Acey married Delilah.
Personal event: *quiet smile* Nope...Not gonna tell (much too...heart-close)
Observe, historical event: I'd like to observe the signing of the Declaration.
Observe, IMplausible event: I'd like to observe Arthur's knights in fellowship. Something tells me it would be one hell of a party!
Now change all that to participate, and you open the full can o' proverbial worms. First: If it's participation, the time-traveler's paradox doesn't apply, I would think. How deeply will my participation affect events? Is it a 'mulligan'? Do I get to try it and if I don't like the outcome- even millennia later- I can say 'Oopsie!' and have what I did erased from the time-line as if it never happened (this is magic, after all)? Can I pick the parameters of my participation? Is it going to be realistic or not?
I think that last is a very important detail. I know a LOT of re-enactors who would say they want to go back to the court of Edward I, for example. Not me. Nope. The smells would sicken me, I think, if not the bugs. My system isn't set up to handle diseases of the 13th century, either. They still had smallpox! (as an aside, yes, I've been vaccinated, but still... SMALLPOX!) People DIED from the FLU all the time. They were filthy! At least, by today's standards, they were filthy. I don't think I could handle the no bathing and the lice. *shudder*
And then you have to add in your role in any proceedings. If you're participating, you have to decide how much you want to fuck up history. What happens if you go back and, say, give JFK's convertible a flat so they have to take the limo? Does he die? If he doesn't die in Dallas, does it create a hole in his personal universe so he dies suddenly a different time, still causing LBJ and Viet Nam? Or does he not die in Dallas, we don't have LBJ, we don't go to Viet Nam... what happens then? Does his prodigal son continue the Kennedy tradition of killing women?  You stop the bullet in Sarajevo, Franz Ferdinand doesn't die, there is no WWI. What then?
Do you want to be responsible for all of that history? Knowing what we know now? How did we achieve what we know now?

Mistakes... The above is why I don't acknowledge 'mistakes'. I have had serious lapses in judgment. I admit that freely. Were they 'mistakes'? No. The lapses were what I felt the best course of action was at the time and the events make me ME. I am who I am because I made these choices. I thought they were the best choices at the time, and I don't want to go back and change it. It's part of me, of my own personal universe. How did I become who I am? Look at my life. Every choice I've made has created me.
So I don't make what I would consider mistakes. I have made errors in spelling, grammar, typos, those errata type things, but... Mistakes? No. What I have done, what has happened throughout my own personal universe, that has culminated in Me. And I kinda like Me, you know?

Future... Aw, now, THIS is what people want, this is what people really want to know... The Future! But again... Same details are necessary, because going forward can- not does- contain the same paradox as going back. It's been a staple of almost every time-travel to the future fiction created: You can't go forward and get the winning lottery numbers for next weekend's lotto because it changes the odds in strange ways that make it not work.

I don't believe the paradox to be true, actually. YES, you can change timelines and histories other than your own. But! I'm a firm believer in the theory that not only is the future fluid and changeable, but also that everyone's personal universes can touch in strange and interesting ways that DO work. I believe that if a portal to the future opened, and a voice told me "Climb in, you can go where you want, you can come back with the knowledge you gain," I'd get the numbers for the lottery as they were being drawn. Schrodinger's Cat, ladies and gentlemen, is what solves the paradox of the future. My being there as the numbers are drawn changes the parameters of the whole equation, and that right there is what is writing the future.

With any question like this, anything that throws us into impossible 'think on your feet' situations, the devil is in the details.

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