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Are We Lost Yet?

Posted By Cliff Tuttle | February 3, 2010

Posted by Cliff Tuttle © 2010

Last night, ABC kicked of the final season of “Lost”.  This show is based upon a fantasy we’ve all had: shipwrecked on a tropical island.  But nobody’s imaginary tropical island was ever like this one.

Five years into this saga, separate time threads have diverged into parallel universes. The season premiere brings a critical change in the events in the 1970’s, causing the Oceanic Air crash that began the series to have never happened. The passengers disembark in Los Angeles and go on with their normal lives. Meanwhile, back in the 70’s, the adventure that began last season continues.  Past and future collide when the living John Locke of the 70’s and the dead John Locke of the present meet.

Other contemporary fiction has explored the anomalies of time travel.  Among them is Audrey Niffenberger’s riveting novel, “The Time Traveler’s  Wife.”  The book suggests a myriad of problems and contradictions that might arise, for both the traveler and those who wait in the present. It is a fascinating mental exercise.

Of course, we all have complete mastery of time and space in one sense. Each has the capacity to create an infinite number of alternate universes in the mind and as long as these worlds stay in the mind or in dramatic productions, we are safe.  If man ever brings time travel to reality, it will be a very dangerous (but exciting) world.

In most time travel fiction, the traveler leaves and returns to the present, but in “Lost”, there are two parallel selves, one in the present universe and one in the past.  And it seems, at least on “Lost”, they can meet each other.  Would you sign up for time travel if it involved meeting your former self?  Complicated, isn’t it?

Despite all of this, I suspect that many of us would volunteer to travel in time in an instant. The motivation would be more than adventure, it would be to change the the course of the river — making things that happened disappear and of course, the opposite.

Humorist Douglas Adams points out in “Restaurant at the End of the Universe” that once time travel catches on, the present time starts filling up with travelers from the past and future and the present world becomes irrational and unpredictable. For those who haven’t read the book, the “End of the Universe” is a time, not a place.

But so far, we haven’t been given these choices. So, we’ll just have to watch “Lost” and see what happens. If we preferred simple, we wouldn’t have stayed tuned in this long.  We could be watching another Island — Gilligan’s.



CLIFF TUTTLE has been a Pennsylvania lawyer for over 45 years and (inter alia) is a real estate litigator and legal writer. The posts in this blog are intended to provide general information about legal topics of interest to lawyers and consumers with a Pittsburgh and Western Pennsylvania focus. However, this information does not constitute legal advice and there is no lawyer-client relationship created when you read this blog. You are encouraged to leave comments but be aware that posted comments can be read by others. If you wish to contact me in privacy, please use the Contact Form located immediately below this message. I will reply promptly and in strict confidence.

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