Practical Time Travel for Everyday Mystics: A Serial Essay (installment 4)
And I love you in a place where there’s no space or time
I’ve loved you for my life, you are a friend of mine
And when my life is over, remember when we were together
We were alone and I was singin’ my song for you
— Leon Russell, A Song for You
Remember the “worldline” back from the first essay (essay 1)? Our worldlines trace our path in spacetime from the moment we’re born to the moment we die. But not every moment is equal in our conscious experience of our lives. I like to call “flagpole moments” the landmarks on our worldlines that seem to attract our attention during practical time travel trips. Flagpole moments are usually an emotional transition — a move, a graduation, a death, a marriage, a birth, a first kiss. These are physical things that really happened or will happen, and you can notice, remember, imagine, and think about them. But we haven’t talked about how practical time travel itself — the noticing, remembering, imagining and thinking — is not captured on your worldline. We need a different kind of map for mental things like practical time travel — a map that lives only in time.
Let’s call this time-only mind map your mindline. Your mindline captures all the experiences you have, including (but not limited to) those that are reflections on, memories of, or fantasies about events in your worldline. Practical time travel takes place solely within your mindline. But remember, because we’re not causal closure cops (essay 2), we don’t have to assume that practical time travel has no influence on your worldline. Example: Right now my mindline contains: “…thinking about the rest of this essay and what to write, imagining several different directions it could take, remembering being a teenager and despising the idea of not exploring all directions, recognizing that I have to choose some kind of direction or I will lose the reader, insight that I need to speak to the relationship between love and time….” It’s easy to notice that in this case, my mindline at least seems to be influencing my worldline (also see examples in essay 3), since I’m about to write about love being necessary for the healing effects of practical time travel.