Last night I watched Neil deGrasse Tyson deliver a close to his presentation. In it he “doesn’t preclude” the possibility of faster than light travel. Which means, he goes on to say, if we were to go to a galaxy 65 million light years away and look towards earth, you could see the light reflected from the asteroid that wiped out the dinosaurs.
What struck me wasn’t the sense of wonder as much as one of familiarity. NdGT offered some validation to an idea I think of as an “infinite lens”. The infinite lens is one with infinite focus and, more importantly, the ability to be positioned at any point, in an infinite universe. This trick allows us to observe the past without affecting the past or effecting the present. The ability to time travel and interfere with the past makes for a better film but a much more complicated mathematical framework.
With our infinite lens we couldn’t go back in time to stop tyrants and disasters killing millions or that kid who laughed at you in the playground when you pissed yourself. It would give us the ability to better understand ourselves, disasters and tyrants. To learn from the past, dispersing the fog of our ego. The archeology of the future will not be found in the sands of time, we will look to the stars of time. The patriarchal society tends towards an arms race of omnipotence to control itself. As we have found our omnipotence, our gods lost theirs. What remains of the matriarchal omnipresent control, the feeling that somehow, somewhere your mum’s watching you, evolved into the infinite lens.
Yes, you will be able to see who shot JFK, what miracles your prophet performed and how did life on earth begin. More importantly we will be held accountable for all our actions, not only the ones we got away with but also the ones we forgot about. Any and every event, however small, short, insignificant will be observed. Accepting the present is as important as understanding the math. Our history is littered with the bodies of ideas on the battlefield of our collective self. One side battling to put itself at the centre, the other side refusing to even accept a centre.