No, I’m not some sort of mechanical engineer or brilliant mastermind that has created the only piece of machinery that every single person on the planet would want. What do we want? Time Travel! When do we want it? That’s irrelevant! I’m also not some kind of psychic that can show you your past, future, or whether your celebrity crush will ever notice you on twitter. When I think of time travel, a few movies come to mind; X-Men: Days of Future Past, Looper, The Terminator movies. Although these movies are purely fiction (not just because of the time travel but because of the killer machines and mutants), they all share the basic premise that a person, or robot, can travel forwards or backwards in time to relive history, change history, or pave history. How time travel works is up for discussion. The butterfly effect is often used to describe how significantly and immediately things in the future can change with only the smallest, minor changes of the past. Many comic book writers depict time travel as something much more concrete. Only when the person who traveled backwards returns to when they came from do the effects of time travel become evident. I promise you that if you are open minded, time travel can actually be much easier and doesn’t require you to actually go anywhere. Don’t get me wrong, the first place I’m going when time travel is indeed possible is to attend Woodstock in all of its glory. But since time travel, in present time, is not yet possible, we’ll have to settle for more feasible alternatives.
When we think of time travel, we often think of the actual travel. The physical move from one point in time to another. We think about visiting places that might not exist anymore, visiting people who may not be around anymore (a relative or perhaps a famous celebrity), experiencing a prior event (like Woodstock), stopping a genocide (or a suicide). Perhaps we think about traveling to the future to reassure ourselves that the path we take is indeed a successful one. However, we are more than beings of just experience. We crave experience for the emotion. Without emotion, life is neutral and boring. Even a negative emotion motivates us to seek pleasure, closure, or anything at all. If that presence or experience of emotion is a step into the direction of time travel, than you wont have to look much farther.
Many of my friends have told me that if they could travel back in time they would save their favorite musicians from their fateful demise. Kurt Cobain, Bob Marley, Prince, George Michael, Michael Jackson, the list could go on forever. Musicians are powerful. They have the ability to elicit emotion by stringing together the right words in the right rhythm. Mastermind musicians are not just able to create a groovy track, but also, create emotion that resonates deep within the listener. Songs are a work of art, they are stories that illustrate wishes, desires, visions, and events, either real or fabricated by the mind. Real stories. Real events. Real experiences that happened throughout history. Sure, you could open up a history book and read all about the moment in history that women started working. Or you could open a youtube tab and play 9 to 5 by Dolly Parton to really feel just what it meant to her when women started working back in 1980. While your history book is still open, why not read all about the events of the 50’s, 60’s, 70′, and 80’s. Then again you could also go back to your youtube tab and play We Didn’t Start The Fire by Billy Joel. A beautiful song that illustrates all the historical headlines from 1949 to 1989. 40 years of history so beautifully expressed in four minutes and five seconds. Are you seeing a trend? Sublime’s April 29, 1992 refers to the riots of Los Angeles. Riots and acts of violence including arson and vandalism broke out in response to the acquittal of four LAPD officers accused of beating an African American motorist. Bruce Springsteen’s The Rising released in 2002, is one of two songs that he dedicated to the firemen who risked their lives saving innocent people on September 11. Even John Lennon’s beautiful Imagine asks listeners to envision a future in which there is world peace and unity between all people.
The beauty of time travel, you haven’t even noticed you’re doing it. If you’re like me, than listening to these songs is not just about the sing along, the dancing, the rhythm. It’s about more than that. It’s about the emotion, the flashbulb memories. Time travel is not just about the physical travel, it’s also about the emotional travel. Understanding the feelings people experienced throughout these events. Feeling how they feel when you listen to these songs. Putting yourself in their shoes through music. Real time travel may not yet be possible, but music is as close as we’ll get for now and I am totally ok with that.