Wednesday, December 21, 2005


Past or future?

If you had the choice to travel to anytime in the future or anytime in the past, and STAY THERE, would you choose future or past?

For example, one might argue that it is far better to go into the future where all the scary diseases are probably cured, so that you will probably live longer.On the other hand, perhaps you yearn for simpler times of the past, where the pace of life was a little slower, where you can dream of falling in love in the Italian Renaissance and walking hand in hand with your lover along the Amalfi coast of Italy.So, the question for today is: where would you choose to reside -- the future or the past?

The past.
There is no guarantee that there wont be worse diseases in the future or even a world to go to. If one worked it right they could become quite rich or even a king with a little knowledge of past events. With the knowledge of modern technology and diseases one could live a very good life in the right place.
One week past.

I would prefer to stay in the present or almost present. I would choose a day when in a big lottery there is an anonymous winner of 10 million euro. I would note the drawn numbers and go back for one week, then I would play the numbers and have a secret meeting with my alter ego (that might be interesting to meet a person with really the same inetrests and way of thinking) and hide for the rest of the week. One week wouldn't destroy my normal life.

Then I would live on joyfully.
I would choose the future only if I had some kind of sensing apparatus that could show me if that future was survivable (i.e. no post-nuclear or climate/eco-system/asteroid upheavals).

I imagine I could do well in the future on the lecture circuit as a late 20th century or early 21st century historian. I always imagined that the individuals suffering from temporal mayhem or were found in hyper-sleep in Star Trek eventually became historians after that episode ended.

Is my geek showing?

I would have to rule out the past.
I've read 'The Good Old Days--They Were Terrible!' by Otto Bettman and I don't think that the past would be a fun place to be regardless of what kind of knowledge I brought with me. I'd want a warehouse full of modern tools, chemicals and medical supplies before I'd attempt it. I feel that history is overly romanticised.

However, the 'Winning Lottery' excursion mentioned above is a pretty good idea.
The most interesting choice comes when you WOULD know about the place/time in the past that you were going to and could choose the exact place/time that you desired. On the other hand, you WOULD NOT know about the future place/time you would be going to, only the year. For example, you could choose WHAT year you would go to (for example, 3000 A.D.) but that would be it. Caveat emptor. There certainly IS no guarantee that the future will be "better" in any sense. (Supposed 3000 A.D. is a dark age that has followed humanity's near self-destruction centuries earlier, that sort of thing. But you wouldn't know in advance. It could also be a wonderful and totally utopian place/time beyond anything available in the past.)
The future: because I am an eternal optimist and have faith in the future evolution of humanity.
Wow. I'd like to meet Jesus,and I'd like to see a T-rex, but I'd also like to see all the neet stuff we'll come up with 100 years from now, asuming we make it past peak oil production and all the weird stuff that will happen then. Mr.Pickover I hope you have lots of gold stashed away some where. Because your Phd ain't gonna get you squat when that happens. When the power goes off the playing field becomes level.

This site (while also advertising a game) has some interesting answers, more detailed, to this question, with the added question of whether you'd go for "one day" or "one way." Most people chose one day rather than one way.
I'd go back 60 seconds in the past and prevent myself from reading the question. It's messing with my head.
I would go back to Civil War times. I feel a real connection to that time in history and want to experience that time knowing what I do now. And, yes, I would want to live as a Southern lady like I do now.
I don't know that I'd go way back into the past or way forward into the future, I might go a few years into the future, I still wouldn't know what to expect and there'd be new things.
I'd go to the past and meet my ancestors. I'd especially like to visit my Great Grandfather (who I actually did meet but was 5 years old and do not remember him) and his twin brother. They married twin sisters and I think it'd be so cool to know them. They left Ohio (where I was born yearsssss later, incidently) and traveled by horse and wagon to California. I think I'd join them after the long trip. :) Of course, for ONE day, the journey would be interesting.
The past, about 150 years ago. No tv, phones, faxs, radio, and Mother nature is not on the run.
My choice would be 1 Million years in the future, if the earth still exists or doesn't the mystery is more interesting and worth taking the chance, to see what might be!!
Five hundred years into the future.
I'd stay put. What good is it to go see wonderous things, past or present, if you can't come home and tell someone about it? You'd have absolutely no peers in the world, no one with any common experience or language.

No thanks, no one-way trips for me.
I have this thing about Joan of Arc. Of all people who ever lived, she's my hero. I'd want to be with her fighting & following her to the end. Then write about it for the world.
After that, as mentioned in your question, I'd move to Italy & watch the Renaissance in bloom. It doesn't get any better that this for me.
As for the future, that could be absolute crap. For certain there would be more & faster computers. This alone is enough for me to flee.
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