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Travelling Sideways In Time?

Updated on July 26, 2015
Many other Earths, each like ours, just slightly different
Many other Earths, each like ours, just slightly different

If you have had the privilege of reading other hubs of mine, than you may have come across my other hub ‘How To Time Travel.’ Yet whether time travel backwards is at all possible, the mere idea of travelling backwards certainly does raise quite a few paradoxes. One of the most famous of these paradoxes is the idea that if you were to go back in time and stop your parents from ever getting together, you would cease to exist. Yet if you were to cease to exist, then how can you possibly gone back in time to prevent your parents meeting; hence your parents would meet and you would be born… As you may have realised, this is a chicken and the egg scenario.

Despite travelling into the past not as yet being possible, it hasn’t stopped physicists trying to think up ways around this paradox – and believe it or not, there are several theories amongst mainstream science. One of the most popular of these theories is the ‘Many Worlds Interpretation’ a Quantum Mechanics theory which states that every time something happens, the alternative outcome also happens, just on another Earth.

For example, suppose it’s Saturday night and you are faced with a choice, go out clubbing for the night or stay in and watch a movie on TV. Well according to this theory, no matter what you choose to do, in the greater cosmos you will actually do both. For whilst you do one thing (say stay at home and watch TV) in a parallel universe the other you will go out clubbing for the night.

So with regards to travelling in time, the Many Worlds Interpretation theory states that if you were to go back in time, you could make any number of changes you’d wish for you would not actually return to your current timeline. Instead you would enter the past of an alternative timeline, one which is exactly the same as your own up to the point where you arrived back.

Assuming that this scientific theory turns out to be true, this would therefore mean that right now as I am writing this (or you reading this) there are countless number of other parallel worlds located exactly in the same spot as our world is in right now. These worlds are literally situated all around you; the only reason why you cannot observe them is because they exist in slightly different special dimension which we cannot observe or interact with.

This however leads to the main topic of this hub, is it possible to travel to these other worlds; visit other Earths which were exactly the same as our own up to some point in time when the something happened and they took a different turn from our one. With regards to our prior example, suppose you did stay in watching a movie on TV rather than go out clubbing, is it possible to travel sideways in time to these other worlds and ask your parallel self how your night out on the town would had gone?

For those of you who might recall, this was the plot for the mid-1990’s science fiction series ‘Sliders’ which was based around 4 people from our world using a wormhole device to travel to parallel Earths, usually always landing somewhere in the San Francisco area. During their journeys, they landed on a world where North America was a communist state, one where San Francisco was a massive prison colony, etc.

The cast of Sliders
The cast of Sliders

If however you fancy a sense of adventure, would it be possible to visit these parallel Earths, perhaps see a world where the Nazis won the war (if you’d like to know more on this subject, please feel free to read my other hub ‘What Would Happened If The Axis Powers Won The War?’) or one where Australia discovered Britain first and made Britain an prison colony? Well if time travel backwards is possible than when you go back in time, you would in theory travel to a parallel world, though one which has been exactly the same as our own until your arrival.

Yet if you preferred actually visiting different universes rather than going back in time and creating them, than you may have to wait a while for scientists aren’t even sure whether these universes actually exist, let alone how on Earth you can actually reach them! Yet if you could develop some sort of way to cross the extra dimensions of space, than in theory you could see almost any available outcome. For example you could see a world where nuclear weapons were never invented, as well as a world where the Cuban missile crisis actually turned nuclear. The choice would be up to you.


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