Looking back in history, it’s easy to find events that we wish never happened (the birth of Hitler, perhaps?). So my question is this: if you had the opportunity to change history (not just loading up on a Superbowl bet, but actually change something without knowing what effect that change would have) would you take it?
What if you could see the future being shaped here and now? Would you want to influence it? Would it be right to interfere or should we stand back and let things take it’s course. What if you saw a little boy fall onto the train tracks? Would you save him?
It’s interesting how much ignorance of the future vs knowledge of the past makes such a big difference. I would always try to save someone from a potential accident, but I also agree with Doc Brown to not change the past thus preserving our current circumstances (although, he did change his mind when he fell in love!)
Save the little boy today? Yes! Go back in time and push a little Hitler (or simply stand back and not intervene if it were needed)? That’s a little harder to answer.
Saving him means a world war, the holocaust and an end to a specific style of moustache. Allowing him to die potentially saves millions of people and could create a total shift in the trajectory of world events and history. Plus, if I wanted to, I could sport a neat-looking little soup-strainer with no one looking at me like I’m, well…a Nazi. But I would still have a tough time answering.
Maybe it’s self-preservation? All events in time have progressed to this point where I now exist. Change a point in time, and there’s a chance I would not be here today. That’s a scary thought (and a paradox if I ever saw one!).
I don’t know the answer, but I know this. Those events caused by a madmen and the devastation that followed should have never happened! I also know this; if I saw a little boy fall in front of a train, I’d save him. Even if it killed me. Even if he turned out to be Hitler.
What would you do? Take a chance & change the past, or follow the laws of every time-travelling movie ever made and leave things as they are…(or were…or whatever)?