"Time Travel and Consciousness"

BTG Issue: 
September/October 2007 | Vol. 41 No. 5
"Is time travel possible? Both Einstein and the Vedic literature have an answer."

"In 1898 H. G. Wells published his famous story of the time machine – a machine that would enable a human time traveler to visit any desired time in the past or future. We have no idea how this fictional machine might have worked, but people have spent a great deal of time and effort to see if traveling through time might actually be possible. It turns out that some forms of time travel were contemplated in the Puranic traditions of India, and that empirical evidence pointing to possible time travel can be found both in modern physics and in the study of paranormal phenomena. ...

"[T]hese ideas about time travel [considered in modern physics] are set in the context of [Einstein's] theory of relativity, which posits a static space-time world in which there is no passage of time. If the passage of time is truly an illusion, then the question arises of who or what is deluded. This leads to two questions: What is consciousness, and How does consciousness fit into the space-time picture? ...

"In summary, the idea of time travel can be consistently developed in the context of the the theory of relativity and the many-worlds interpretation of quantum mechanics. At the same time, the theory of relativity provides a framework for understanding how timeless consciousness and the timeless physical continuum could be linked to allow for the experience of time. The many-worlds theory, in turn, reconciles Einstein's timeless space-time with random events, and a similar reconciliation (in which free choice selects branches) provides a way in which free will can operate in a world obedient to physical laws. So by exploring the idea of time travel, we are led to an understanding of more fundamental issues involving consciousness and matter."

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