Counterpart thread: Would you believe a 'time traveler" at all?

Counterpart to the ‘would you kill Archduke Ferdinand and start a terrible war?’ thread.

Say you are you, now, minding your own business, and someone comes up and tells you that they are a time traveler, and that today you are going to do something seemingly innocent, but that leads to something bad in the future. Since he has not already killed you, you can assume it isn’t a ‘kill young Hitler (you)’ scenario.

Let’s say, for purposes of this discussion, that you totally believe this is a time traveler. Allowing for the fact that absolute proof is impossible, whatever proof you need has been given. You are convince he is real, and that you are not crazy.

Would you believe him, and not do it?
Would you not believe him, and think ‘not’ doing it is what causes more harm, and he’s trying to trick you?

For example, he says today you are going to meet your future spouse, and your son is going to create Skynet.

Do you believe him, and avoid the person he identifies as your future spouse?

Or do you consider that your son is actually going to be John Connor, and he’s is trying to prevent John’s birth?

I’m not sure what I would do. I think I’d be Vezzini, trapped in a unresolvable loop (clearly he knows I wouldn’t believe him, so I should do the opposite. But, he knows I would know not to believe him, so I should do what he asks…)

Always in motion, the future is…

I wouldn’t change a thing. It’s HIS future he’s worrying about… not MINE. Unless he can convince me that the alternate future he would have me create is unequivocally better than the one he wants me to change, who am I to kill all those potential alternate-reality people?
(Oh, look - it’s raining again…)

As long as he is not asking me to commit a crime, I would certainly be willing to negotiate.
“I will not talk to Sarah Connor like you ask, but in exchange you got to give me some winning Powerball numbers.”

The OP says “seemingly innocent.” Is it also something unimportant? 'Cause if it’s something like “don’t go into work today” or “fill your gas tank now, rather than waiting until tomorrow,” I might be willing to swap it for an ice cream cone. Something like “pull out of refinancing your house” or “quit your job” would require a good bit more, innocent or not.

As long as he gave me the lotto numbers I’d do what he says.

Both threads remind me of this Outer Limits episode. Never trust a time traveller.

I think it all depends on how he proposes that time travel works. Is it like the original Terminator, where the events that the time travelers take part in were always part of the past, and thus nothing changes? If that’s the case, it seems like ultimately his task is futile, regardless of his honesty about his motivations in affecting the future. If it’s more mutable, like in Back to the Future, who’s to say that making adjustments may not lead to other things. After all, even in that film, the end result is that our futures aren’t written.

Either way, I’m not particularly inclined to take his advice, at least not directly. Recall the South Park episode about Cartman’s Trapper-Keeper. They destroy it, then Cartman gets another one, and it’s the second one that was the threat all along. If he hadn’t interfered and gotten the first one destroyed, the whole series of events may never have happened. So, imagine he says I meet my future spouse and my son will create Skynet, so I meet an amazing woman, but turn her down out of fear. Then I meet someone else that same day, but things don’t spark with her for weeks or months, and that was really the woman I should have avoided.

Or, hell, why is it traced back to that specific event? Couldn’t I still be with her and just perhaps make an adjustment later? It seems to me that for pretty much any event, you could either get closer, or it’s a lot more clear how those choices lead to something negative. As in, imagine going to Hitler’s parents and telling his parents not to have sex the night he was conceived, or even farther back and telling one of them not to marry the other. Why not just go forward and warn them to prevent a particular event that really shaped his thought process or even warn him directly not to do certain things? Or, hell, tell the guy that saved his life in WWI, assuming that tale isn’t apocryphal, not to do so, or give some advice to any of the number of people that attempted assassinations on him.

So, yeah, I don’t think I’d change anything, at least not so far out. We should live our lives the way we think we should. If, by some chance, I did see something like that starting to line up as I was warned, I’d do something then. But then again, I’d like to think I’d say something when things started to get hairy regardless of whether or not I had advice from the future. The only thing I could imagine changing would be if I got advice with fairly immediate consequences like, don’t take that short cut home today, you’ll flip your car and be paralyzed. Otherwise, I just think the branching factor of possibilities is just too ridiculously huge to even consider.

It’s going to take some truly amazing evidence to convince me that time travel is real. If someone can pull off that kind of evidence, I’m probably going to follow their advice. It won’t be sufficient to just show me some newpaper articles from next week, because I will assume that it’s more likely they hacked the newspaper or faked an event. Things like predicting sporting events or lottery winnings? Those can be rigged.

Time travel is the absolute last thing I’m likely to believe about them. It’s entirely likely that the more evidence they show me, the more convinced I’ll that they’re con men from the Illuminati pulling strings throughout the world to advance their hidden agenda.

So… if they have convinced me of time travel, there’s a good chance that they also had to convince me of their motives.

In any event, I’m likely to do a cost/benefit analysis on whatever they’re asking me to do. If I just have to call in sick tomorrow, then there’s no real cost to me (that I know of) and I might as well cooperate but have no real motive. If they need me win the lottery, then I’m probably all in favor of their plan. If they’re asking me to go assassinate someone, then they’ll have to find someone else.

I would tell him I had an appointment in Samarra.

Regards,
Shodan