Timeless Will Return!

Paul Levinson had fun with the announcement that NBC’s decision to cancel the time travel TV show Timeless has been reversed, exploring the possibility that this change was a result of time travel – and what that would imply in the realms of philosophy and physics.

It was interesting during the last season to get involved in a conversation with a friend about whether the show’s depiction of time travel was incoherent – and if so, whether that was an issue with the show, or the very notion of time travel.

Here’s the question: Lucy gets into the time machine not being engaged. When she returns and finds herself engaged as a result of changes to the timeline, she is nevertheless known to the people at Mason Industries, and so they must have known an engaged version of Lucy and sent her off in a time machine. And so does that version of Lucy simply cease to exist? If it is just her memories and experiences that are overwritten by the arrival of this different Lucy, it isn’t clear why that should be the case.

Do you find time travel stories of the sort that we see on Timeless frustrating or fun?

I personally find the notion of time travel problematic in all sorts of ways. But, as with Doctor Who, I find the potential for everything from education about history to interesting philosophical and religious thought experiments to be rich and rewarding.

Are you glad that Timeless will be returning?

 

 

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  • John MacDonald

    Heidegger pointed out that the time Science reckons and calculates with, the endless progression of “nows” that steadily count forward into the future, is contrary to the time we “experience” as coming from the future, encountering us, and passing away into the past. So, from the point of view of Scientific calculation, time simply indefinitely counts forward, second by second, minute by minute, hour by hour, day by day, week by week, month by month, year by year, etc.. Every moment of the past, present, and future are “real” in exactly the same way.

    To the contrary, we “experience time” coming toward us out of the future, encountering us, and then passing away, such as when we say Christmas vacation is coming; Christmas vacation is here; Christmas vacation was a few days ago.

    Heidegger argued that “experienced time” was more descriptive of human experience than artificially set up “calculated time” of Science. In terms of experienced time, I would say time travel isn’t really possible because the future and the past we experience are just projections of the mind into the future and a memory of what has disappeared away from our “now” into the past. The future and the past of experienced time are really nothing at all on their own.

  • http://hippieheretic.com/ Chuck McKnight

    It’s a fun show, but I can’t really take it seriously as time-travel fiction. I can easily suspend reality to allow for time travel itself, but the mechanics thereof have to work in a consistent fashion, and they just don’t at all for this show.

  • Brandon Roberts

    never heard of it before but glad for the fans of it