Back To The Future Or Gone With Eternity

Since its inception, the cinematic magnet has lured us to the screen in fulfilling unfulfillable fantasy, a practice typified by time traveling. The 80s sci-fi classic Back To The Future continues to amaze me in 2016 despite the yet-to-come hover board in Robert Zemeckis’ 2015, only because getting rid of wheels was remotely likely before the facts proved me wrong.

The lure in films is that it personifies fantasy in such proximity to reality that it keeps the audience gambling on the verge, as if the next ten dollars absorbed into the tiger machine just might yield a million bucks. We continue to burst out of our imagination believing that bringing something live just might bring it to life.

Time traveling is glued to the fundamental question of existence and creates an optical illusion where conjectural and actual distance between fantasy and reality vary the most. Stubborn imagination miscommunicates closeness when we could not be further from the simple truth that time is irreversible. In blatant denial, we take to proving ourselves in film after film as if the more we watch, the nearer we are to being right. Our denial fathomed, directors hit the revenue jackpot by featuring the time machine, which combined with good acting, holds masterpieces such as Back To The Future acclaimed to this day.

One paradox about time traveling is that whist at it, the traveler does not change the past or result in dire consequences including complete evaporation of a line of generation. Arriving to year 1955, Marty McFly committed precisely this sin upon replacing his father in a car accident that would have led to his father’s encounter with his mother, so that if Marty failed to reconnect his parents some other way, he would be erased from existence altogether. But does someone really time travel when he is not allowed to change the past? The query is inbuilt with contradiction since the time traveler is essentially not allowed to interact with the destination society because any interaction would minutely cede to a different future.

Another factor that per mankind prevails over time is love. Falling in love with Clara from 1885, Doc admitted that he was from the future and invited her to time travel with him. Disregarding repercussions, the two would head towards an unknown time after escorting Marty Back To The Future. In the Time Traveler’s Wife, Henry had no control over his space in time but had full control over his love for Clare in every version of himself. Whether it was older Henry jotting notes for younger Clare or younger Henry paying visit to older Clare, love stayed constant in spite of time. If accustoming to various time zones is to jet lag, approximating greater distances is to lightyear. As rendered in Interstellar, love transcends distance as NASA astronaut Amelia was irrevocably drawn to Edmund’s planet, fully aware of the odds that it might have long perished.

Yet at the end of the day, time traveling is but pinnacle fancy unrelated to reality. What is more pragmatic than working through time is working with time. Perhaps making the most out of every second we do possess is the best form of readily accessible time traveling.

“Grip the nettle firmly and it will become a stick with which to beat your enemy”—Isaac Asimov, The End Of Eternity.

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Sabrina He

Sabrina studies International Relations and French at NYU. Moving from Montreal to Beijing to Vancouver to Manhattan, she is a trilingual Chinese French Canadian culturally confused 90% of the time. A keen observer, she strives to shed light on the "diamonds in the dust" hidden inside her every day journaling. Having interned at various law firms, she now seeks to illuminate her creative outlet through Monologue Blogger.