Tag Archives: time

Apr 30 “Now Then”

What a tangled web:

When plotlines criss-cross in time,

Causation is LOST.

From an article about time travel, on Wikipedia:

David Lewis’ analysis of compossibility and the implications of changing the past is meant to account for the possibilities of time travel […]  without creating logical paradoxes. Consider Lewis’ example of Tim. Tim hates his grandfather and would like nothing more than to kill him. The only problem for Tim is that his grandfather died years ago. Tim wants so badly to kill his grandfather himself that he constructs a time machine to travel back to 1955 when his grandfather was young and kill him then. Assuming that Tim can travel to a time when his grandfather is still alive, the question must then be raised; Can Tim kill his grandfather?

Consider the fact that Tim’s grandfather died in 1993 and not in 1955. This fact about Tim’s situation reveals that him killing his grandfather is not compossible with the current set of facts. […]  So what must happen to Tim as he takes aim? Lewis believes that his gun will jam, a bird will fly in the way, or Tim simply slips on a banana peel. Either way, there will be some logical force of the universe that will prevent Tim every time from killing his grandfather.

“His gun will jam” … This is a device we’ve seen on LOST before!

Actually, the gun jamming occurs a little bit after the events (from season 4) shown in the clip [clip not available]… but the point is what Tom says here, “You can’t kill yourself, the island won’t let you”.  And since the island itself seems to be acting as a giant, barely manageable time travel machine, the whole series begins to look like a primetime TV illustration of David Lewis’ compossibilty argument. Well, among other things.

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