Sound Strategies for Contemporary Time Travel

G. Lucas Crane

I have a possibly controversial confession to make here : I have a real, working, time machine. Not only that—and something I consider more important—I have the ability to live nonlinearly without the physical act of time travel. But even all of that does not help me escape the fundamental effects of change that churn at the heart of reality. Because of this, I always feel like this confession is less controversial than it first seems.

It won’t help for me to “prove” anything for you here ; what’s more important is we discuss the implications and techniques involved so that if you find yourself in a time machine, you won’t be completely unprepared. If I tried ham-fistedly to prove it to you, and we print some future experience as a present predication, and this winds up destroying its own outcome, or a thousand other things change, it would be/has been/will be embarrassing. This is actually happening all the time, but the loops all close and time seems like a perpetually unbroken line. Even if we aren’t traveling in the machine together, contemporary time travel can illuminate the present.

I’ve made many mistakes with the time machine while time traveling. The ones I remember I haven’t corrected. I have to keep them on purpose, or else I’ve gone back and erased them. Like trying to remember what something sounded like long ago, it’s changed by the amount of time it has remained a memory. Time travel is bound up in the pursuit of an “impossible” moment outside of the present, and for this reason I consider it more useful to explore reality via the ears than relying on your eyes. “Sound’s temporality means the baptized thing cannot be held, the name is not only contextual but contingent, not a designator but a portal, granting entrance to an experience that will have to be renamed continually.” Salomé Voegelin here speaks of a portal, and for me this is a portal through time.

I suggest you install a synthesizer in your time machine, or stick a flute or small sampler in your pocket, before you step through the time portal.

I’m free to go to the past or future, but to tell you about it I need to spend a real amount of time here in the present with you to impart the information. If I were to deliver it to you in the past I’d have to rewrite it for clarity and that would take time—a real, non-illusory amount of time in whatever present I was communicating in. This amount of time exacts a price.

There’s a significant amount of wish fulfillment and tragic escapism in time travel, the fraught desire to make a change, to escape change, or in the other direction, to change everything by changing one thing. Our current conception of time is not that old ; human beings are defined by our ability to imagine a reality and live in it fully, and since the hunter-gatherer days we have been stretching further and further into a reality made completely in our minds. A million years ago, humans made the leap to this dual existence, real and non-real, organizing into groups that share stories, and “binding” time forward in those stories to people they wouldn’t ever meet, leapfrogging evolution and laying the bedrock for something like the consensus reality of modern time. We tell each other stories, but we are always confined to the communication medium of the present we live in, and we seek ever greater fidelity for these transmissions from the past into the future. It used to be only oral stories around a fire, and today it’s instant digital transition across the earth, and in the future it will be small nodes of crystal containing the sum totality of human knowledge to date that we plug into our necks. Our fictions prefigure these changes. In a very real way we see the future clearly and hide that vision in fanciful stories. Our greatest strength is our ability to wield our minds for and against time. St. Augustine confessed : “When I measure time, I am measuring something in the present of my mind. Either this is time, or I have no idea what is time.” Time is the last barrier to break. And I broke it, and now I can’t go back.

The desire for control over time itself, of causality and subsequently free will, is a desire at the heart of time travel, but this is only true from the illusory prison of the present. Once you start stretching into the future and choosing timelines to foster, or physically returning to the past to wreck some particular change, you quickly realize that the fantasy of time manipulation means nothing against the ceaseless churn of change itself. There is no time, only change. Time is ultimately an abstracted recompiling of what we experience as creatures made of change, but change at a rate so fast and indomitable that our shared consensus as to what is happening to us is what we call “time.” We live at a macro level, as huge beings constructed from zillions of molecules each with variously indeterminate quantum properties, and we do not have the mental resources to zero in on all the details of the constant change around us. The resulting reality and consciousness are blurry affairs, time as we experience it comes from our ignorance of the multitude of minute details, and traveling in time is merely expending the intense mental energy to zero in on a few fragile qualities that a moment has in the past, present, or future. Whether you are climbing into a steam-punk car, or sitting in a crystal throne, or stepping through a magic doorway with vibrating radio green gossamer edges, it’s a change in focus from blurry to sharp. It’s a massive increase in local fidelity. Just as our eyes and visual systems are biased toward some information and away from others, filtering out a large portion of the information that exists, we can only hold so much time in our minds, as traces of what is occurring at any given moment.

The real problem with time travel is not engaging in its practice, but maintaining your identity over broken causality. It’s fighting off crushing time ennui or total time erasure and figuring out how to even talk about it. I decided to try writing an article in 2018 because I’m tired of harassing drunk scientists and artists in loud places where everyone is trying to tell their stories all at once, hoping some shred of narrative will leave a trace. To do it and maintain a semblance of humanity, you’re going to have to develop a few new and rare strategies for the self. And in my experience, these mental preparations require both a massive departure from the “western thought” tradition of time and a reordering of the hierarchy of the senses so that sensitivity to sound sits atop vision in our perception.

Western thought brings along a nearly invisible prison of time biases built upon presuppositions of why we should time travel reflected through hundreds of years of media tales distilled in time travel tropes concerned with savior complexes, version control, and time domination. The paradoxes that are popular in fiction are only a problem because of the traveler’s reasons for travelling. If you feel like you can only prove your free will by killing your grandfather and seeing if you disappear, then you’ve got time-murder on your mind anyway, and you seem to only be able to prove to yourself that you exist in time by your desire to dominate time with paradoxical murder. Once you let this, and most other agendas go, the paradoxes are just part of the experience. The attempt must be made to not bring the time biases from the present with you when you enter the time machine.

Go ahead and keep a notebook with lists of things to remember to go back and change, but also remember the future where you will let the notebook go.

By no means, do I attempt to discount modern physics, which in its endeavors to plumb the very depths of reality tends to harshly question all base assumptions. I am talking about, instead, the brutally vague power structure of how we weave the current consensus about what time can be individually. For time travel is a very individual experience, set against the inescapable backdrop of the fundamental interrelatedness of reality. And its practice, throughout human history, has not needed the relatively recent requirement to empirically prove everything to the world stage. These aren’t “rational” things we speak of, they are often old and slow, and approach from all directions in all dimensions, and it is our local, present-oriented identities manufactured in our modern-world culture that rejects time manipulation. The past and future are riddled with examples of the blinders coming off, and when that happens for time itself we will look around and finally see all the time travel that has led us, has always been leading us, to this point. “The initial low entropy of the universe, and hence the arrow of time, may be more down to us than the universe itself.” Says the physicist Carlo Rovelli, working on the granular reality of loop quantum gravity, “It took us thousands of years, but in the end we managed to understand the revolving of the heavens : we understood that it is we who turn, not the universe . . . something similar might be true for time’s arrow.”

The visual bias makes us an easier mark for linear time to con. We see a rat moving through the bushes at one point and see it come out another point, and we are sure it’s the same rat. Our pattern-making minds demand visual causality, which is all for keeping us alive, but locked in the present, forever stringing together fleeting moments of attention. Sound is created in the present and leaves nothing but traces inside our mind, where our sense of time lives. Its continual creation and destruction increases the dual awareness of its presence and its absence and, more importantly, its organic duration. Because of this, time-sense and sound-sense are similar ; listening, and the feedback experience of listening while sounding, is shaped by our internal senses, our ordering of internal states, our perception. And it is within the awareness of our perceptions from moment to moment that we can come to measure time via sound and sounding, creating a map of when we are that is instinctual, irrational, and materially true. There is a reason why both St. Augustine and Edmund Husserl use music, hymns, and melodies as metaphorical test cases for the internal experience of time ; in the moment we hear a note, the previous note is “retained,” and that moment subsequently becomes part of the “retention” of listening, running together in a blurring of past traces that constitute the experience of time. The sound is always in the present and layered with its own immediate past in a way that physical objects are not. That table on the porch may be 100 years or one-year-old, and it would take some time, and expertise to know that. Sound maps out the present moment with the experience of its simultaneous and immediate continuity and disparity in time. A sound leaves the physical realm and enters into the mind where it marks out our time in beginnings and endings, confusions and certainties sustained and abandoned. Listening can be said to be a remembered and embodied present ; reality : layered. This aspect of sound makes it quintessential for the time traveler, who must actively strain to live in multiple layers of time simultaneously, or lose themselves to the doldrums of linearity.

The route recorded music takes through time is also decidedly nonlinear. How humans create the history of music making and recorded music, and the musicological route sound takes throughout history is a process of carving a linearity from a thicket of time-brambles where the future often returns to influence the past and the present dominates and holds time hostage. A recording of Edgard Varèse from the ’30s that I experience in the year 2005 becomes a story I relate to you in 2018. My ’90s are different than your ’90s. These experiences are non-linear, from creation to audition to synthesis, the creation of sound in the present casts out and measures a non-linear line through time. Think of all the forgotten sonic geniuses in the past before recorded sound, whose sonic mappings of their temporal perspectives reverberate outwards, skipping over timelines in a great nonlinear time wave. When someone is said to “be ahead of their time,” what is really meant is that they are exactly of their present ; wholly, gloriously digesting and reflecting and embodying their present, and it’s everyone else who is stuck in the far-flung or immediate past. The ultimate catch to all of this is that the story of these sonic timelines can only be related in the present, using the linear information transference techniques specific to that time (oral stories, media creation, massive public address systems, direct mind meld, neural download, etc.). My time travel experiences have shown clearly that humans are partly non-linear creatures, but when we communicate our experiences to each other, the waveform of possibilities collapses into linearity.

The route to hearing both the unknown and the previously unknown, the other categorical types of listening we do, will help us take hold of our memory, like a length of golden thread in a maze, to return to ourselves in the storm of rewriting timelines caused by our nonlinear travel. For this reason, a musical instrument, or any way to make or play sound in the moment, is far better for establishing and maintaining an atemporal identity.

Music is a feedback system for measuring and mapping time as it warps around you.

The fact that it is a medium of the present moment means sound will help you notice when things are changing in time, and a massive toolkit of different listening and sonic strategies can be developed for the time traveler in order to rearrange the hierarchy of the senses. Kodwo Eshun’s More Brilliant Than the Sun outlines the techniques of bass viscosity and the polyrhythmic nexus of black Atlantian music that Steve Goodman describes in Sonic Warfare as developing “an alternate version of virtual space, one that is sonic, but more than that, is essentially invasive, resonant, vibratory, and immersive.” Time, outside of a present that the human perspective is addicted to, can be construed here as a type of “virtual” space. The physical advantages the sonic tableau offers are useful for disrupting the addiction via nonlinear immersion. When the timeline is being rewritten on the fly—your memories change in an instant—the fleeting experience of a particular arraignment in sound can remind you, instinctively, that this is happening, did happen, is going to happen. Sometimes the music will change (because the instance of making it in the past has changed and playing a recording again in the future, which is where recordings are always played, will be rewritten there, then, in the future you’ve traveled to). It is for this reason that I recommend starting playback of a song on a recorder as you go to flip the switch on the time machine, or perhaps, pluck the strings of your guitar and play a song that calls to mind good memories as you step through the time door. This will give you a better chance to catch the fact that things are reordering themselves in time. You are the one traveling, and you have the best chance of noticing these timeline changes. Everyone else, with their present reference frame, will just shuffle about their present time business like nothing has happened.

Time travel can be a lonely experience, but if you have the comfort of your accompanying sound track, you stand a chance of being reminded who you are and what you time traveled then to do.

Like a bat using clicks to define the space based on the reverberations in the dark, the moment to moment construction or experience of music, either generated in real time by a synthesizer, the playing of an instrument, or the listening to a recording, can tell us where we are in time, and which time we are in.

A song exists in time, but each iteration is formed in a discrete present that maps the context associations of that present, how much the song or composition or sequence has changed, how familiar it is, and will instinctively, non-rationally expose which present you have entered better than the counter on your time machine or the clock on the wall, which you can’t guarantee won’t whip around the dial suddenly with the ripping away and sudden introduction of another timeline.

Sounding can create a “witness” that helps confirm the passage of time in a feedback loop of the self. The sounding body and the listening body coinciding in the same moment creates a four-dimensional representation of the self that can situate you on your nonlinear journey.

But despite the physical impossibility of moving faster than light, the essential slipperiness of communicating the meaning or concept of now between two humans is less likely to approach the moment in real time except in the collaborative sounding of musical collaboration. Most other forms of togetherness take too long, falling into the perceptual gap of mirroring and imitating and embodying the other. In all the ways to attempt simultaneity, sound, continually mapping the perpetual present as it does and fading away in the past and not lingering in the future, gets closest to the quick.

The grandfather paradox is bullshit: unlearning time bias

Awareness of tropes in our time travel fictions can give us a window into the species of our time biases, so that we might escape them in our own time machines with our contemporary time travel. Since giving ourselves over to paradoxes is of particular importance while engaging in contemporary time travel (calm down, breathe, repeat) we must be careful to note that stories, as information we enjoy sharing, are very often built around rhythms of conflict and resolution. This is often the main difference between stories and reality. There often is no closure, no beginning, no end : just a bulbous middle, a wet sack of experience tumbling down the mountain of time, running you over, soaking you. Let’s catalog some of the usual time travel frames :

1 You can travel back but you can’t change anything.

In this story you may observe what’s going on, but time is fixed and you have no agency. You can sometimes return with the knowledge you gained from the past and future, but the lack of agency may seem like a cheat. Is this what time travel is for ? Time travel is supposed to be messy. That this form of time travel seems to be without agency can also be seen as a wistfulness pining for a type of control that you have essentially abandoned by traveling through time.

2 You can travel back but you always did.

Another locked up time parable. You and all your time shenanigans have always existed. Future technology you bring back is then invented at that moment and all your plans for rebellion are sewn up by a spooky time presence. Again, let your plans go and this will be less of a problem.

3 You can change the past and the effects are felt immediately.

This is the time travel from movies like Back to the Future. Narratively driven and full of danger, temporal erasure, and butterfly-like chaos effects hound every action and decision. In contemporary time travel practice, these effects are the most striking, and require the most experience to handle. When every decision could instantaneously change wide swaths of the world around you and potentially rewrite your own history and memory, one must pour constant energy into an awareness of the present and the boundary between perceptible pasts and futures. Even if your time machine is a poisonous, aggressive, glowing jellyfish in a delicate crystal jar, you must maintain awareness of the macro and micro scale of time changes as they stretch far out into the future and past. This form of time travel is the most threatening to your own identity, since you can potentially change yourself in deep and often unnoticeable ways. You go back and become someone who doesn’t care anymore. These are effects that developed listening and sound-making practices can help you notice and avoid, by maintaining awareness of both the present you are in, and who you actually are and what you came to this when for. Do you still like the old song that you started to play when you pulled the time machine’s time jump leaver ? Or is it abhorrent now ? Did you fundamentally change ?

4 You can change the past, but you just create a brand new “timeline” and only you can remember the old timeline.

This kind of time travel is where the most crushing loneliness and soul-eviscerating ennui come from, as whole universes and lives are abandoned, so close and yet unobtainable. Knocking time back into a recognizable shape could be your job, but haven’t you done enough harm when you provoked the end of the world and killed the entire species and then went back and changed it so everyone lives ? Only you are left with what you’ve done, some-when, to some real people that really existed some time. This kind of time travel occurs when the traveler just abandons any consequences and, unlike in fiction, this timeline weighs heavy on whatever soul you’ve managed to keep. All the timelines you abandon litter your own non-linear life like a graveyard of shattered headstones.

Contemporary time travel maintains that all these frames are happening alongside each other, just as there are many different competing ways of time-travelling. Time-travelers are extremely wary of each other because of this, or should remember to be.

Changes leave “traces” on our memory, which is how we process the past and anticipate the future. But it’s also how we each distinctly, individually relate to our memory that becomes our de-facto time mindset, with all of its concurrent biases ; what we choose to remember, what we forget that we’ve forgotten, etc., time, and what species of trace change itself ultimately leaves matches what we want out of time and subsequently what our identity becomes. When time-traveling backward and forward from your origin time, you are creating new memories that violate linear causality, but you will still perceive them as happening “before” or “after” some event or other. Only in the telling will these perceptions fall outside of anything linear for someone else, and only when you try to transfer them from memory to an event object for sharing with others will you situate them in a time where they can actually violate causality. You wanted to go back and you did but, if you are going to, you should stop right now and try to remember when you did that already, because once you go back you will create memories that might meet you in the future. If you put energy into it, you can remember when you went into the future directly from your past. It takes a lot of energy and specific focus to recall the future. You will have to maintain continual awareness of the linear bias that you were born with, and put a low hum of mental energy into the task of knocking your mind out of the present, where it inevitably is. In the present, in our broken-time grammar, we might call these premonitions, visions, or half-remembered things, fantasies made real but in a time-travel context they are far more mundane. It’s all just different types of memory ; memory that surrounds you like a sphere, or spreads out from your perception like the sweep of a lighthouse beacon, a double-cone rather than a line, this prison with illusory walls. All this must be done while maintaining your sense of self, which is always a local event. (Having what is known as a “good memory” might not be such an advantage when one is focused on future recall. “Future recall” has a direct correlation with playing music with others in an improvisatory setting, “seek what will we do together two minutes from now.”)

There is the moment, and then there is the analysis and articulation of that moment in the next moment. And there is the overlap of multiple people’s articulation of that past moment in the next moment at the speed of communication, overlapping and piling and layering and looping until years and decades of networked stories amass for just one year, one day, one hour. Always in the past (strung end-to-end, all the movies made about WWII are longer than the amount of time WWII took from “beginning” to “end” ; when was that threshold reached ? When will it be reached ?) Anxiety, a form of time obsession coupled with a blurriness of past and future vision, purports to be a clear, psychological effect that is unavoidable whether or not you are a time traveler.

Grammar Failure

A grammar develops around the need for past/future distinctions. We need a way to talk about our experiences even if the manner is imperfect. Grammar is always developed from a limited experience and is always an attempt. In fact, this failure or limit of our grammar mirrors our experience of the present, which is only low information, always a blurry “aggregation of presents.”

The structure of reality is simply not one predisposed by past/present/future distinctions.

     An event  IS
 
                     HAS BEEN

                     WILL BE
  
     . . . and that’s it ?

Time-travel experience breaks grammar to the point that speaking about even normal time-travel problems becomes incomprehensible gibberish.

An event IS for me but HAS BEEN for you, so I need to describe it to you as both WILL BE and IS for me, from your perspective. This requires twisting language in the present, ramping up the noise in the signal of my story, and stretching out the time I need to tell you about my past, your future, in the present. And I only ever have so much time, according to you. All the time I have via time-travel is not useful to you, I can only tell you about it.

A rejection of linear temporality still embraces a type of temporality. Atemporality.

So the first thing you might want to do is go into the future and see if someone can lengthen your biological life. You might age in fits and starts while you click forward and backward in time, so you might want to hedge your bets with respect to your biological age.

But be wary. It can lead to excessive focus on redoing the past or skipping to the future to “cut to the chase” and, when obsessing over its form, time-travel can end up being a rejection of the inevitability of change and become a hope for control. This leads to time-fascism and is subsequently a futile effort when taking in the full breadth of time. This is a sign of time insanity, like it is in any local time, and must be stamped out at all costs. This is why I suggest that when you acquire the time travelling ability you first go as far forward as you can and then do the same going back.

Skip all the way to the end of this universe and you will see first hand that what you do as an individual cannot avoid the heat death of everything. Better to cherish the time you have and time-work within the web of relationships at the granular level. Everything is in deep relation to change, and you should feel it in your bones. Don’t give up.

Broken time grammar is not all bad. We still have to try. There are the usual ways that we speak about time in our languages that are useful for us in disentangling the complex and fraught, yet subtle, relationship with our experience of time. And, while we must be very critical of these words, we can still use them as something to hold onto against the howling winds of constant change. We can speak of timelines, meaning a track of blooming causality that we started or were finished by, that we are committed to, without forgetting that time does not flow from past to future as we travel through it. In my time machine I am sedate, I close the small door and sit there, and when I open it I am some when else, but when I’m being nostalgic for linear time, I can pat time on the head and say this series of decisions I’m making are on a linear path from my past to my future, even though, via the time machine, I just went from your future to deep in your past and passed over your present. To you, I have done a whirl and it is no more a straight line than a circle is ; that is to say, “it sort of is, if you want to think about it that way, in a moment of weakness.” We need to remember that our grammar is always imperfect and the struggle to be as specific as possible will ultimately fail. But still we must try, for that is hanging on to our humanity. The language I’m speaking to you now has its own blind spots with regard to how time is related in stories and, to properly and safely travel in time we must decouple our experience of time with how we speak and communicate to each other about time. In the Aymara language, a native language of the high Andes, the speakers call the future qhipa pacha/timpu, meaning “back or behind time,” and the past nayra pacha/timpu, meaning “front time.” And they gesture ahead of them when remembering things past, and backward when talking about the future, because in the present moment we can remember the past, we can “see” it laid out in front of us ; whereas the future is unknown, and we cannot seem to turn around to face it.

In the same way, time, as the consensus of how we colloquially experience it in society, can be said to be a form of brainwashing or, if you like, as a strong “tradition” that cavorts as “common sense” that extends into supremely unhealthy and flagrantly immoral dimensions.

Time is a fundamentally local phenomenon—we each have our own experience of time—and so consensus must be levied upon us by domination that stretches from deep in the past in order to make this present and ensure the future. Each human still has a sliver of instinct that time as an external concept is a lie. Social and political power is used to keep us synchronizing our watches together. One must properly and constantly contend with this Newtonian habit (for even the Einsteinian habit has been bastardized thoroughly) and either reject it completely or ride it like a horse, in order to access the atemporal life. The non-linear consciousness of time travel is ultimately giving up what they tell you time is now, and merge these concepts with what time has been and what it will be in the future, resolving the normally blurry field of time into an awareness of “known unknowns” and “unknown unknowns,” escaping a blurriness born more out of fear, complacency and the will to domination, than a desire to know. Dr. Nikitah Okembe-RA Imani, writing in the modern classic time travel manual Black Quantum Futurism, zeroes in on the fundamental Eurocentric framing of modern time travel discourse, where paradoxes and “problems” banish the act of time travel to the realms of the unreal, unwilling to give up causality and anxiety over the loss of “ ‘free will’ ” : “In euro-centric thought, ‘free will’ is the capacity to act unfettered on the basis of one’s own individual choices. Thus the individual time traveler who cannot act in this past, but only observe, suffers a perceived lack of ‘free will’ in that constraint. Inherent in this theoretical construction is also the idea that they have an implicit propensity to breach the past as a consequence of their personhood.” [emphasis mine] Closely parsing what the contemporary world has done to our sense of time is of the utmost importance ; we must identify and separate the toxic from the useful. Our “regular” macro concept of time is often a form of bully consensus that forges the illusion of simultaneity to make the trains run on time. Undo this programing even a little and nonlinear and nonlocal concepts spill outward and overtake the mundane world, even before you close the door of your first time machine.

As a musician, I have a predilection for the cassette tape. These cheap objects have the humble ability to forge sound events and sound memory experiences on to a physical object that become pieces of myself that I can physically leave at different points in time. By layering two different sonic moments together, often two widely different times that I was present for and recorded, I can create a triangle in time, drawn between two disparate times and the present moment. This triangle becomes a strong basis for the present experience, and when this triangle is subsequently put to its own tape, that tape then becomes an anchor to that specific time-point, for future time travel purposes. A “make triangles, stack triangles” strategy that can build any size and shape of sonic memory immersion to both build and destroy my time identity. My compositional technique is an exploration of how much sound or time one can add to a moment until the balance is a subtraction or can fluctuate between addition or subtraction in a particular necessary rhythm. 

One is one thing, two is two things and three things is actually one thing again. Six things is two things, seven is three things again, another hyper-triangle. Eight is four things, nine is back to three things. And so on until the emergent shape mirrors and maps my consciousness from moment to moment. 

Time can be experienced as folding back on itself, impressions and actions canceling each other out. 

Like a series of actions one does in a childhood place in order to return again, reliving it, time itself can work like this : one thing is a unique moment possibly never to occur again, two things are a corollary, to compare, to draw a line between. Three things are a rhythm that can possibly extend forever, now a real time-object, solid and referable, no longer a coincidence. Time may have stopped. 

Mangled Evidentiary Physics

The temporal structure of reality is very different than our perception of it. The desire to know it better is the “hope” of physics ; time explored free from the fog of our emotions, which speeds and slows time and our remembrance of its passing. The usual linear experience of time is itself a form of hope that this intrinsic quality of our lives can be ordered, is knowable, is controllable, can be organized and ultimately escaped. Various current belief systems all share a mandate that exposes a harsh yearning for eternity. Our experience of time is built on a type of anxiety. Letting this anxiety, this desperation, go is at the heart of “well executed” time travel. 

Each of us identifies with a point of view in the world. Each of us is a complex event unfolding in time. If a seven-dimensional being looked down at our four dimensions they would see each of us as a long worm with a baby at one end and a corpse at the other. 

We remember. We are narratives swarming with traces of our past. 

Time is the possible source of our identity. Time travel is the purposeful breaking from this human identity, so we need to quickly look to atemporal constructions of the self and to a personal identity outside of causality. 

Think of how much detail our eyes see and our ears hear every moment that does not stay in our memory. In 2018 humans have access to more stories than they ever have, and this can fill us up, and gut us of our sensitivity to time. This effect will only increase, and with this motivated, swelling access comes the increasing need and the chance to develop a non-linear mindset. 

Via a contemporary time travel practice, we can return to the same moment over and over again and soak up all forgotten details. This is the same as increasing the fidelity of recordings until they approach infinite quality. But our human minds will always enjoy a blurrier relationship with reality. 

Well, let me tell you of the anxiety trade off once you enter the time portal, where the anxiety of not having enough time or the feeling of being pursued by time as if by a predator is traded for a feeling of not remembering what you were ever doing or of who you ever were, of loose ends left untied, leading to loose timelines ; of infinite unfinished business. Or of time exhaustion as you obsess over one moment in all its rich details, returning over and over like a rat in a behavioral maze. Time travel isn’t escapism and I submit to you that it does not give more control over change itself than it is actually riding the unavoidable change on a different steed. We are, even without the complications of time travel, already lost in time, so what better excuse do we need to step into the non-linear realm ? 

Sound Strategies for Contemporary Time Travel