Time travel and regrets

I have always been fascinated with the possibility of time travel. It seems that this is true of many people too. When I was talking about fatalism in the Metaphysics class and asked the question whether a person who traveled to the past and made predictions about the future (i.e. future from the perspective of the past that he was now in) always made correct predictions (the answer seems to be "Yes" because he was from the future), the whole class jumped in the discussion, but focused entirely on the possibility of time travel, whether the past can be changed, etc. I had to remind them that our topic was fatalism, not time travel (yet).

I think the most fascinating aspect of the possibility of time travel is not the possibility of knowing or seeing the past (or the future), but the possibility of changing the past, and hence changing the future as well. It is so fascinating because most of us would very much like to change at least some parts of our past. We all have regrets. There were actions that we wish we had not taken. There were decisions that we now see as wrong. There were things that we wish we could have stopped from happening...


  1. Do you think the the ability of making changes will make no regrets? I don't think so. Changes can be in two directions, good or bad. If we can't change things to make perfect, situation might become worse. But what is pefect?

  2. Yes, even if we could go back and change the past, it does not mean we would not have (new) regrets. But wishes are not always rational.

  3. For me the pleasure of time travel lies in an opportunity to look back, to see how myself went thru a journey, to see pain and sorrow turned into pure an episode in life.

    I enjoy looking forward more than looking backward.

    In fact people always imagine a chance of going back to the past and making an alternate choice of what had happened, to see how life would have been developed, if not A but B. That could be facinating.

  4. karol,

    You may like these words by Kierkegaard:

    "It is perfectly true, as philosophers say, that life must be understood backwards. But they forget the other proposition, that it must be lived forwards."

  5. It's just such a paradox!
    if the future should be able to tell...
    but if the past could be changed,
    is there a definite, fated future?
    or is this where the alternate universe theory comes in? ack!

    P.S. And then sci-fi tackled this issue this way: can you kill yourself from the past? WHAAAT?
    ~mind blown~