if I knew the future

could one person knowing the future realisticly stop or change much of any event?

say you personally woke up in the past a month before X major event, is there any way a single person with future knowlage can do anything?

I mean, pearl harbor, a month before, what am I gonna do? telephone the president and hope he belives a random insaine person?

same with 9/11, who would I tell or what would I do? hijack my own plane and hope it puts people on guard? I don’t know that I even have the skill to end up with a plane ticket within a month of wakeing up in the past.

(wake up naked or in period cloths, no bringing back tanks to stop the civial war)

On the morning before the planes hit - you enter the building and set off the fire alarms.

Ah, but by stopping some famous catastrophy or injustice, you run the risk of causing a bigger one later on. Something to think about.

You could use your knowledge of the future to leverage belief.

WTC: Two of the highjackers were wanted - you could drop the dime on them & tell of a larger plot.

PEARL: If you called the Director of Naval communications (not the White House) and said "I know you have broken The [Japanese Diplomatic code] Code Purple, and are working on Code Blue
On Dec. 6th Naval Intelligence under the command of Adm. Wilkins will begin to decode the Japanese “14 Part Message” of which the 14th part, the “Execute Message”, will instruct the Japanese Embassy to terminate all diplomatic relations with the United States at 1pm on Dec. 7th. The Japanese fleet is under orders to abort if discovered, but if you miss them: Sunday AM you will sink a mini-sub that is the trigger that an attack is imminent, your last chance.

You probably need to give us more conditions:

  • how much exactly do you know about the forthcoming event? (for example Jimmmy gives a lot of details that would help you persuade the authorities, but the average person wouldn’t know this much history)

  • what access do you have to funding?
    (it’s a lot easier to get a message through to the right people if you have money - imagine the difficulties a homeless person would face trying to tell the authorities that he knows something vital about the security of the country)

  • if you do succeed, why couldn’t an enemy promptly reverse what you just did?
    (perhaps by hunting you down to reverse the change :eek: )

If you knew about a future event and changed things so it never happened, then what you knew wasn’t really the future.

There’s a lot of sci-fi shows that have dealt with this idea. Some of the old and new Twilight Zones come to mind. They basically echo Joel’s thoughts.

Wouldn’t it be freaky if that “thousands of Jewish workers were warned” nonsense was actually true, and was the work of a lone person with a premonition trying to save lives? Or, maybe that person saved thousands of lives, and the three thousand dead was actually a low number wrt what would have happened? (Consider the early news reports of tens of thousands of possible deaths.)

Hmm… but I’m just rambling here. My answer is this: if you were to go back in time (which I don’t think is possible) and affect an event, the end result would be what would have happened anyway. In other words, no, you can’t affect the future in that fashion.

Wouldn’t stopping Pearl Harbor have negative historical consequences? It would delay American involvement in WWII and keep Americans more apathetic to what was going on.

There is a romance novel that my wife got me to read, called Outlander by Diana Gabaldon which deals with this. Basically the main character is sucked through time from the late 1940’s…to the 1640’s into Scotland just before the final, fatal Jacobite uprising by the Bonnie Prince. What to do? Try as she might, time won’t allow her to chance the course of events, and in the end the uprising happens just as it did in history with disasterous results for the Scotts.

Anyway, I don’t think that the past is changable for your OWN past, and certainly the great events are not really subject to being changed by an individual. Were it me, I’d use my knowlege to set myself up in business. :slight_smile: I know how to make murcury fulminate and gun cotton after all, as well as a basic knowlege of the steam engine, repeating rifles, electricity, a rudimentary grasp of basic medicine and health practices (as well as several useful herbs :))…the list goes on and on. If its earlier in history, there are more possibilities. If its later, then I have a basic knowlege of how, say, the various companies in the stock market fared at various times (I’d buy CISCO and EBay stock low :)), as well as several other things.

I think, were it me, and depending on the time, I’d rather set myself up in a 1632/1633 (by Eric Flint) type scenerio. ONce you change the past, IMO, you are no longer IN your past…but in something entirely new. ALmost a new universe.


<Twilight zone music> Weren’t a lot of ships on out on manouver when Pearl Harbour was attacked? Why? Maybe they were warned</>

Assuming the future can be changed at all, I’d say if it can be majorly derailed depends on the event. Eg. if Hitler hadn’t been born, I think holocaust would have been averted. However, once he had started to rise in power I think there’s little you could do - everyone knew what he stood for, but no-one believed the bad bits until too late, and then many assassination attempts failed anyway.

wake up tommarow, in a hotel, one month before a date of a major event. that is ALL to it.

Why don’t we make this interesting and bring Iraq into the debate? You wake up back in February knowing of the debacle that will result in the “post-war” period, and you also know that by December no weapons of mass destruction will still have been found, and you also know of possible preliminary secret peace negotiations being conducted between Iraq and the US. What do you do? If you did try to tell anyone about the future, would they even listen to you? There were plenty of people before Iraq II pointing out the problems we’re seeing right now, but no one listened to them either. Which is to say that perhaps time travellers couldn’t affect as much as writers thing.

[Terminator hijack]

I always pointed out the following plot hole in The Terminator series. As soon as the Machines send back a Terminator to get rid of Sarah Connor and her son, if everything doesn’t immediately change, then you know that the Terminator failed - so you send back another one, and another one, until the future does change.

But kudos to the writers for atleast addressing what has been said above. Wipe out the leader of the Rebels, and the future war becomes that much easier.

[/Terminator hijack]

I thought that said that they got time travel working just before John and the resistance finally beat them (or at least, that over-ran the time-travel lab) hence, they only had time to send back a couple of terminators. If they had had more opportunity wouldn’t they have sent back an army to kill Sarah just to be on the safe side?

What bugs me is that each terminator the machines send back is a generation better then the one before, which implies they have had more time to work on them and create new ones. They never address the question after the first movie.

And why not send terminators back to before they tried the first time? Then Sarah doesn’t know what to look for because the assination attempt took place in the future. She won’t be a survivalist with a shelter full of weapons.

Then again, I wonder how they use the T-101 as inflitration units if they all look like Arnold. You’d think the humans would get it after the first time.

Maybe the thingie that sends people back in time is restricted in some way so that you can only send people to times that have never been visited before, and you can’t visit time destinations that are earlier than past time destinations.

To reduce 9-11, I would probably do something wild, crazy, and illegal, like call in a bomb threat to the WTC at 8:00 that morning. But I don’t think one person could stop something as organized as 9-11. Even if you could stop one of those planes from taking off, you’d still have the other three.

to go with the hijack… maybe dates only ‘line up’ with a few times, like earth and mars… so if you want to go to 1999 you gotta wait till 2042 and then again till 3420 or something. that would solve terminator.