Time travel is inevitable. The ability to manipulate history with technology rather than classroom materials is the Holy Grail of human invention. In fact, as I write this, there is a non-zero probability that a portal will open up and someone from the future will pop out. They’ll tell me know how influential and thought-provoking my work was. They’ll tell me of the Monument of Thought, a fifty foot statue of myself that stands tall in Future Square, the socialist capital of Future World X. They’ll tell me about parents bringing their young children to see my brain, which has been preserved and put on display. They’ll tell me how I single handedly ended sexism with my writing. It’s a very real possibility.
Actually, allow me to pause for a moment and see what happens. I’m going to stop writing for about 30 minutes and wait, just in case the time machine isn’t exactly precise and my future admirers can’t pinpoint my exact moment in time.
Hmm. Nothing. Not today I guess.
Oh well. My point remains: time travel will happen. It’s going to be real. And that’s probably mostly good news.
Yes, I am excited about time travel. But like literally everything that exists today, I’m worried time travel will be inherently problematic. It’ll be sexist. It’ll be racist. And it most certainly will be transphobic. These are all things people will still be concerned with hundreds of years in the future. Just like how people were concerned with body-shaming when they risked life and limb to travel the world for spices, in the far distant future, when we’re debating the ethics of changing the natural status of time, we’ll still have folks that think its wrong for gays to marry. We can open black holes, but we can’t close the wage gap.
The problem stems from the fact that time travel, as a technology that doesn’t exist yet, is very very white. It’s a white man technology, which means bad. Time travel is a exact, extant-by-virtue-of-its-inevitability science that relies heavily on mathematical precision. And when you apply the necessary level of mathematical precision to time, you’re talking about the cutting edge of punctuality. Punctuality is something that is important solely in a white male centered world. The first time machines certainly won’t allow someone to show up 20 minutes late because they had to dig through their purse. The first time machine isn’t going to let you sleep through your alarm. Until we theorize a method of time travel that allows for concepts of “missing the bus” or “just needing another thirty minutes to put on eye liner,” time travel will remain white and male.
Furthermore, it is impossible to remove the colonial aspect of time travel. All travel is colonial in nature. Not only because you can go back and visit actual colonies, but because in a way, you’re “colonizing” the past with your future-self. If a white man goes back in time, he’s breathing someone else’s air. It’s colonialism. His physical presence in the past is a form of theft. Which begs the question: if you go back in time, and you meet yourself: is it rape? Yes. Yes it is.
But both of these problems can (and will) be corrected through two methods:
1) Theorize a method of time travel that doesn’t rely on punctuality.
2) Don’t allow white men to go back in time.
What’s the evidence that they’ll be corrected? Simple.
Do this experiment: write a note to yourself. Something you’ll remember forever. Tell yourself that if time travel ever exists, you’ll travel to this moment exactly in time.
Now wait. No one shows up. Why? Is it because time travel won’t exist in your lifetime? Possibly. But the real reason is that we resolved the inherently racist issue of necessary punctuality in the time machine itself. And we know for a fact that in the future we don’t allow white men to travel back in time because we probably have a bunch of women from the future walking around right now that no one listens to because they’re 1) too busy being catcalled or 2) Cher.
But the most glaring issue of time travel, even when you adjust for the racism and sexism, is that time travel is inherently transphobic, and there’s no way to correct for that. It’s called gender-flux.
What’s gender-flux? Well it’s a thing I, as a scientist, just came up with. Gender-flux is the issue where pronoun choice is changed over the course of a transgendered individuals timeline, and a time-traveler has no way of addressing a transgendered person in the past without using a pronoun that is both temporally correct and essentially correct. That is to say, if you go back in time to meet your trans friend Sharon when she was a five year old boy, can you call her him? What if he isn’t a she yet? Will the universe implode? Is it rape? Yes. Yes it is.
Gender-flux is a serious paradox and the number one impedance on our path to time travel that is not only technologically feasible, but also socially conscious. But it’s also a blessing in disguise. The only solution is to send a trans person back in time. The first time traveler will have to be a MTF Transsexual.
Let me explain.
In the future, as stated above, it’s necessarily illegal for white men to use the time machine. And in the present, no one will listen to what women have to say. But if we send back a transwoman to the present day, in which she wasn’t yet a woman, she can use her manpinions to channel the information we require to develop non-sexist, non-racist, non-transphobic time travel. And we don’t have to worry about people ignoring her because she’ll still have a penis!
Yes, I am afraid of everything and everyone, but I do have hope for the future. And it makes you wonder, what kind of name is Elon anyways?