This prompt has been provided to me by a friend at work, and it goes something like this:
It’s the year 2183, and you are the first human to set foot on Mars. When you disembark your craft, you find a photo, and a note. The photo is a selfie, of you, and the note reads ‘turn around, and don’t come back.’
Instinct would war with curiosity. The desire to understand how I came to leave myself that cryptic warning would threaten to overwhelm good judgement. I’d virtually have to know the chain of events that would lead me to leave a note for my past self, even if those events placed me in great danger. That said, if it became immediately apparent the risks were in fact incredible, or that others were at risk, I’d like to believe I’d opt for the sound move, and leave.
Determinism is often a theme of time travel stories. Are we able to change the future, or would a time traveller always set into motion the very events they wish to avoid? My wife and I recently finished watching the first season of the new Quantum Leap series, and there are moments where the mechanics of it all left me scratching my head. If I were to ignore my future self’s message, would I merely be ensuring I’d be trapped in some kind of loop? Would I wind up deceased? Surely discretion would be the better part of valour here, but there’s that insatiable need to know, which comes with the territory of being human, and a certain pig-headed belief I could change the outcome.
Perhaps the best thing I could do is leave a more detailed note!