Thursday, May 15, 2014

A message from the future

Near the end of the 1950s the elderly Carl Jung published a small book called Flying Saucers: a modern myth of things seen in the skies. For Jung, what was interesting about flying saucers and other UFOs was not the question of whether or not they really contained extraterrestrials making visits to earth, but the need that they seemed to meet amongst earth-bound humans.

In the post-war era traditional religion had begun to decline in the West, but tensions between nuclear-armed superpowers had suddenly made the future of humanity precarious. Jung suggested that the strange saucer and cigar-shaped objects that appeared in the skies over America and Europe in the 1950s were a response to the human need to believe in some much more advanced and powerful being or force. They were the icons of a new religion.
Jung's explanation for the UFO phenomenon has been influential, and I think it could be extended, without too much trouble, to the contemporary fascination with time travel. In recent decades a stream of alleged time travellers have outed themselves in the Western media, time travel movies and novels have won mass audiences, and reporters from respectable newspapers have pestered astrophysicists like Stephen Hawking about the possibility of constructing elaborate machines which might travel in time.
It is notable how many of the time travellers we have met in recent decades have chosen to admonish us for our backwardness, and remark on the ethical and technological superiority of their native eras. When the crew of the USS Enterprise time travelled from the twenty-third century to contemporary America in Star Trek IV: the Journey Home, one of the first time travel movies to enjoy mainstream success, they were full of scorn for twentieth century doctors, who used surgery where a pill and a pat on the head would suffice, for zoologists who failed to recognise that whales were superior creatures to humans, and for many other benighted inhabitants of our age. The time travel story can be a way of critiquing the present, by presenting it with a representative of a better future world.

In some time travel stories, like Robert Silverberg's novel Up the Line, specially trained 'time agents' are despatched from the future to monitor and occasionally alter the present. These powerful beings move amongst us in disguise, just as Dionysus and other mischievous gods moved in disguise through the marketplaces and taverns of ancient Greece.
The following document, which Paul Janman and I created as part of our contribution to the A Sense of Place exhibition that opened last Saturday in Papakura's art gallery, purports to be an order misplaced by a time agent from the year 3066 AD, where an almost supernaturally powerful government has decided to systematically rectify all of the sins of humanity's history.

The document is aimed at Mercer, a small town built close to the Mangatawhiri Stream, a tributary of the Waikato that at the beginning of the 1860s formed the border between Pakeha-controlled New Zealand and the realm of King Tawhiao. The Waikato War began when British troops crossed the Mangatawhiri by whaleboat on the morning of July the 12th, 1863. After the war, Mercer's Railway Hotel hosted many travellers between Auckland and the newly subjugated lands of the Waikato.

In 1889, the elderly Te Kooti spent a night in Mercer's hotel, on his way home from Auckland, where he had been imprisoned after being illegally deported from his homeland on the east coast of Te Ika a Maui. Crowds of rudely curious Pakeha followed the train that carried the legendary prophet and warrior south.
We have hidden this document in a geocache close to Mercer's hotel (look at the map on this page for directions), and also left it amongst other artefacts on a table set up inside the Papakura Art Gallery.



The perfect and permanent government of the nation formerly known as New Zealand, which was elected in 3066 A.D. by psychic conference and affiliates voluntarily with the United States of Mind, hereby apologises, on behalf of its imperfect and temporary antecedents, for the arrest of Te Kooti Te Turuki Arikirangi on the outskirts of Turanga/Gisborne one evening in 1889.
Te Kooti and his followers attempted to enter Turanga/Gisborne, the prophet’s old home, and preach their religion’s gospel of peace. The prophet and his lieutenants were armed only with Ringatu chants, and their horses needed a rest.
Our government, which is sited on an eminence high above the rubble of history, and can therefore speak with the cool sureness of an angel, deplores the decision of the colonists of Gisborne to greet Te Kooti and his followers with an armed militia, rather than with refreshments and beds for the night. We further deplore the deportation of Te Kooti to Auckland, his imprisonment in Mount Eden Prison, and the lack of generosity shown to him during his stay at the Railway Hotel on his way home from Auckland.
We hereby absolve Te Kooti of blame for his arrest and detainment, apologise for his treatment, and decree that the Last Post Tavern, which claims, through its name, an affinity with the era when Mercer was the frontier between New Zealand and the Waikato Kingdom that gave Te Kooti shelter, create an unlimited bar tab for the prophet the next time he enters their establishment.
If this apology is to be more than a solemn and sententious proclamation from a smugly remote future era, then the physical reality common to Te Kooti and his persecutors will have to be restored. The prophet must rise, like Barbarossa and Arthur before him, from his obscure and meticulously guarded resting place; his followers must gather again, don their chaotic uniforms, relearn their chants of peace, and climb onto long-dead horses; and huia must resume their broadcasts from the razed forests outside Turanga.
The Last Post Tavern’s walls must be made from peat and raupo, rather than steel and treated pine, and the tavern’s liquors must be brewed on an abandoned still in the Whangamarino swamp, and seasoned with manuka bark, rather than with sodium and various other anachronistic chemicals.
There can be no redemption without repetition. The geo-engineering cadre of the perfect and permanent government of the country once known as New Zealand are addressing this matter.


[Posted by Scott Hamilton]


Anonymous Actually said...

Travel FORWARD in time is possible, and it happens on a small scale every day. Years ago, tests were performed with atomic clocks. Some were on the ground, and some were in airplanes. The clocks in the airplanes, moving at a relatively high speed, GAINED fractional seconds compared to the clocks on the ground. Thus the clocks in the airplanes (and the people in the airplanes) traveled FORWARD in time.

4:54 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

A would-be saboteur arrested today at the Large Hadron Collider in Switzerland made the bizarre claim that he was from the future. Eloi Cole, a strangely dressed young man, said that he had travelled back in time to prevent the LHC from destroying the world.

The LHC successfully collided particles at record force earlier this week, a milestone Mr Cole was attempting to disrupt by stopping supplies of Mountain Dew to the experiment's vending machines. He also claimed responsibility for the infamous baguette sabotage in November last year.

Mr Cole was seized by Swiss police after CERN security guards spotted him rooting around in bins. He explained that he was looking for fuel for his 'time machine power unit', a device that resembled a kitchen blender.

Police said Mr Cole, who was wearing a bow tie and rather too much tweed for his age, would not reveal his country of origin. "Countries do not exist where I am from. The discovery of the Higgs boson led to limitless power, the elimination of poverty and Kit-Kats for everyone. It is a communist chocolate hellhole and I'm here to stop it ever happening."

This isn't the first time time-travel has been blamed for mishaps at the LHC. Last year, the Japanese physicist Masao Ninomiya and Danish string-theory pioneer Holger Bech Nielsen put forward the hypothesis that the Higgs boson was so "abhorrent" that it somehow caused a ripple in time that prevented its own discovery.

12:06 pm  
Blogger Richard said...

< Anonymous

Travel FORWARD in time is possible, and it happens on a small scale every day. Years ago, tests were performed with atomic clocks. Some were on the ground, and some were in airplanes. The clocks in the airplanes, moving at a relatively high speed, GAINED fractional seconds compared to the clocks on the ground. Thus the clocks in the airplanes (and the people in the airplanes) traveled FORWARD in time. >

You mean the relatavistic effects. These are taken into account so that for example GDP systems can work but I think that time doesn't go forward as such but it does so relative to the observer.

But it is not time travel as say by Dr. Who or the hero of H. G. Wells story 'The Time Machine'

The only way of moving foreward through time involves using Black Holes etc (there was an issue of The New Scientist on Time which was fascinating). But in practical terms no one can go forward through time. Time is and isn't a thing. I varies but is linked to space.

10:51 pm  
Blogger Richard said...

My son, who is 41, believes totally that not only are their aliens but that they are here and have solved such problems as going faster than the speed of light etc.

I went through a stage as a teenager reading much of the lit. about sightings by such as Adamsky and the USAF (their sometimes inexplicable sightings) but concluded on the skeptical side.

But who knows!

In any case it is clear that Paul and Scott are the new Lords of Time...

10:54 pm  

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