I was watching a season a week ago when I came across a rather wonderous concept, dramatized in a very unique way. It was a German season named “Dark” and started with children missing in a mysterious way without leaving any sort of trace. At first, it appeared as a case of serial killings or a case of supernatural involvement. However, as soon as the events started to unfold, it was revealed that the source of this mysteriousness was a door in a cave at the back of a Nuclear Plant. Behind that door was a crack in the fabric of reality which allowed people to travel back and forth in time. The concept that was explored in a rather different and unique style than any other we are familiar with, was “Time Travel”.
Time Travel has been a subject of interest for most people, and not just scientists, for more than a century. We all have come across many movies or seasons where the concept of time, time travel, and time machines have been elaborated in apparently different but virtually the same way. These explain time travel as punching a hole through the fabric of time and create a passageway to travel back in the past or, say, travel forth into the future in any time desired. But it is not just that simple now, is it? To me, it seems a bit “mythical” or “biblical”. In my opinion, time travel is the arrangement or occurrence of certain events at a specific time with a specific speed that creates an illusion of traveling through time.
Two sides of time travel exist. One is non-fiction which is explored and explained through science. But some say it to be fatal to make such an attempt. The other is fiction which is explained and explored in movies, books, seasons, comics, etc. but is called science- fiction because scientific theories are also applied, bending and enhancing it through imagination. To a more general understanding, time travel is both non-fiction and fiction. However, the latter fascinates the majority of minds more than the former now, doesn’t it?
Time travel is associated with general relativity, given by Albert Einstein nearly a century ago, which gives several conditions for it to happen. One condition is to achieve the speed of light or more in a vacuum to create a wormhole that allows a person to go back and forth in time. But this appears to be impossible in reality. Alternate time travel theories were developed to make this concept less complicated.
To travel in time, a device called a time-machine is required. It uses exotic matter called “negative energy density” which bends gravity to create a space-time curve. However, a few research shows that it is possible to make a time-machine without exotic matter. Inside a normal matter, a doughnut-shaped hole is developed with a vacuum inside in which the traveler would run, allowing him to go back further with each lap. Comic series “Flash” shows this concept in the form of a particle accelerator which, in its destroyed form, acted like the doughnut-shaped vacuum hole. It also showed a spaceship-like time machine which was used by Eobard Thawn as a traveling device, equipped to go through the worm-hole. Almost every season or movie or book shows some kind of a time-machine but season “Dark” showed two different concepts of time-machine. One was a box in which there were various gears and pressure pumps, tied together which only works with the electromagnetic force. This force was produced by mobiles when connected. Another is an ascendant-like device that had an in-built source of electromagnetic charge, allowing the traveler to jump through time.
Different movies and seasons enhanced the idea of time travel through imagination in different ways. “Interstellar” or “A Wrinkle in Time” had tesseracts that folded time as a vessel to allow time travel. “Doctor Who” had an extra-dimensional vortex to go through time. In “Harry Potter”, a time turner was used to travel back in time. In “Superman”, the protagonist flew faster than the speed of light to travel back. In “Flash”, they used a cosmic treadmill and then the particle accelerator, combined with the speed of another speedster, to travel through time. Both “Flash” and a novel by Gregory Benford named “Timescape” used tachyon particles to achieve the goal. A few time paradoxes, however, stand in the way of the traveler to travel in time.
Time is such a delicate concept that while traveling through it, any interference, no matter how small, can unpredictably change things and the results could be devastating. It could create an alternate timeline, an alternate reality, where the lives of people, whether we knew them or not in the original timeline, can be so much different in so many ways that we can not even fathom. In “Flash”, Barry’s mother is murdered in the original time-line and his father is wrongfully convicted for it. He came to live with Detective Joe West and his daughter Iris West. Struck by lightning, he made new marvelous friends, Cisco Ramon and Dr. Catlin Snow. He came under the supervision of a super-genius scientist named Harrison Wells.
The time he traveled back one day, he caught and locked up the Weather Wizard before he could create a tidal wave to destroy Central City. The event was replaced by Cisco’s Kidnapping. He gained the ability to create wormholes with his speed. In the third season, zoom killed his father right in front of his eyes and he ran back after that into time to reset every disaster he ever went through by saving his mom and created “Flash Point” which generated an entirely new time-line where his mother is alive and things are so different. Things went smooth until the time paradox reached and Barry started to lose his memories from the original timeline. He tried to reset the time-line but as warned, it didn’t. Things got so messed up and the results were way too devastating. Diggle had a son instead of a daughter, Cisco’s brother died and he is traumatized, Catlin becomes “Killer Frost” and Iris is not going to be Barry’s wife as before but is now destined to be killed by Savatar, the Speed God.
Another example is from season “Dark” which I was watching a couple of weeks ago. In this season, no alternate timeline is generated but the reality becomes much more muddled. An infinite loop of 33 years had been activated. Things happen in the same manner every 33 years. A kid named Mikkel Neilson disappeared in the woods and a pattern showed that kids had gone missing in the same way as they did 33 years ago like the brother of Ulrich Neilson. Back then they were taken for the experiment of a time machine but now they were being taken to generate that infinite loop but the circumstances were all the same. Coming episodes reveal that he was led to the portal to go through it into the past where he was adopted by the nurse and was named Michael. As he grew up, he married a woman named Hannah who gave birth to Jonas. The birth of Mikkel is a fixed point so he’s bound to be born again. However, this time he existed both, as a child and an adult. The adult version committed suicide once he saw his child version again, overwhelmed with emotions and confusion.
All this happens because of the travelers, and the plan was concocted by Adam, an old version of Jonas. The stranger, the adult version of Jonas, tried to stop it with the help of another traveler named Claudia Tiedemann. Mikkel had a brother Magnus and a sister Martha. They became the uncle and aunt of Jonas because of this time travel. Whereas in the current timeline of 2020, they all are friends and Martha and Jonas are in love, ignorant of the reality. This means that Jonas is in love with his aunt, Ulrich is not just his uncle but grandfather also and Hannah is not just Ulrich’s secret lover but also, daughter-in-law. Charlotte is a police detective and had a second daughter named Elizabeth. Some events led to an apocalypse where Elizabeth met a teen version of Noah, the whole carrier of the plan as an adult, who took her back in time. They got married and gave birth to a beautiful daughter who they named after her mother Charlotte.
When the kid grew up, she became the same Charlotte as in the time of 2020, a police detective, who named her second daughter Elizabeth since she was also bound to be born. This means that now Charlotte is both, mother and daughter of Elizabeth and Elizabeth is both, mother and daughter of Charlotte. There are also so many versions of the same person at a time. Jonas existed as a teen, adult, and old version in 2057. Mikkel existed as a child and adult in 2020 as did Jonas. Adult and old version of Claudia and her father can be seen at various points. All tie lines of 1857, 1986, 2020, 2057, and so on, are shown simultaneously that created a web of curious characters and events which revealed fractured relationships between four families; Nielson, Kahnwald, Doppler, and Tiedemann. This is how things can be messed up if time is meddled with. It is still a piece of fiction but the non-fiction reality can be considered as a fair warning of what could happen with time travel.
Let’s make an application in the current world. Did anyone feel as if he or she has traveled through time when one night they slept in a peaceful world where everything is so smooth, nice, and slow (excluding some events and issues, of course) and woke up in a chaotic world where everyone is battling against a common, unseen enemy Covid-19, a virus due to which people started to die like beads start to fall out of a necklace after its broken? A world where people were free and without a constant enemy and a constant fear of death, feels like a dream now while living in a world where they are prisoners of this unseen enemy and constant fear of who dies next. It is as much a miracle and power of time as it is of the human mind to create such illusions. So, what do you believe in? Is it really a person’s ability to travel through the fabric of reality from one time period to another? Or, it is just the occurrence of events in a specific way that causes this illusion of time travel?