There’s no question that the past and present affect the future. If I were to cut off all of my digits in the now, I would find it difficult to type in the future.
But, can it work the other way? Cutting off my fingers now wouldn’t affect my past since, in the past, I would still have fingers. Actions can only affect the present and future; they can’t change the past. There can’t be any retrocausality, unless there’s some sort of temporal clusterfuck where time gets all jumbled into a non-linear mess, but that’s not very likely. So, hypothetically, the only way my current actions can change the past is to go to the past myself, e.g. through time travel.
Time travel presents a whole bunch of cans of worms in addition to fingers. I mean, the worms are in cans, not fingers. I don’t think anyone would buy a product called Canned Fingers. (Don’t do an image search for canned fingers. Just don’t.). Who the hell cans worms anyway?
Anyhow, time travel. Like the rest of apelike humanoids, I find the concept of time travel fascinating. The problem is, if we ever develop the technology to travel through time, I can guarantee you that a few assholes will ruin it for the rest of us. There will invariably be some douchenozzle who, in the name of personal profit, goes back and screws everything up for everyone forever. Even today, without time travel, we have those douchenozzles.
So, in order to not have you be one of those douchenozzles, I’ve put together a handy list of time travel don’ts. In other words, these are things you definitely should not do if we ever get a chance to time travel. This only applies to visiting the apelike humanoids of the past, since we don’t really know anything about the apelike humanoids of the future, if they are, in fact, apelike humanoids at all.
1. Congratulations! You’ve traveled back in time and now you’re dead. Yay! Wait a minute, what? Yes, you died in any of the countless old-timey ways that you never thought of just by breathing past air. You see, there are a gabillion different invisible biological hazards that your future body isn’t used to in the past, because we haven’t been exposed to them in centuries. How would you like a nice case of black plague mixed with tuberculosis? No? Well, you’ve got it anyway.
Not to mention that the poor past people have never seen the likes of just the bacteria that are currently making themselves at home inside your mouth, let alone the rest of the parasitic freeloaders who call you home. So, not only have you killed yourself, you’ve decimated the past population with the Pig AIDS. Good job! Way to kill off humanity!
Pro Tip: Take a space suit. NASA’s probably got lots of extras lying around now that manned space missions are over. It probably won’t help and it will make people in the past really believe that you are an alien, but at least you’re not dead. Hopefully, you’ve traveled to a point in time where the firearm hasn’t been invented yet.
2. Don’t bone your grandmother/grandfather. This one may seem like common sense, but remember, I’m trying to keep you from being a complete douchenozzle. You could inadvertently make your grandma have the hots for you and not want to bone your grandfather and then where would you be? Nowhere, that’s where. You’d be nowhere because you wouldn’t even exist. Didn’t you see Back To The Future?
Alternatively, for you sciencey types, it’s called the grandfather paradox. Although in that paradox, the time traveler kills their grandfather. I guess I should amend #2 to say don’t bone or kill your grandmother/grandfather.
Pro Tip: To be on the safe side, don’t really go anywhere near your family. They suck anyway.
3. Don’t touch anything. This one’s called the butterfly effect. It’s part of chaos theory, which has to be the coolest name of a theory ever. And no, this one has nothing at all to do with the crappy movie of the same name. The butterfly effect is that a small change can result in large differences in a later state. If a butterfly flaps its wings, it results in a hurricane weeks later. Well, time travel is just one big butterfly effect and you, my friend, are the butterfly.
Some theoreticians say that just by being there in the past, you’ve already fucked everything up anyway (see #1).
Pro Tip: Don’t be a butterfly, douchenozzle.
4. Before you left, you memorized a bunch of facts, figures and crucial data so that you can get filthy, bloody rich in the past and come back to the future as a filthy, rich person. You also are an apelike humanoid, so this behavior is far from unexpected. Well, guess what? Depending on what era you traveled to, filthy, bloody rich might mean $1000. Congratulations, brilliantaire! Your esteemed net worth is enough to buy a 1997 Ford Aspire in the present.
Pro Tip: Open a bank account and store away your $1000. However, good luck with that seeing as A) you have to find a bank that is still around and still has your records in the present, and B) you have absolutely no proof of who you are. You could invest it in a fledgling company in the past, but again, you run into problem B). You can’t very well walk up to Goodyear today and say, hey, my great great grandfather invested in you and I’d like to claim my stake. You could always store your past riches under a tree or something, but it’s still only $1000.
5. Don’t cut off your fingers. They’ll still be cut off in the future. Trust me.
Pro Tip: Just don’t.
I think you can see the perils of time travel now. I highly advise to be careful when traipsing around in time since I don’t want you fucking up my shit, thanks. If you absolutely must positively time travel, I hope you pay attention to my tips. Don’t be a time traveling douchenozzle.