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THEORY: Tenses for Time Travelers...

From:Remi Villatel <maxilys@...>
Date:Thursday, August 18, 2005, 14:26
Tom Chappell wrote:

> A society of time-travelers who meet at a particular time may need to specify > "past" or "future" in three different time-scales: > Speaker's past vs Speaker's future; > Addressee's past vs Addressee's future; > Subject's past vs Subject's future ("Subject" = subject of sentence.). > > That leads to 11 tenses, since the Speaker's Present and > the Addressee's Present will be the same moment, and we can assume > that the Subject's Present takes place in the Speaker's and > Addressee's Present. > > (The Subect's Past or Future could overlap the > Speaker's and Addressee's Present, however.).
The solution is obvious, it's already contained in your question when you write "speaker's past" or "speaker's future", etc. From a time-traveler's point of view, the absolute time doesn't exist. The only time that makes sense for him is a tense relative to his internal clock. Whatever the absolute time I'm traveling into, I'm always in my present. Logically, the same applies to each tiny bit of the reality although not all "bits" are conscious of it. So, instead of the verb, the tense marking must be set on the objects and the subject. present-I be not hungry, past-I eat this absolute.future night. Absolute future or common future, i.e. common to the speaker and the addressee. past-I bring this (present) object from the absolute future. If you kill your past parents before your past conception, absolute-you cease to exist. present-He is on an absolute.past mission that may affect the absolute present. So each tense marking is relative to the internal clock of the object or subject to which it applies. An absolute tense is the time the speaker and the adressee share. (If they look at the same clock, both can agree on a meaning for the words "earlier" or "later".) However I don't know what to do with erased time i.e. events as they were before a careless time-traveler changed them into something else. It gets very close from the alternate realities issue. And things are already messy enough with only one timeline and time-travelers who makes knots with it. Several alternatives timelines will only multiply the number of possible knots. I prefer not to think about the kind of knitting we'd get as our "reality". -- ================== Remi Villatel ==================


tomhchappell <tomhchappell@...>