The Invention of Science FictionJun 10, 2021
Vsalsa! Kevin here. The people behind the new show Timeless asked me to talk about time travel, and coincidentally, I just finished building my time machine. It's a little rough but if I can make it work I can conquer the time. Why would I want to do that? Well, exploring different periods of human history allows us to experience firsthand the aspects of humanity that have changed and those that have not. But until this works, time machines are a great storytelling device because time travel is something you already do in your mind. Oooooooh. Not really. Cronesthesia is the ability to remember the past and imagine the future as a guide to making decisions in the present.
This process of mental time travel, posited by experimental psychologist Dr. Endel Tulving as the only memory system with a special relationship to time, consists of two parts. The first is like watching a movie in your head. Include the setting of the event, the actors involved, and what happened. The second is the subjective time in which everything takes place, whether in the past, present or future. Being able to mentally travel through time allows us to learn from past events and project how to react in the future. This is especially useful in social situations: altering behavior based on how things were in the past, making friends and enemies.
Human survival has depended on mental time travel, planting seeds for future harvests and formally educating young people to lead the communities of tomorrow. Or as Tulving puts it: “The kind of culture that Homo sapiens has created over the last 40,000 years or so can only be produced by individuals whose intelligence includes a conscious awareness of the future in which they and their progeny will continue to live and survive. "The third little pig who built his house with bricks was really good at this. But mental time is subjective: you can't exactly tell someone to meet you somewhere at the moment you're thinking in your head.
External time - saving requires some kind of measurement. Like a girl disguised as a lamp by a magical reindeer hiding from the moon. For most of human existence, the moon was a fundamental timekeeper. The folklore of the Chukchi of northeastern Siberia It is said that after successfully evading his pursuit, the girl captured the moon and made him promise that it would remain in the sky and mark time with its cycles. The phases of the moon helped guide the seasons and months, while the position of the The sun helped chart the day. The sundials processed the movement of the sun by making a clock out of the shadows.
Which works well unless it's cloudy or nighttime, which is why we started stealing water. Clepsydra comes from the ancient Greek kleptein meaning to steal and hydor meaning water. Water clocks kept time by measuring the flow of liquid between containers. In ancient Persia, a bowl with a hole was filled slowly after being placed in water; In Ancient Egypt, a stone pot constantly dripped into a container with markings that approximated the hours. The phrase "don't muddy the waters" may be because water clocks get dirty and mess up their timing. But for thousands of years, most people didn't know what time it was like we do today and they didn't need to.
The basic circadian rhythm was sufficient: no one needed to know when exactly 7:17 p.m. The first watches had specific purposes. Water clocks informed priests when to perform daily rituals in Egypt, were used as stopwatches during legal trials in Athens, and managed a farmer's use of water for irrigation in Persia. The push to develop mechanical watches came during the Middle Ages and was largely astronomical: measuring the movements of the stars. Not everyone was crazy about watches. The resistance to dividing life into tiny, structured fragments was documented by the Roman playwright Plautus in 195 BC. The gods confuse the man who first discovered how to tell the hours!
Cursed are they too, who put a sundial in this place, to cut and divide my days so miserably into small portions! Plautus would have hated alarm clocks. Sundials and water dials simply divide day and night into 12 parts. Greek astronomers conceived hours and minutes of fixed duration for celestial calculations, but mechanical clocks with them did not appear until the end of the 16th century. And the synchronized public clock was not part of daily life until the 19th century. An era when the magic of myth met the machinations of
science. The Industrial Revolution brought with it a new world of
science, technology, skilled labor, discoveries and machines.
Suddenly, ordinary people's curiosity focused on the possibilities offered by science. And they wanted to read stories that would allow them to travel to an imagined future of scientific wonder. Describing the impact of science on the imagination, George Cary Eggleston wrote in 1874: “The appetite for the marvelous is universal, and from the dawn of literature until now there have always been wonderful stories of all men read with enthusiasm. However, ours is a scientific age, an age of easy disbelief, an age of questions, doubts and lack of faith, and we do not easily accept, even in the half-hearted and constructive way in which we are believed to enjoy
It is not supported by concrete facts.” A futuristic culture, which saw the earth conquered by the train, the water conquered by a steamship, even hot air balloons, made a newspaper from 1833 dream of “a time in perspective in which our atmosphere will be crossed with such ease like our water... “These advances made the measurement of time more important. In 1817, the Welsh social reformer Robert Owen campaigned for an eight-hour working day with the slogan: "Eight hours of work, eight hours of recreation, eight hours of rest." So if human life is suddenly divided by a clock, why not invent something that can conquer time?
Before clocks and machines swamped civilization, time travel tales like Memoirs of the Twentieth Century, written by Samuel Madden in 1733, imagined life in a different time, but lacked a scientific vehicle to navigate it. . Today, stories from The Time Machine to Timeless continue to captivate and inspire, but the first time machine was lost to time. Seven years before H.G.'s legendary book Wells, The Clock That Turned Back appeared. Written in 1881, it is the first story to use a device, in this case a grandfather clock, to transport humans through time. The concept of time machines required a convergence of science, imagination and the sun.
A newspaper called The Sun... not the fireball star. Edward Page Mitchell was editor of The Sun, the most widely circulated New York City newspaper in the world at the time. Endlessly creative, Mitchell wrote the first stories about scientific teleportation, artificial intelligence, faster-than-light travel, freezing and resurrecting a life form, a peaceful alien, surgically altered personalities, the invisible man, and a time machine. The problem is that the only thing that his revolutionary stories did not include was his name. All but one of his stories were printed anonymously at a time when there was no international copyright law, so the stories were easily stolen and reprinted.
The only reason anyone knows Mitchell today is because science
fictionhistorian Sam Moskowitz spent three years poring over microfilm and reconstructing his stories for Edward Page Mitchell's 1973 The Crystal Man: Stories. Moskowitz went back in time to save Mitchell for the future, but it didn't work. His book is out of print, difficult to find and also falling into oblivion. Being forgotten is easy for a person who does not seek glory. In 1916, Mitchell received an offer to leave The Sun for the prestigious New York Times and turned it down, happy that the publication allowed him the freedom to publish his stories.
When he retired from working in the city that never sleeps, he moved to an isolated farm in Rhode Island. His secluded property stretched for 40 miles and was described by Mitchell as "an enclosure of treetops, untouched by human presence." He not only put aside modern life, but he despised modern conveniences such as electricity, gas and central heating. All there was was time. All he brought with him was his wife and his collection of six thousand books. His love and his imagination. When Mitchell died following a heart attack in January 1927, a two-page obituary in Literary Digest, the leading news magazine of the time, described him as “barely known, even as a name, to the general public.” Edward Page Mitchell was the invisible man.
However, the waves of influence emanating from his creations continue to travel through time and inspire us today. The only proof that we have the ability to change the future even if no one knows who we are. And as always, thanks for watching. I want to thank NBC's Timeless for producing this video with me. To watch the trailer, click here; For more information, please see the description below. I need to find out what happened to my time machine. So yes.
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