Thursday, 4 August 2016

The Difficulties Of Changing The Past

I remarked here that:

If I were in the Time Patrol timeline and were able to prevent the Holocaust, then I would feel obliged to do so.

However, I would probably not be able to:

Would I even have access to a time machine?

How would I know where and when to intervene in order to prevent the Holocaust - and without making something even worse (!) happen instead? (The Exaltationists had to invest many lifespan years in researching how to wreck a past civilization.)

How would I cope with Patrol counter-intervention?

It is not just the Patrol - apparently, in that timeline, compensatory events tend to happen to keep the general course of events on track.

"'...suppose I went back and prevented Booth from killing Lincoln. Unless I took very elaborate precautions, it would probably happen that someone else did the shooting and Booth got blamed anyway." (Time Patrol, p. 15)

However, an organization with the resources and personnel of the Patrol would be able to change the course of events if it wanted to. Basing themselves in the far past, Patrolmen would be able to see what the twentieth century looked like without the Sarajevo assassination, then try some similar changes earlier, e.g., an industrial revolution in ancient Greece?


Sean M. Brooks said...

Kaor, Paul!

An Industrial Revolution in ancient Greece, say in the times of Plato and Aristotle? Interesting, but how would you bring about the subtle and often accidental changes necessary for that? Poul Anderson discussed that question in IS THERE LIFE ON OTHER WORLDS? And aside from things like Christian respect for reason and a lawful God Who respected His own laws, Classical Greece lacked people such as pragmatic entrepreneurs eager and willing far ranging trading ventures, explorations, and patronizing of new inventions.


Paul Shackley said...

I don't know how it would be done. It happened in "Eutopia" because Alexander lived longer and held his Empire together so that it lasted longer than him.

Sean M. Brooks said...

Kaor, Paul!

I forgot about "Eutopia" and the industrial revolution that timeline had. But, the problem there, as we found out, is that the "Alexandrine" society which arose there seems to have become stagnant. And it had disgusting things like institutionalized child abuse. In fact, it's my view that the unexpected, shocker ending of that story is supposed to make us realize the ironically named "good place" has very serious flaws.


David Birr said...

As I understood it, the institutionalized child abuse was a continuation of historical ancient Greek practice. It was a society that had developed advanced technology without improving its concept of morals and ethics very much.

Sean M. Brooks said...

Hi, David!

I agree! Pederasty was one of the preferred forms of homosexuality in Classical times. As you said, a very low concept of morals and ethics.