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Tamyrlin
09-02-2015, 12:52 PM
It's been a while since I've read work on Time Travel and WoT, but this individual on Tor.com mentions that it is not possible to travel backwards in Time in the RW or "Main Reality" and I can't remember if we ever discounted the possibility entirely assuming the Wheel is intact. I haven't had time to think through the metaphysical mechanisms fully, but thought I'd ask while I think it through.

http://www.tor.com/2015/09/02/is-time-travel-possible-in-the-wheel-of-time/

I did a general search through the interview database and didn't find anything that was useful, other than a balefire answer which isn't what is meant by traveling backwards in time.

One possibility to consider: if it is possible, your thread would not be rewoven in as a second thread. It would exist outside of the control of the Pattern.

GonzoTheGreat
09-02-2015, 01:30 PM
Well, for starters: do Gateways really only work in (three) fixed spatial dimensions?
If so, then Newton was right and Einstein was wrong.

1. If not, then that means that if a channeller knows what she is doing, then she would be able to not just travel through space but also through time, or, more accurately: through space-time. Which would mean time travel, for all practical purposes, since otherwise she would end up somewhere in space where Earth isn't any more (or not yet, depending on her direction in time).

1B. Then there is *finnland, with its different time. As soon as you have two (or more) time lines, you have the possibility of setting up loops in time. So if you knew what you were doing, you could use *finnland to go back to the past. Though you may occasionally get eaten halfway along your journey, of course.

2.Balefire as it is is indeed not a good way for travelling to the past.
However, its very existence suggests that there is some kind of principle behind it. And this principle might offer another way of going back in time. Or perhaps it would turn out that it is the same thing behind the Gateways I mentioned earlier.

3. In dealing with the DO, the author of that link really goes off the rails. He overlooks the possibility that the DO could create a localised "reverse time area", despite reminding us that the DO's influence on time depends on location.
Of course, turning the DO into a proper tourist travel agency wouldn't be trivial, so I'll leave that up to the readers for now.

4. The Portal Stone discussion totally fails to impress. If you do go from "our reality" to a "sub reality" with one PS and then move back using another PS, then there is no obvious reason at all why both those PSs should be linked to our ordinary time. If the second one is linked to, say, a thousand years earlier, then you would be travelling almost a thousand years into the past each time you went through that loop.
So why didn't that happen to Rand et al? Because it didn't suit RJ to deal with such unnecessary complications.
Why couldn't it happen with other PSs? No reason it couldn't, so we should assume that it is possible.

Edited to add: My signature suggests that I'm defending the wrong position here.

Hugh the Hand
09-02-2015, 02:16 PM
I think he is a bot, someone should remove this thread as spam....

The Unreasoner
09-02-2015, 02:31 PM
It's probably worth asking what you mean by time travel. To what purpose?

If it's merely to relive a moment or period in one's past (without changing it), there is the Zara board. A period in any past may be 'viewable' with the right equipment. If it's to bring a version of yourself to your current place and time that had experience with the events in your immediate future, it may be possible to bring in a 'self' from a mirror world that had been exposed to some sort of Foretelling analogue.

If it's to alter the past, you could probably just travel to a mirror world whose history unfolded in the target manner (locating such a world may be substantially harder than getting to it).

It may even be possible to 'force' a mirror world to replace the primary world.

It is also possible that a device could be constructed (something on a scale similar to the Portal Stone network or the Columns at Rhuidean) that essentially regulates the speed time is experienced by the local world, with many discrete parts that can be balefired in a specific manner that retroactively changes the speed everyone experienced time at (since it seems only the balefirer really 'remembers' the alternate reality, it would be as if you traveled back in time by retroactively slowing down the local rate).

And, since Time is a Wheel, you might just be able to camp out in a mirror world or vacuole until the target time comes around again.

Parallel worlds apparently still experience Time as a Wheel, and given the fact that certain worlds are in contact in some Ages but not others, it seems 'parallel' is a bit of a misnomer, it's closer to overlapping circles. Time probably moves 'counterclockwise' and 'clockwise' (in a relative sense) for any pair of communicating worlds. In this way, it's more like a set of gears: while the worlds are in contact, time moves parallel (more or less) to both worlds, and in the same direction. When the worlds are out of contact, time moves parallel but in opposite directions. And at the points of 'first' and 'last' contact (obviously in want of better descriptors), the local times move perpendicular to one another. It is because of the nature of this cross-section that I think the Aelfinn can essentially 'read' the future: there is a point in the relative past for one that is in the future for the other, and vice versa. And it may be possible that every iteration of the Age containing these points is 'visible' at the intersection. And, perhaps, at these points it is possible to move to any instance of the parallel world. So, if you could survive in the parallel world long enough, and again in the world of origin, (we're talking almost a full rotation of the Wheel amount of time) it may be possible to go back in time to an earlier point in a specific instance of a given Age.

ETA:
I like the massive time regulating device best, because it doesn't technically allow you to travel back in time, but has an almost identical effect.

Tamyrlin
09-02-2015, 02:53 PM
1B. Then there is *finnland, with its different time. As soon as you have two (or more) time lines, you have the possibility of setting up loops in time. So if you knew what you were doing, you could use *finnland to go back to the past. Though you may occasionally get eaten halfway along your journey, of course.

Finnland does offer a possibility of physics that may be foreign enough to offer solution to time travel that doesn't by necessity have to follow RW physics, though it is not explicitly stated. Which brings up the idea of somehow using Perpendicular worlds to make it happen.


2.Balefire as it is is indeed not a good way for travelling to the past.
However, its very existence suggests that there is some kind of principle behind it. And this principle might offer another way of going back in time. Or perhaps it would turn out that it is the same thing behind the Gateways I mentioned earlier.

Agreed. Also, balefire does suggest that such an event would not necessitate that the Pattern would be destroyed if it were to occur. That it does have a mechanism in place to deal with time/space disturbances.


4. The Portal Stone discussion totally fails to impress. If you do go from "our reality" to a "sub reality" with one PS and then move back using another PS, then there is no obvious reason at all why both those PSs should be linked to our ordinary time. If the second one is linked to, say, a thousand years earlier, then you would be travelling almost a thousand years into the past each time you went through that loop.
So why didn't that happen to Rand et al? Because it didn't suit RJ to deal with such unnecessary complications.
Why couldn't it happen with other PSs? No reason it couldn't, so we should assume that it is possible.

Edited to add: My signature suggests that I'm defending the wrong position here.

I agree the Portal Stones section didn't expand on the many possibilities that they represent for time travel.

And the author failed to address T'A'R, GOI and traveling to the unseen "worlds" in the flesh, which also offer possibilities.

I think the best case against it would be the ability that the Wheel has to control threads, its "super AI" characteristics, and such. I'd imagine it would prevent such from being possible considering the chaos that could ensue. Though, perhaps it could also be looked at as a super corrective mechanism, akin to a superhero.

Tamyrlin
09-02-2015, 02:54 PM
I think he is a bot, someone should remove this thread as spam....

Clearly a Tor.com bot trying to push traffic to their website. :)

Tamyrlin
09-02-2015, 03:09 PM
If it's to alter the past, you could probably just travel to a mirror world whose history unfolded in the target manner (locating such a world may be substantially harder than getting to it). It may even be possible to 'force' a mirror world to replace the primary world.


I think it is the alter the past question the author of that article is really trying to address. Btw, I like the idea of forcing a mirror world, but I feel like that would require some serious breakdown of the Wheel/Pattern in order for that to happen.

Without the DO warping the Pattern, is it possible to travel backwards in the same Turning and then change the Pattern already woven? And if so, would you be a new thread? Would the Pattern weave and reweave what is already woven, or would you be unable to change anything, like a ghost or such where the Wheel rejects every act because the weave is too strong to unravel.


And, since Time is a Wheel, you might just be able to camp out in a mirror world or vacuole until the target time comes around again.


I think the author posed a similar solution, but it wouldn't really be specific event of time travel that interests me most: the literal going back in the same Turning.

The Unreasoner
09-02-2015, 03:12 PM
I always hated the idea of Perpendicular worlds. It's almost like the multiverse theory: maybe it's true (or maybe they exist), but we'll never know.

If they do exist, they may function almost like wormholes. I do not think they would ever 'recur', in a sense (iow, we encounter Sindhol every Turning, we may encounter Perpendicular World #76433 in only one). On the off chance that they intersect Randland a second time, it may be possible to travel between two points in (local) time, though only in one direction. Of course, predicting where and when such intersections occur may be all but impossible, and predicting where you end up may be even harder.

Gateways have limits even in the spatial dimensions, so while it may be possible to Travel back in time, anything more than a few seconds may be all but impossible (just look at the strength of balefire vs the amount of time a thread is burned in the past).

The Unreasoner
09-02-2015, 03:18 PM
Without the DO warping the Pattern, is it possible to travel backwards in the same Turning and then change the Pattern already woven?
I didn't know this thread was restricted to the article's question. In any case, see the time-regulating device. It would have to be in place already, obviously, and it seems like a one-shot thing (unless the Flame weave can replace parts retroactively). The balefirer's thread would basically have a long loop of slack at the point the balefire was used, as if all the other threads were cut to a point in the past and the one thread was woven back in to the point of cutting.

ETA: In a technical sense, you would retroactively declare some 'past' just a prescient vision.

The Unreasoner
09-02-2015, 03:27 PM
The structure of such a time-regulating device would essentially be a series of balefire ter'angreal firing on a schedule, each blocked by a sheet of cuendillar held in place by a balefireable substance (along with 'something' that speeds up the local world's flow of time). So firing at one point will retroactively cause one other stream of balefire to not be blocked by cuendillar when it was fired, which triggers another, and so on.

Tamyrlin
09-02-2015, 03:36 PM
I didn't know this thread was restricted to the article's question.

Didn't mean to suggest it was restricted, just not the particular time travel question I'm focused on atm.


In any case, see the time-regulating device. It would have to be in place already, obviously, and it seems like a one-shot thing (unless the Flame weave can replace parts retroactively). The balefirer's thread would basically have a long loop of slack at the point the balefire was used, as if all the other threads were cut to a point in the past and the one thread was woven back in to the point of cutting.

ETA: In a technical sense, you would retroactively declare some 'past' just a prescient vision.

The structure of such a time-regulating device would essentially be a series of balefire ter'angreal firing on a schedule, each blocked by a sheet of cuendillar held in place by a balefireable substance (along with 'something' that speeds up the local world's flow of time). So firing at one point will retroactively cause one other stream of balefire to not be blocked by cuendillar when it was fired, which triggers another, and so on.


Damn. I want to understand this device...but I'm having a hard time imagining it.

Tamyrlin
09-02-2015, 03:51 PM
I don't recall fighting for or against this theory of time traveling, but it is pertinent to the discussion.

http://13depository.blogspot.com/2001/07/aviendhas-gateway.html

The Unreasoner
09-02-2015, 03:58 PM
Damn. I want to understand this device...but I'm having a hard time imagining it. Suppose Gitara Moroso wanted to give the Dragon a possible 'do-over' of two months, so she builds some device that starts to accelerate the flow of time within the world (so, like the opposite of just massively accerating the planet). Obviously I don't know if such a thing is possible, but given the variable rate of flow worlds experience relative to one another, it's not outside the realm of possibility. So, where a one degree (or some other measure) turn of the Wheel would normally result in 10 years passing in Randland, now it's one hundred years (or the appropriate speedup for the desired effect). So, Rand could later balefire the device back one tiny fraction of a degree back in time, which would have the effect of the Wheel, while turning the same amount, only pushing Randland at the normal speed for the length of 'absolute' time removed by balefire (while keeping the accelerated rate before). So, everyone else would only have lived their lives up to the point they had at some point in the past, while Rand would (hopefully) remember everything that happened at the accelerated rate.

ETA: It's probably worth noting that I have no idea how something like this would affect other worlds (while it seems they can and do experience time differently, any contact presumably needs some sort of relative sense of locality). It's possible that the Aelfinn might find themselves answering questions to an empty room, or an Ogier vanishing from his world if he traveled there during the removed period.

Rand al'Fain
09-02-2015, 08:25 PM
There's also the matter of skimming. While not as fast as traveling, you bore a hole into somewhere where your transport (whatever it is) is determined by the channeler's personality and size by power level. And it moves across long distances in very quick times.

The Unreasoner
09-02-2015, 08:43 PM
There's also the matter of skimming. While not as fast as traveling, you bore a hole into somewhere where your transport (whatever it is) is determined by the channeler's personality and size by power level. And it moves across long distances in very quick times.
But time still moves in the skimming space, and in the same direction. Even if time travel is theoretically 'possible' in such a space, you will still have a sort of 'temporal momentum' that has to be counteracted (and, barring someone sitting on his barge with a 'finder' weave on him just sitting around waiting until you go back for him...idk how you correct for it in a general sense).

Khoram
09-02-2015, 08:51 PM
And what about traveling through Tel'aran'rhiod? Time moves differently there, as well.

The Unreasoner
09-02-2015, 09:31 PM
And what about traveling through Tel'aran'rhiod? Time moves differently there, as well.
Surely temporal momentum is at least as big a problem here? If you do it without entering bodily, part of you is being dragged forward, and any 'extratemporal' effects manifest as Dreaming analogues. Entering bodily may free you from one issue, but it only reinforces the other: momentum. And you don't even have the advantage of an 'uncomplicated' universe, like the Skimming space. T'A'R may, via context alone (ie, you won't see dinosaurs when you enter), strictly enforce the conservation of temporal momentum.

Weird Harold
09-02-2015, 09:58 PM
And what about traveling through Tel'aran'rhiod? Time moves differently there, as well.
I'm pretty sure that if you search the interview database, you'll find RJ squashed the idea of time running backwards in T'A'R.

"Time runs at a variable rate, but you will never leave T'A'R before you entered." -- owtte

Zombie Sammael
09-02-2015, 11:41 PM
Given the cyclical nature of the Wheel, it might be possible to achieve something that would be functionally the same as travelling backwards in time simply by moving far enough forwards in time. If one were to move slightly less than seven ages forwards through time, one would presumably arrive at a point that would be similar enough to one's recent past to functionally simulate travelling backwards. Necessarily, the age that the traveller arrived at would be just slightly different from the one they left, given the way the Wheel deviates over time, but probably not so much that it would be noticeable or consequential.

The problem with that is that the other limitations of how the Wheel works would probably necessitate the traveller "failing" in whatever it was they were trying to do, and their seven ages later counterpart having to go "back" (actually forwards) again ad infinitum. But that simply resolves the paradoxes of time travel; it's not necessarily an argument against its existence.

There are a variety of different ways one could manage this, from a very carefully hidden stasis box to creative use of a vacuole to manipulation of TAR in some way. Theoretically, it appears to be possible.

The Unreasoner
09-02-2015, 11:42 PM
I'm pretty sure that if you search the interview database, you'll find RJ squashed the idea of time running backwards in T'A'R.

"Time runs at a variable rate, but you will never leave T'A'R before you entered." -- owtte
Is that with respect to Olver? The Heroes may be more tightly bound to 'realtime' than some random Dreamwalker. I still think 'momentum' is a not insignificant problem, but that's not to say someone couldn't 'kick off' something 'real' brought to TAR when the relative rates of time's passage were different.

The Unreasoner
09-02-2015, 11:54 PM
I think we need to know more about cuendillar. For instance, why aren't we buried in it? Why couldn't you build a machine that exploits the nature of cuendillar and balefire to at least remove a problematic individual from the timeline after the fact? I could post the technical specs of such a computer (see my Non-WoT STEM thread, for the general idea). But, even if the totality of the effects of balefire are strongly local (so my time-regulation device is impossible, or at least impractical), action on even the distant past is possible, with a balefire-based computer. The actor may not remember the action after it's taken, but that doesn't stop him from taking it.

GonzoTheGreat
09-03-2015, 04:20 AM
Cockroaches eat cuendillar. That's why there were hardly any in the first books, but there appeared lots of them some time after Egwene started mass production.

And I don't really buy the "the Wheel will prevent time travel" argument. Even without time travel, the Wheel is weaving a many dimensional tapestry; there are at least 6 spatial dimensions (three for normal space, another one at least for *finn-space, for PS worlds and one for TAR), plus a time dimension. If the Wheel can weave in 7 dimensions anyway, why can't it weave in 8, or 9, or even more, just as well?

About the gholam's sensing of the Aviendha gateway:
It is not actually said in tPoD that the gholam sensed the gateway. It is only said that it could sense that the OP had been used. How sensitive is a gholam to that, though? Maybe what it sensed close by was the gateway, and what it sensed farther off was the use of the Bowl.
On the other hand, the Windfinders learned to Travel at least in part by watching what Aviendha did. So if her method involved time travel, then the same would be true for the Windfinders.

The Unreasoner
09-03-2015, 06:34 AM
I forgot another possible method: quantum teleportation.

The reason we cannot use it to move back in time is because we can't send information backwards (which you need before collapsing the entangled state). But even if time-regulation is impossible, sending bits back is easy. Of course, whether this constitutes true time travel is up for debate. I mean, the 'you' created in the past would retain all your memories and other properties, but you would probably be dead in a technical sense. The original, that is. I don't know what would happen with the threads.

GonzoTheGreat
09-03-2015, 07:35 AM
Maybe the quantum teleportation can be combined with balefire somehow?
That'd make an interesting research subject, though getting it financed might be difficult.

The Unreasoner
09-03-2015, 08:16 AM
Maybe the quantum teleportation can be combined with balefire somehow?
That'd make an interesting research subject, though getting it financed might be difficult.
This was exactly what I had in mind. Send the bits back in time with a balefire computer. Though I suppose a high-bandwidth Foretelling machine would work too.

The funding question raises an interesting paradox: If it is funded, you could in theory send someone back to stop the funding.

It may even be the case that (since the past section has already been woven) no one would notice or react to you. You may even find it hard to channel (if you are effectively threadless, how would you be connected to the Source?)

GonzoTheGreat
09-03-2015, 08:31 AM
You may even find it hard to channel (if you are effectively threadless, how would you be connected to the Source?)
That can obviously be solved if you just have a well-filling ter'angreal. I'm sure Elayne can make such a thing.

Terez
09-03-2015, 09:32 AM
It's been a while since I've read work on Time Travel and WoT, but this individual on Tor.com mentions that it is not possible to travel backwards in Time in the RW or "Main Reality" and I can't remember if we ever discounted the possibility entirely assuming the Wheel is intact. I haven't had time to think through the metaphysical mechanisms fully, but thought I'd ask while I think it through.
Page Frenzy. This was one of her pet theories if I recall.

The Unreasoner
09-03-2015, 12:09 PM
That can obviously be solved if you just have a well-filling ter'angreal. I'm sure Elayne can make such a thing.
My point is that if the Pattern is already woven, you will be so out of sync when you go back in time that you won't be able to affect anything. Maybe just going back would sever you, and if no one can see or hear or touch you (even soft things might be as immovable as a steel wall), no one will be able to Heal you. The Pattern would be fixed, and you would essentially just be an observer. Which would explain why we've never seen a time traveler. There could be thousands running around, cut loose from the Pattern. And it may be that after you die, you are Dead. Forever. You may even die fairly quickly, if even the movement of water is woven already. Even faster if air is already woven.

GonzoTheGreat
09-03-2015, 12:28 PM
Maybe all those "ghosts" that were seen before the Last Battle were accidental time travellers from far in the future?
It seems far fetched to me, but I can't quite exclude the possibility that they are from six point something Ages ahead instead of (as everyone assumed) from half an Age or so ago.

fionwe1987
09-03-2015, 04:11 PM
Of course it is entirely possible that if you attempt to time travel, you end up as a voice in someone's head...

The Unreasoner
09-03-2015, 07:14 PM
Maybe all those "ghosts" that were seen before the Last Battle were accidental time travellers from far in the future?
It seems far fetched to me, but I can't quite exclude the possibility that they are from six point something Ages ahead instead of (as everyone assumed) from half an Age or so ago.
lol. Maybe they came to help.

It's worth noting that no time travel method yet discussed (that we know works, iow: no gateways, no time-regulating device) really seems to offer a way to change the past. Even quantum teleportation only seems to swap the true world for a mirror world, and the Wheel would (presumably) force it to re-occur. So, like the time travel in Harry Potter (you go back to preserve the timeline, not alter it). You'd get a chance to alter things, but only once, and it may be pre-determined.

But, an analogue using something that only predicts the future probabilisticaly to acquire information before its time (like Dreaming) to provide the bits for the quantum teleportation may still be possible. So, not quite time travel, but selecting how events unfold in advance.

GonzoTheGreat
09-04-2015, 04:35 AM
Maybe Nakomi was future-Aviendha?
That would explain why she didn't see herself in the visions she got in Rhuidean (she had left already to warn herself).

The Unreasoner
09-04-2015, 07:01 PM
Maybe Nakomi was future-Aviendha?
That would explain why she didn't see herself in the visions she got in Rhuidean (she had left already to warn herself).
What is the consensus on Nakomi?

Also I was going to mention Asmodean's horror at opening an exit gateway at the back of a Skimming barge. Normally the movement through the Skimming process only goes in one direction relative to the barge. Maybe this direction is the arrow of time? And maybe the consequences of time travel are as dire as I thought they could be.

Really, for pretty much all intents and purposes, time travel is probably possible. Just look at the Rhuidean columns, or the Portal Stone trip to Toman Head. Since Foretelling is possible, and other similar methods of prediction, what's to stop someone from building a ter'angreal that lets you live a virtual life in the projected future (in compressed time) from some point a few hours in the future. You'd wear something like the twisted ring around your neck that takes some kinds of input. You'd live in the projected future normally, and the ter'angreal would record your actions, and at any point you want to trigger a do-over, you could. You might even be able to 'save' your progress throughout, to avoid repeating tedious tasks (though the ability to acquire new information in otherwise idle time would be incredibly valuable). Essentially, you'd be able to see exactly how the future plays out, and how it responds to your choices. Once you find a satisfactory path forward, you lock it into the ter'angreal and wait for the start point of the recorded period to occur, at which point you leave the ter'angreal and have some sort of Compulsion put on you to ensure you follow the recorded path without deviation. And if the start time comes before you lock in a path, you will either be released free or Compelled to follow the active path, depending on the configuration.