Lately I’ve been having a number of dreams and discussions about time travel. I’ve always been fascinated by the concept of time travel through TV shows and movies I watch, and the books I read. So while my son has dreams that are vivid but can’t be remembered and my wife has dreams about the real world and all issues that come with it, I dream about time and how to move through it.
My first dream earlier this week dealt with a friend of mine who had a way to manipulate time so that he could go back or send back people through time to collect artifacts. This dream could have been influenced by a number of Time Travel historian books that I’ve read. The Doomsday Book and To Say Nothing of the Dog, both by Connie Willis or Pastwatch: The redemption of Christopher Columbus by Orson Scott Card. In my dream, I find myself back in time in the year 2002. I have discovered that there is a covert operation to retrieve some artifacts by a group of agents that were sent by their leader, Craig (who happens to be a physicist). I further discover when questioning these operatives that they have been there since 1998. My dream then next goes onto trying to unravel the reasons for these thefts. It turns out that I was also sent back by Craig. My goal is to get back in time and stop Craig from doing whatever he is planning. This part however occurs when I begin to wake up, so it is never resolved.
In my semi-conscious state I begin to think about the impact of historical time travel. By taking items from history, do you not in fact change history? I think about if I were to go back in history to learn more about historical events I would want to take a digital camera and recorder. That way I could get real images and sounds to represent the historical events, which shouldn’t change history. Of course then I start to think about what would happen if I were caught with digital equipment back in time; How I could be accused of witchcraft (depending on the period of time I go back to.) Now I’m in a wakeful state and thinking philosophically.
Sharing these kinds of dreams with my family gets very strange looks. My son already thinks I’m weird with my dreams, because he can’t believe my dreams are so detailed and played out. My wife was never much into Science Fiction, so she has no interest in hearing about these dreams.
While driving my son to his summer program following that dream I posed the question of where in time he would like to go if he could travel through it. This gets us on a big discussion of how one travels through time. His response was that he would travel “up”. I thought you could only go forwards or backwards through time. He tried to explain to me about he physics of time and space and how you could actually go forward, backwards, up or down. When I tried to find an example to show him that I understood what he meant, which I’m not sure I did, I just continued to prove to him how ignorant I was and the conversation was changed.
My latest dream about time happened last night. In this one, I was back in time during World War II. I was writing a book to be published about my experiences in WWII. The interesting part of this dream was I had already published the book in my present day and somehow got transported back in time to WWII when I began recording all of the information that was in the book. I got transported back with the full knowledge of the book, it being published, and all of the events in my life up until the time I was sent back in time. It’s like becoming 18 again, but keeping all the knowledge and memories that you gained over the last 40 years. Wouldn’t that be nice?
Again as usual, I begin to wake up prior to the resolution of my dream and begin to think philosophically about the issues that the dream raised. Unless I resolve the dream and return to my present time, I am trapped in an infinite loop. I experience the event, write the book, get it published, then go back in time to the experience. When do I get to continue my life? These are the things I am debating with myself as I wake up to start the day. As usual no one in my family is interested in the issues or experiences raised in my dream.
Time being what it is, I move on. I’m sure I will continue to have these types of dreams and internal debates about time and time travel. Maybe I’ll even write about it or tell about it some day. Or have I already done that?