The Rat Problem

Eloise, the white rat Daniel used as a demonstration of mind time travel, presents a very clear paradoxical problem. Namely:

Stage 1: Eloise is a rat that does not know her way around a maze.

Stage 2: Eloise gets blasted by purple light that sends her consciousness into the future.

Stage 3: In this future, Eloise is taught how to get through the maze.

Stage 4: Eloise's consciousness returns from the future, now carrying the knowledge of how to run through the maze.

Stage 5: Eloise runs through the maze.

Stage 6: Daniel Faraday announces that Eloise can do this because he plans to teach the rat, in an hour, how to do it.

Stage 7: Theoretically therefore, Daniel Faraday, an hour later, goes to teach Eloise how to run the maze. . . but is unable to teach her! She already knows!

Stage 8: The problem, then, is that Dan cannot teach the rat how to run the maze, therefore the rat cannot journey to the future where she will learn how to run the maze, therefore she cannot return to the present with the knowledge of how to run the maze, therefore she cannot run the maze. And yet she does.

Stage 9: Findings. Eloise the rat displays a clear example of a time paradox. The result of this paradox, however, does not result in the collapse of the space-time continuum and the universe as we know it. Instead, the rat dies.

Conclusion: time paradox will not end the world, it will just end the time traveller.


Garett said...

I hadn't really thought this out as you have. I think this must prove that it is possible to change the future. Maybe Mrs. Hawking has it wrong? Or maybe small changes can occur, but given time, the universe will correct the change.

If this is so, all the efforts to change the Valenzetti equation (if that is what the numbers represent) are in vain. It will take a change at the last minute, to prevent the universe from correcting it.

luis aguilar said...

The way I saw it was that when the hour passes (let's say 4 o'clock), the rat is there is the rat from one hour before(3') (when i say rat i mean her conscience!). The 4' conscience is away or asleep. Therefore she does not know how to run the maze and DF can teach her!!!

AngeloComet said...

Luis, it's a good logical explanation.

It would mean that Faraday surely had to zap Eloise again though, right? Zap her a second time to 'remove' her future consciousness and return the regular, non-maze-aware consciousness?

Personally, that seems a reach. Faraday has the technology to do that to such a good degree? Because it seemed to me that he didn't even know it WORKED until that first test!

Unless we're being asked to believe that once a consciousness becomes unstuck in time it then flips backwards and forwards AUTOMATICALLY.


I guess it's AN explanation. It doesn't thrill me!