Lao Tzu on Time Travel

“Do you want to improve the world?
I don’t think it can be done.

The world is sacred.
It can’t be improved.
If you tamper with it, you’ll ruin it.
If you treat it like an object, you’ll lose it.”

~Lao Tzu

Eurema_blanda_at_Nayikayam_ThattuIf you’ve watched any movies or read any books that involve time travel, you will know that there are certain issues to bear in mind when visiting the past.  Don’t go see your past self, don’t allow yourself to be seduced by your grandmother, thus becoming your own grandfather (Its not your fault, you didn’t know) and most importantly, don’t try to change things.  Any little change you make can cascade into devastating consequences, up to and including flying baboons, early apocalypse, and the Nazis winning World War II.  In fact, its really best not to touch anything.  If there is one thing your friends will never let you live down, it’s damaging their favorite timeline.

Now I would like to tell you, if you can believe it, that I am a time traveler (Albeit in one direction, and at a slow and constant speed).  I am in fact living in the past of the future, and far be it from me to bring on a plague of killer robots by selfishly trying to change things.

Far too many people treat the world as an object for their own entertainment and satisfaction.  Using it.  Abusing it.  Wringing it out until it gives up the last drop.  Take a step back.  Let the world be.  Preserve the future’s past.

“I’d love to change the world
But I don’t know what to do
So I’ll leave it up to you”

~Ten Years After


Eddies in Space-time
are bending the universe
The sofa is gone


7 thoughts on “Lao Tzu on Time Travel

  1. I actually think that, if he heard all the theories, Lao Tzu would deny the existence of time travel. I think he might even deny that we’re traveling forward in time.

    • You may be right. I suppose the title of this post is a misnomer. What do you think about free will/fate/destiny? Do you think we have the power to make changes and choices, or is it all planned out?

      • I believe in free will. I believe in many reasons for free will. The most operationally relevant reason I believe in free will is that without it our existence would be inherently paradoxical. A population which seems a) capable of reason and b) capable of disagreement/varied viewpoints and subsequent capacity for differing activities, who is also a population with no free will…that is an unworkable paradox, I think.

      • I could agree with that. Although at times I think “Unworkable Paradox” is a perfect description of the world we live in. Things can be quite fuzzy for me. I am trying to expand my understanding, and it helps to get perspective.

  2. Lao Tzu is the mentor of Chuang Tzu. Chuang Tzu has a famous story about his dream of being a butterfly. Maybe we are all in butterfly’s dream of being human.

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