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Old May 23, 2015, 03:14 PM   #1
ardchoille50
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Temporal mechanics anyone?

I'm watching a movie which involves time travel and I have a question. I realize that Hollywood is clueless when it comes to a great many things, but this piqued my interest.

A man named Rufus is stating that, in his time, "things are great, but they almost weren't". Now Rufus is required to go back 700 years into the past to remedy a situation that would negatively affect his time.

Given that Rufus is enjoying great things in his present time, why would he be required to travel back 700 years to remedy a situation? The fact that Rufus is enjoying great things is proof that the issue 700 years ago was already resolved (cause and effect), otherwise Rufust wouldn't be enjoying great things. If his present timeline is the result of previous alteration, why is he required to perform the work again?

I believe I have a basic understanding of temporal mechanics, but I find this type of thing very interesting and I would like to learn more.
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Old May 23, 2015, 03:33 PM   #2
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When it's science fiction, you can make your own rules.
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Old May 23, 2015, 03:42 PM   #3
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When it's science fiction, you can make your own rules.
Agreed.

Science fiction doesn't have to be consistent with - or cognisant of - scientific rules or systems as understood within our world.

All it has to be is consistent within whatever world the writer him or her self is crafting: As long as whatever systems and explanations are used are internally consistent and coherent, and are internally logical within the norms of that world, it will work as a work of science fiction or fantasy.
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Old May 23, 2015, 03:50 PM   #4
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When it's science fiction, you can make your own rules.
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Originally Posted by Scepticalscribe View Post
Agreed.

Science fiction doesn't have to be consistent with - or cognisant of - scientific rules or systems as understood within our world.

All it has to be is consistent within whatever world the writer him or her self is crafting: As long as whatever systems and explanations are used are internally consistent and coherent, and are internally logical within the norms of that world, it will work as a work of science fiction or fantasy.
Good points. Perhaps my questions are the result of attempting to overlay the rules of my reality, as I understand them, onto the world portrayed in the movie.
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Old May 23, 2015, 05:07 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ardchoille50 View Post
I'm watching a movie which involves time travel and I have a question. I realize that Hollywood is clueless when it comes to a great many things, but this piqued my interest.

A man named Rufus is stating that, in his time, "things are great, but they almost weren't". Now Rufus is required to go back 700 years into the past to remedy a situation that would negatively affect his time.

Given that Rufus is enjoying great things in his present time, why would he be required to travel back 700 years to remedy a situation? The fact that Rufus is enjoying great things is proof that the issue 700 years ago was already resolved (cause and effect), otherwise Rufust wouldn't be enjoying great things. If his present timeline is the result of previous alteration, why is he required to perform the work again?

I believe I have a basic understanding of temporal mechanics, but I find this type of thing very interesting and I would like to learn more.
Name of movie? Bolded is confusing. If things are great, what needs fixing according to the plot? What dire thing will happen if a fix is not introduced?

Time travel involves paradoxes to a point that if you go back to change a significant event, you the time traveler would be changed so much that either the original timeline is erased or there might be a split into a parallel time line. As Mobilehaathi all ready said, you can make up your own rules. The nature of such a story is so flexible, whatever the story is, be sure it's something that intrigues the audience and does not break their ability to suspend disbelief.
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Old May 23, 2015, 05:22 PM   #6
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Name of movie? Bolded is confusing. If things are great, what needs fixing according to the plot? What dire thing will happen if a fix is not introduced?

Time travel involves paradoxes to a point that if you go back to change a significant event, you the time traveler would be changed so much that either the original timeline is erased or there might be a split into a parallel time line. As Mobilehaathi all ready said, you can make up your own rules. The nature of such a story is so flexible, whatever the story is, be sure it's something that intrigues the audience and does not break their ability to suspend disbelief.
The name of the movie is Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure. The entire plot hinges on the fact that Rufus must go back in time to remedy a situation in order for his present time to remain, as he put it, "great". My point was, Rufus's present is already "great", so why would he need to go back in time to remedy a situation in order for him to enjoy this great timeline in his present. The mere fact that Rufus is enjoying greatness in his present time is a testament to the fact that the situation 700 years prior was already remedied. Am I not correct in this assumption?

Say, for instance, you're wearing a blue shirt today. Would there be a need to return to your past for the purpose of acquiring that blue shirt so that you can wear it today? You're already wearing it today, which shows that you acquired it beforehand.

As I have stated, this is quite interesting in my view and I am attempting to better understand temporal mechanics.
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Old May 23, 2015, 05:28 PM   #7
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I think you're taking Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure a bit too seriously.
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Old May 23, 2015, 05:30 PM   #8
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I think you're taking Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure a bit too seriously.
I realize it's just a comedy, it's just that I'm a fan of temporal mechanics. The grandfather paradox has always been one of my favorites.
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Old May 23, 2015, 06:04 PM   #9
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Your verb is interesting.

Is it that [Rufus] 'has to' go back [in time], or 'must go back', or is is obliged to, or is compelled to, or the plot forces him to do so? Choice and compulsion are different things, and verbs which demand compliance can also differ - quite markedly - in their nuances.

(For a brilliant and thought-provoking examination at how the meaning of one slightly ambiguous verb - the verb 'may' - may differ drastically depending on how one chooses to interpret it, John Steinbeck's masterpiece 'East of Eden' - the book, not the movie - offers a superb deconstruction in a series of dialogues between Samuel Hamilton and the book's moral conscience and core, Lee, the educated, erudite philosophical Chinese cook.)

And, meanwhile, for a really intelligent and interesting take on 'time travel' and effects of same, I can refer you to the original Star Trek's superb episode 'City On The Edge Of Forever' which gives a subtle, powerful story which packs quite a historical and emotional punch.

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Old May 23, 2015, 06:05 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by ardchoille50 View Post
I realize it's just a comedy, it's just that I'm a fan of temporal mechanics. The grandfather paradox has always been one of my favorites.
The nice thing about temporal paradoxes in fiction is the author can resolve them in any way to fit the story being told.

The paradoxical thing about temporal mechanics in fiction is the author can resolve them in any way to fit the story being told.

Of course, we both already knew know this. I'm just reminding you in case it comes up in the past future.
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Old May 23, 2015, 06:20 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by Scepticalscribe View Post
Your verb is interesting.

Is it that [Rufus] 'has to' go back [in time], or is obliged to, or is compelled to, or the plot forces him to do so? Choice and compulsion are different things, and verbs which demand compliance also differ in their nuances.

(For a brilliant and thought-provoking examination at how the meaning of one slightly ambiguous verb - the verb 'may' - may differ drastically depending on how one chooses to interpret it, John Steinbeck's masterpiece 'East of Eden' - the book, not the movie - offers a superb deconstruction in a series of dialogues between Samuel Hamilton and the book's moral conscience and core, Lee, the educated, erudite philosophical Chinese cook.)

For a really intelligent and interesting take on 'time travel' and effects of same, I can refer you to the original Star Trek's superb episode 'City On The Edge Of Forever' which gives a subtle, powerful story which packs quite a historical and emotional punch.
You are correct, the plot forces Rufus to go back in time. He makes it sound as if his present time is only as enjoyable as it is because of the things he plans to do during a trip back into the past that he hasn't yet taken. That is the source of my confusion.

Your timing is impeccable, I just added the original Star Trek series to my Netflix list. I'll have to make a point of watching the episode you mentioned, it does sound interesting. Thank you
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Old Yesterday, 05:37 AM   #12
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You may be interested in the Frequently Asked Questions About Time Travel.
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Old Yesterday, 06:12 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by ardchoille50 View Post
I realize that Hollywood is clueless when it comes to a great many things
I don't think Hollywood is very interested in being scientifically accurate, they're more interested in making a movie that will generate money.
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Old Yesterday, 07:08 AM   #14
ardchoille50
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Thank you very much for that link. I'll check it out as soon as I am able.

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I don't think Hollywood is very interested in being scientifically accurate, they're more interested in making a movie that will generate money.
That would explain quite a bit.. including my dislike for 90% of what appears on TV and the big screen.
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Old Yesterday, 08:33 AM   #15
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That would explain quite a bit.. including my dislike for 90% of what appears on TV and the big screen.
The goal of a movie or even TV is to tell a story, its no different then a book. Read any Science Fiction work from Asimov and you'll enjoy a great story but one that is scientifically implausible.

I think you might be judging the entertainment industry to harshly. They never set out to be the true arbiters of scientific accuracy. You can still enjoy a great movie regardless if its not plausible, i.e., Star Trek, Star Wars, The Terminator,the Fifth Element, etc.
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Old Yesterday, 08:38 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ardchoille50 View Post
The name of the movie is Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure. The entire plot hinges on the fact that Rufus must go back in time to remedy a situation in order for his present time to remain, as he put it, "great".My point was, Rufus's present is already "great", so why would he need to go back in time to remedy a situation in order for him to enjoy this great timeline in his present. The mere fact that Rufus is enjoying greatness in his present time is a testament to the fact that the situation 700 years prior was already remedied. Am I not correct in this assumption?

Say, for instance, you're wearing a blue shirt today. Would there be a need to return to your past for the purpose of acquiring that blue shirt so that you can wear it today? You're already wearing it today, which shows that you acquired it beforehand.

As I have stated, this is quite interesting in my view and I am attempting to better understand temporal mechanics.
That's the setup and the description? Lol. I'm trying to imagine what needs to be changed and how would the character know what to change.

My advice is if you want to choose a time travel movie to dissect, choose one that tries to be serious or has more meat on its bones. Some good ones: The Terminator, Interstellar, Star Trek (2009), Twelve Monkeys, The Time Machine (1960), Peggy Sue Got Married, Back To The Future, and Deja Vue (2006- Densil Washington). The last one is a most excellent and satisfying depiction of the impact of time travel imho. And I like The Time Machine because it deals with changing the future, not the past, which seems more plausible, avoiding the paradoxes, because we know we can travel forward in time (Theory of Relativity), but not backwards, although the hero does go back to his old time to fetch some stuff.
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Last edited by Huntn; Yesterday at 09:06 AM. Reason: Typo
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Old Yesterday, 08:48 AM   #17
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Next question, how is it that Jason always comes back to life after he dies in every Friday the 13th movie?
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