Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Chapter 4: Changing history

I've been waking up in a cold sweat every night wondering what to do with my information from the future.  I want to use it to forestall the insidious war now encircling us, but changing history looks tricky. Theorists have wondered what would happen if a time traveler went back to kill baby Hitler. Would neo-Nazis master time-travel and go back to protect Hitler, leading to an escalating time-war that would never end? Or would some sort of cosmic control mechanism kick-in to preempt the disruptions?

I tend towards the cosmic control mechanism, yet the pressure on me to act, to use the information, has been getting stronger.  I keep wondering why the control mechanism permitted me to get my glimpse of the future, even though I'm well positioned to use it to affect history.  What's the point of allowing me to have this knowledge if I can't do something with it?  

I sought out and met both Gregory and Anthony Roberts, the real ones, but I did not share my knowledge about their futures.  I told them about this book- that I was using them as inspiration for my fiction, but I did not tell them that I use "fiction" in Jane Austin's sense of "non-fiction," so they have not known that one of them, Gregory, in our time a west coast guru with a small but growing following, will become the dominant political thinker of this century, while Anthony Roberts, today a teenager living on Gregory's commune, does not know he will run for president in 2044 on a platform derived from Gregory's thinking (see Prologue). 

Until this morning, that is, when I told them.  Yes, I told them their futures.  I figured, what's the worst that could happen?  We're already being waltzed into World War III and we're powerless to react, though we see it in plain sight.  
Maybe the cosmic time-control mechanism is leaking information to help us stop or modify the war.

At first Gregory and Anthony Roberts were skeptical of my story, but after I demonstrated my telepathic abilities they accepted its truth and were 
stunned to learn about their prominent futures.  They asked many questions about what's coming- the war, the dictatorships, the post-war rebirth of democracy- but there wasn't much I could tell them beyond what I've written so far.  

"What do you think we should do?"  Gregory asked.

"I'm not sure," I said.

"Maybe we should wait a while and see if there are rules about changing history," Anthony Roberts advised.

"Yes, I worry about the cosmic consequences too," I said, " but why was I permitted to receive this information?  I can't help thinking that the cosmos, or some part of it, wants me, wants us to use knowledge of the future to change history.  What else could it mean?"

We sat in silence that gradually settled into agreement, and a conspiracy was born.

If the lights of the universe blink out tonight, I guess you can blame me, but so far nothing has happened, or maybe it's happened and we can't tell.  This I do know, I will have important new information to share in Chapter 5 this Saturday!

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