This title is taken from a phrase in the final book of Douglas Adams' five-volume trilogy "The Hitch Hiker's Guide To The Galaxy" ("Mostly Harmless") and that got me thinking.
I wasn't sure if this would be a poem, and story or something else, it turns out I decided on the latter.
The music I have chosen is "Traveller In Time" by Uriah Heep from their 1972 album "Demons and Wizards".
So Time Travel
We have seen so many books, TV and films that take time travel as their central pivot for their story. "Dr Who", "Back To The Future", the recent Netflix series "Bodies", "The Time Machine" by HG Wells and many, many more.
In one of his novels, possibly "Gloriana", Michael Moorcock posited that time was a river made up of particles called chronons. The future was uncalibrated chronons, the present was the chronons being used for their purpose, and the past was dead, used chronons like a trail of spent matches, time travel was not an option.
Stephen Hawking, who knew what he was talking about, said that we had absolute proof that time travel was an impossibility because we had never been visited by anyone from the future, human or otherwise.
There is the possibility of parallel universes or dimensions that may mirror our own, but again that has only been explored in science fiction and fantasy, although no doubt it is being explored scientifically but I have never seen anything that has indicated success in this field.
This morning I opened a curtain and knocked a glass dish containing pot-pourri off the window sill. While I was aware it was there I did not know that opening the curtain would knock it in the floor. It was nothing but an accident but I wish it hadn't happened.
If I had really thought about it I could have been more careful but I can't go back in time and save the dish. To do that I would have to enter a place where I should not be, and that could cause no end of knock-on effects that then would possibly mean that I would wish I had not gone back in time to rectify that mistake. Luckily I don't believe that is an option but I can always replace the dish so that could be considered a piece of temporal reverse engineering to make it seem that the accident never happened.
The film "The Butterfly Effect" explores these concepts
The thing is although we can't predict the future, we can try and build it. Although the past is gone, we can still revisit it in the form of books, pictures and in this digital age video.
Since the first cave paintings and the invention of cuneiform script, we have been able to keep the past with us and revisit it when we want. Everyone who writes something or creates a video or a piece of music has effectively sealed their own immortality.
Below are two pieces that I wrote on the subject:
As long as there is a digital world I have created my own immortality. I can revisit my past in words, videos and photographs and so can everyone else.
This week we lost Shane MacGowan but as I write this I am listening to his music. I never actually met him or knew him, but for me, he is still here large as life.
This is true also of people I have lost, friends and family, every day I think of my mum who I lost thirty-five years ago, but I have photographs and memories and I won't lose them.
So for me, time travel to the past is a possibility because I keep the past close to me in many ways, but I don't live there, I live in the present and look forward to my future when today will become another instalment in my past.
Thank you so much for reading