I would like to Travel in Time, I say, in order to have Another Birthday Today.
You cannot do that, says the Owner, because it is Physically Impossible to Travel to the Past. The Past no longer exists, except in Memory.
That is a Nowist view, I say. Nowism is the view that only the present time and present events and objects exist and that while we certainly experience time as flowing, that is an artefact of our ability to remember and to anticipate. The Moral Dog takes an Eternalist approach, which says that Past and Future times, objects and events are just as real as the present time and the flow of time is an Objective Feature of Reality.
If one Accepts that the Past still Exists, says the Owner then the Fact that is it the Past makes it Unchangeable. The Moral Dog cannot revisit his Birthday. The Events of the Moral Dog’s Birthday are now Indisputable. That is why the receipt for the Friendly Man’s Paracetamol and the Small Human’s Dry Cleaning are currently sitting on my Desk
Actually, I do not wish to Revisit the Past, I say. Indeed the Recriminations to which the Moral Dog was Subject Regarding his Unfortunately Directed Greeting to the Friendly Man who is No Longer Quite as Friendly means that the Past is Another Country for which No Reasonable Dog would seek an Entry Visa. Au contraire, I am planning to Travel to my Next Birthday. Should a Similar Incident Occur I could Distract Myself from Behind a Tree and thus the Disruption to the Friendly Man would not Recur, the Small Human would not be nearly as Wet – at least not with Slobber, which is apparently so difficult to get off Small Humans Generally – and the Moral Dog would have reason to expect Rather More Cheese than he Received Yesterday.
It is equally Physically Impossible to Travel to the Future, says the Owner. The Future is not Fixed and therefore does not Yet Exist. You cannot therefore Travel to the Future any more than you can to the Past.
On the Contrary, I say, I have been Practising, I say. I now have it down to a Fine Art, I say.
Really? Says the Owner.
Really, I say. Today is a Particular Triumph, I say. A few minutes ago I went to sleep, and I have Awoken a full Twelve Hours later.
That is not Time Travel, says the Owner, that is called Being a Sloth. The Owner was working a Night Shift and can Assure the Moral Dog that he Snored for a Full Twelve Hours, Twitched for Nearly Nine Hours, Mumbled for Almost Two Hours and, for a Particularly Painful Five Minutes, attempted to Sing The Winner Takes it All in Welsh.
Very well, I say, I accept that the Moral Dog’s experience of the Night was rather less Detailed than the Owner’s, I say. But Yesterday after we left the Park, I say, the Moral Dog spent a Full Six Hours in the Kitchen, I say. When we visited the Park at four o’clock we arrived there a full Six Hours Later. If that is not Travelling to the Future, what is?
Simply Waiting in a Different Place for the Future to Arrive by Itself is not Time Travel, says the Owner. If I shut the Moral Dog in a Cupboard and let him out Six hours later he will, after a fashion, have Travelled Six hours into the Future, but it will have taken him Six Hours to do so. Time Travel must involve a True Discrepancy between Subjective Time and Objective Time. The Subjective time elapsed for the Traveller cannot not equal the Objective Time that has passed for Others.
In that Case, I say, the Moral Dog is capable of Time Travel every time he waits for Cheese, since sometimes he waits for Hours and then the Owner observes that only Minutes have Actually Passed.
That is not Time Travel either, says the Owner. That is merely the Triumph of Greed over Logic.
Ah, I say, but what about Einstein? I say. There is Nobody more Logical than Einstein, I say. Einstein suggests that if the Moral Dog steps into a Perfectly Ordinary Rocket and travels at high speed for Sixty Minutes around the Universe, upon his Return to Earth he may find that it is now his Birthday.
History has not been Kind to Moral Dogs who got into Space Rockets, says the Owner, I would not Advise It unless you really would like to be the Subject of a Statue but Otherwise Absent from the Future Entirely.
Elon Musk has made a Perfectly Safe Rocket, I say. I do not see why I should not Travel in It, I say. If I had a Ticket, I say. Without a Ticket I am, of course, destined to remain, like other Moral Dogs, bound to attempt only Very Dangerous Space Travel, of the Kind to which no Loving Owner would wish to Subject their Moral Dog.
Well, if one were to Suppose that the Moral Dog purchased a Seat in Elon Musk’s Space Rocket… says the Owner.
… Or were Given One as a Late Birthday Treat, I say.
Indeed, says the Owner, in the Unlikely Event of the Moral Dog finding such a gift tucked in with his Birthday Cards…
…Unlikely from the Point of View of a Somewhat Miserly Owner, I say, but Entirely Possible from the Point of View of the Faithful and Trusting Moral Dog.
Do be quiet, says the Owner. The kind of Time Travel described by Einstein relies on different Frames of Reference for Time. Thus the Moral Dog with the Hideously Profligate Owner who has a seat on Elon Musk’s Rocket may arrive back home after Sixty Minutes of His Time to find that a Year of Life has Elapsed for those on Earth. However he has not Lived it With Them. The fact that others, living in a different Frame of Reference for Time, have arrived at the Date that Would have Been his Birthday is now irrelevant. He is not a Year Older but Five Minutes older, and so the Birthday is No longer His. Any suggestion that he might therefore deserve a further Trip in Elon Musk’s Rocket as Another Birthday Present is not only Misplaced, it is Positively Devious.
I do not see why I should not get out of Elon Musk’s Rocket and revert back to a Normal Frame of Reference for Time, I say. This is like arguing that since Melbourne is both 800 kilometres away from Sydney along the main highway and 1200 kilometres away along the coast road, then if the Owner has taken the coast road to Melbourne and the Moral Dog has taken the Highway, he will not Actually be in Melbourne when he arrives. There is no doubt that he will be in Melbourne, even if the Unsympathetic Owner feels that he does not Deserve to Be and should Go Back to where he Came From like Some Kind of Reject who Does not Deserve another Birthday Present Now or, indeed, Ever.
He may indeed be in Melbourne, says the Owner, but he will not have travelled twelve hundred miles to get there. The Birthday of the Moral Dog is a feature Only of The Moral Dog’s Own Timeline, since it is defined by the Number of Days for which he has Lived since his Last Birthday. The Anniversary of the Moral Dog’s Birth Date is Irrelevant to an Owner who has lived in a different Timeline to the Moral Dog. The Moral Dog himself is only Sixty Minutes Older. He is Not Yet Owed another Birthday Present.
I cannot believe you have Stolen my Birthday, I say. It could have been Today, I say.
I have not Stolen your Birthday, says the Owner, I have merely Observed that the Moral Dog’s Birthday is a feature of his Own Timeline rather than My Own.
Surely the Moral Dog’s Birthday is a Day on which the Owner Celebrates the Passing of another Year which she has shared with the Moral Dog, I say. A mere further seat on Elon Musk’s Rocket seems little to expect in return for such Joy and Fulfilment.
In the Scenario which you describe, says the Owner, the Owner would not have Shared the Passing of another Year with the Moral Dog since he would be either on a different road to Melbourne or in a Space Rocket, depending on which Metaphor he is Currently Relying on in his frankly Transparent Bid for Another Birthday Present.
I sigh. I take it from this, I say, that that despite presenting a number of Rational, Scientific and Philosophical arguments, the Moral Dog cannot expect a Late Birthday Gift of a Trip on Elon Musk’s Space Rocket to arrive in today’s Post nor at any Time in the Immediate Future, I say.
Indeed, says the Owner, nor the Distant Future, In Fact. Nor Ever.
It seems to the Moral Dog that the Owner’s claims that the Future is not Fixed look somewhat Shaky in the Face of such a statement, I say.
Haha, says the Owner.
The Moral Dog. Even on the Day which could have been his Birthday his Logical Arguments are simply Not Taken Seriously.
Hergest the Hound
I am a dog of many thoughts.