Thursday, March 03, 2016

Time Travel?

A discussion of that here. 


Ilíon said...

Speaking of time travel, someone recently told me that the only correct answer to the "If you could go back in time and ..." hypothetical is "Mohammad".

Ilíon said...

VR, here is a short little something in your bailiwick: Jovial Introspection

Joe Hinman said...

Thjese guys don't need time travel they are still living in the 19th century

planks length said...

These guys don't need time travel they are still living in the 19th century

Is that supposed to be an insult? Please show me how the 21st Century is in any way superior to the 19th. Sure, we got more "stuff" now, but do we really think more clearly, produce better art, compose greater music, write better books, breathe cleaner air, dream loftier dreams?

Didn't think so.

Ilíon said...

The mask *always* slips.

jdhuey said...


Medical treatment of all types.
Public Health (water, sewage, gargage)
Social equality (slavery, repression of woment, classes)
Liberal Democracy vs Authoritarian Gov't
A far better understanding of what the Universe is and how it came to be.

jdhuey said...

Vendettas and feuds
Poor houses
Debtors prision

planks length said...


Public health, and "understanding" the universe? Like I said... stuff.

(as to your other bullet points) Are things any better today? Slavery still exists. In fact, by some counts there are more slaves alive today than at any other time in history. "Repression of women" - what? Do you live in a white suburban bubble? Classes? Still here. Liberal Democracy? Doesn't exist.

And instead of dueling, we have street gangs. As to vendettas and feuds, we now have ISIS. In place of poor houses, we now have all our consumer crap made by child labor in the Third World or by out and out slave labor in China. Debtor's prison - ever hear of student loans bigger than mortgages? Segregation - still here (and probably always will be).

Now as to the things I listed:

19th Century music - Beethoven, Tchaikovsky, and Mahler.
21st Century music - rap, techno, and Lady Gaga

19th Century literature - Melville, Walt Whitman, and Dostoevsky
21st Century literature - Fifty Shades of Gray

19th Century art - Monet, Cezanne, and Turner
21st Century art - Marni Kotak, Poincheval, and Maria Taniguchi

19th Century dreams - an end to slavery, pioneering, and salvation
21st Century dreams - the newest smartphone and a big screen TV

jdhuey said...

21st Century Earth may not be perfect, far from it, but I think it is vastly better for vastly more people than the 19th.

If it was a choice between all of 19th century art you mentioned and our current reduction in infant and childhood mortality, I know which I would choose.

jdhuey said...

"vastly more people" that is both in proportional terms and in absolute terms.

jdhuey said...


Honestly now, if God came to you and said that you were going to be reborn in a random baby somewhere in the world in the year 1805 or the year 2005, which would you choose?
Would it make a difference if the geographic areas were restricted to North America and Europe?

planks length said...

"Random" birth in any century is a recipe for being poor, uneducated, disease-ridden, and oppressed. And that includes the present day. Your question is loaded and doesn't deserve an answer. Given a choice, I wouldn't wish for a random birth ever. One year is no better than any other.

But actually, my dream life would be either an Austrian national in the latter half of the 19th Century or a French national living in Tahiti in the mid-20th.

jdhuey said...

I don't think the question is loaded. It is just a version of John Rawls' 'veil of ignorance'.

planks length said...

It's loaded for the reasons I stated in my first sentence. All random births are undesirable. If you cared to re-word the question to remove the randomness, it might then be a question capable of being meaningfully answered.