Communities

Writing
Writing
Codidact Meta
Codidact Meta
The Great Outdoors
The Great Outdoors
Photography & Video
Photography & Video
Scientific Speculation
Scientific Speculation
Cooking
Cooking
Electrical Engineering
Electrical Engineering
Judaism
Judaism
Languages & Linguistics
Languages & Linguistics
Software Development
Software Development
Mathematics
Mathematics
Christianity
Christianity
Code Golf
Code Golf
Music
Music
Physics
Physics

Dashboard
Notifications
Mark all as read
Q&A

How do I manage memetic infection while time traveling?

+3
−0

Time travel works...just invented, by you. The tests prove it!

After many conversations and significant planning, your epidemiologist significant other has approved your plans for time travel, forward or backwards. You are both satisfied that if you do bring back some dread disease, the only person who will die is you; not everyone else.

However, as a time traveler, you're a strong student of history and are aware that ideas can be just as infectious as biological pathogens. For example, sending fully formed Marxist ideas back to the end of feudalism in the 1500's would have a profound effect on the history of Europe. Likewise, bringing an old but forgotten idea forward can have similarly profound effects.

As much as possible, you'd like to be able to rejoin society after your travels but worry about bringing some contagious idea with you when you come back. How does this time traveler handle the risks of being infected with a contagious idea then spreading it to his fellow humans on return to his own time?

The same disclaimer applies: you don't have to worry about the Grandfather Paradox or causality or any of the other nasty time travel problems. Physical security of the time machine itself is also taken care of, so no worries of theft or breaking & entering. The time machine also includes a 99% accurate universal translator that permits bidirectional communication between you and whoever you're talking to (if you don't have this translator then you don't stand much chance of getting infected, eh?).

Why does this post require moderator attention?
You might want to add some details to your flag.
Why should this post be closed?

0 comments

2 answers

+1
−0
How does this time traveler handle the risks of being infected with a contagious idea then spreading it to his fellow humans on return to his own time?

He doesn't. Coming back with a revolutionary idea is no different than having come up with it on your own.

Also, you wouldn't be trying to change your current world according to a new idea (how ever you got it) unless you think the idea is good. Of course you also have to convince others the idea is good, else it won't go anywhere. We call that "progress".

Look at it from another angle. What if Isaac Newton actually had such a time machine. Archimedes discovered the laws of motion as he was trying to develop better ranged weapons against the Roman fleet. He was going to write everything down after the battle, but he did tell his promising apprentice Isaac about them (who vanished from history during the sack of Syracuse for some reason).

How would it matter? Why would we care? Why would we have wanted Sir Isaac to have kept these revelations to himself?

Why does this post require moderator attention?
You might want to add some details to your flag.

0 comments

+0
−0

Stay safe the same way you've been doing it for the past 9 months:

  • Stay home and only jump through time when you really need to.
  • When you do time travel, try to keep your distance from other people.
  • If you cannot keep your distance, adjust your normal behavior and wear protective gear that minimizes the number of words that enter your brain from the brain of somebody else.

These are all preventative measures and not curative measures because, like COVID, there is no cure for a memetic infection. Yes your memory of specific events will fade over time, but general principles will worm their way into your worldview: they will affect the way that you process every new piece of information that you receive for the rest of your life. You can try to avoid talking to your friends about the moments you visited on your travels, but it's not that simple: the foreign memes have altered your subconscious, and you can't filter that.

... who am I kidding you have a time machine. You know how to wipe memories from a human brain, right? For the sake of an interesting discussion, I will assume that you cannot. Maybe the time travel secret is easier than we think. Maybe you didn't invent the time machine, maybe the time machine is a gift from your future great-great-great-granddaughter. Let's keep moving.

So how should you keep your distance? Six feet in this case is probably not enough. You really want to stay out of earshot, and out of visual range is even better. In fact, if the reason for your time travel allows you to pick a time when humans don't exist at all, that would be ideal. Modern corporations have dug up all the readily available uranium from the Earth's crust, so now they're sending equipment back in time to dig up uranium from the Precambrian? No risk of memetic infection at all, especially if the companies build walled-off campuses so that workers can't even admire the desolate pre-vegetation landscape and potentially get inspired with brave new thoughts about humanity's place in the universe. If you do need to pick a time when humans exist, though: try to stick to small towns or wilderness regions, only go out at night, and if it's cold in winter then make sure your destination is in the winter months so that the locals will stay huddled inside for warmth.

What if you can't keep your distance? What if you really want to visit Carlo Gatti's ice cream shop in 1853 London because you love the ice cream and there really is not, never has been, and never will be a good substitute? You need to stay on task: go in and get out as quick as you can, and above all talk to no-one except Carlo Gatti. Keep your eyes focused on your shoes or maybe a newspaper as you walk to his shop. If anyone tries to sell you something, shoo them away as rudely and aggressively as you can. Maybe dress like poor or sick person, so that people will leave you alone. Wear ear plugs, or use a wig or earmuffs to cover your ears. Wear thick eyeglasses even though you have 20/20 vision, since they will distort the light going into your eyes. When you get to Carlo's shop, don't stop to chit-chat: buy what you want and then leave. Find a nice isolated spot by the Thames to enjoy your ice cream... not too scenic though... and get back home as soon as you are done.

All of this of course assumes that you do in fact want to avoid a memetic infection. With no grandfather paradox to worry about, this seems like a rather strange desire. Maybe you live under an autocratic regime that regularly conducts psychological tests on its citizens to ensure that they remain loyal to the government, so it's dangerous for you and your friends to even think revolutionary thoughts? If that is the case, I'm not sure that you would want to risk your life for some ice cream in the first place.

Why does this post require moderator attention?
You might want to add some details to your flag.

0 comments

Sign up to answer this question »

This community is part of the Codidact network. We have other communities too — take a look!

You can also join us in chat!

Want to advertise this community? Use our templates!