Time keeps on slippin’…into the future…

Today, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology is hosting a Time Traveler Convention. Supposedly inspired by a comic strip, this genuine event will feature several speakers from the MIT physics professorial staff. I presume, since the event has garnered national media attention, it will be packed to capacity with gawkers from the present time, hoping an actual time traveler or two might even show up.
I can’t help but be reminded of an observation I have made many, many times: intelligence and common sense, in far too many people, are inversely proportional to each other.
The folks at MIT really ought to know better. If time travel ever becomes a technological possibility, it’s quite obvious that time travelers will not be showing up at this event. First of all, the idea has already been implemented to no effect (Destination Day). Secondly, since there are no verifiable records of any time-travelers ever appearing in our time, it is not in any way reasonable to assume they will be willing or able to show up for a “convention.” If they haven’t shown up elsewhere, they either do not exist, are not permitted to appear in any recordable fashion, or cannot interact with a time period not their own. All this event will accomplish is to gather a group of techno-dreamers together to commisserate over the lack of real time travelers, and burn up some daylight. Oh, and consume the refreshments.
So why exactly would an intelligent person organize such a thing? It’s likely, though no one has come out and said it, that it is to some degree, tongue-in-cheek. We are talking college students here. But why not back down when suddenly it attracted the media limelight? Well, what if a time traveler (or several) does show up?
You see, it’s all about hope. It’s about people disillusioned with harsh reality, and seeing little concrete cause for optimism. Look at what they are offering as suggestions to a time traveler’s proof of legitimacy: “We welcome any sort of proof, but things like a cure for AIDS or cancer, a solution for global poverty, or a cold fusion reactor would be particularly convincing as well as greatly appreciated.”. It’s about wanting a solution that cannot be forseen – a technological deus ex machina. Well, that’s better than despair, and at least they will have an excuse for a party.

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