Up here at the Old Place it is as though time stands still. Children still swing from a Tarzan rope and drop into the lake. The Holdens still run a General Store, with feed n seed, heck they even have a pay phone over on the wall by the pickle jar. (One day I will have to tell you Col. Eric Bertolet's "Pickle Jar" story; it is a good one.)
As my 60th birthday started looming, (and has now past) I began to think more and more about time. Today we are going to step outside the realm of our regular safety chats and into the world of quantum physics specifically tachyons and their theoretical ability to travel backward in time.
Now hold on folks, before you all go asking, “what’s it got to do with safety," think of the classic paradox of time: What would happen if I traveled back in time and accidentally killed my father, before he ever met my mother? Now, if that happened, how could I ever be born and if could never be born, how could I travel back in time and accidentally kill my own father?
Of course since science has proven the existence of parallel universes and possibly even parallel realities, that paradox is no longer a concern. Well terrific you say, let’s break out the beer n pretzels! The parents and grandparents of the world no longer have to worry about homicidal offspring from the future! Well, not exactly. There are many differing views and opinions of time.
Here is an old favorite from Star Trek - Generations: “Time, is like a predator, stalking you. You can try and outrun it with doctors, medicines, and technologies but in the end, time is going to hunt you down... and make the kill.” Now that is creepy.
How about Albert Einstein, the fella who started all this time business in the first place. He said, “The only reason for time is so that everything doesn’t happen all at once.”
The author Isak Dinesen said, “You can’t change the past, but you can ruin the present by worrying about the future.” I like that one; people do that way too often.
Now, the inevitable Shakespeare quote, “Time is the justice that examines all offenders.” Or be careful which selflies you post!
We safety professionals frequently use this Daymond John quote: “Time is the cruelest teacher; first she gives the test, then she teaches the lesson.” Now that gets peoples' attention!
Getting back to tachyons and time, scientists are convinced that while people cannot physically travel through time we could sent messages using tachyon pulses similar to the old Morse code. Ah, just imagine the wrongs we could right, the suffering we could prevent, the lives we could save! Slow down Col. Jim, didn't we not just say that we could not affect our own past, only some alternate reality? Hmm, we did say that didn’t we. . .
So what’s it got to do with safety? Absolutely nothing. I guess when it comes to accidents and injuries; there really is no going back.
Sitting in a rocker at the Old Place I am, Col. Jim.