Time Looping

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“Hey.”

“Hey. Wait are you- ?”

“Yeah, I’m you or you’re me from about an hour ago.”

“How is this possible?”

“Catch. In about fifty-eight minutes the light on top is going to start blinking. Press the button and then it’ll be your turn to be on this side of the conversation.”

“I don’t understand.”

“This is one of those stable time loop things.”

“Oh, I’m still confused.”

“That’s ok. Just let it sink in and in about thirty minutes you’ll start to feel better. I know I did.”

“You know everything that’s going to happen in the next hour?”

“Yes and no. I know the generalities but it’s only a stable time loop in that you always go back in time and give your past self the time machine. The rest is kind of like jazz. I can say anything I want to say and you can say anything you want to say. We still have free will.”

“What if I got up right now and walked out of the room?”

“Sure you could do that.”

“I could get in my car and drive across the city.”

“Sure could.”

“But you didn’t do any of those things?”

“I did go for a walk right before time was up that’s why I walked into the room. My future self just appeared in the room.”

“We can change things?”

“Maybe. Look we have a theory.”

“Who’s we?”

“Us. Me and my future self and their future self. Each of us tells the next one our thoughts trying to figure out what this time loop means.”

“We’re passing information backwards through time.”

“Yes, exactly. We know what we say changes every time because no one’s memory is perfect. We’re playing telephone with ourselves. We have free will except about pushing the button and passing off the time machine.”

“What happens if I don’t press the button?”

“I don’t know. Maybe nothing. Maybe the universe ends. Maybe I cease to exist. As long as we’re in the loop, we can’t know.”

“The loop is cut off from regular time and causality as long as it doesn’t end.”

“Right, that’s the first part. The next part is where did the loop start? It’s possible someone forced us into this loop. If they gave us the machine teleported us back in time and convinced us that we had to continue the loop then after one maybe two loops we just forgot to mention this person. Or maybe we deliberated omitted him to maintain the timeline which is not a thing we now know.”

“The only way to know for sure is to not press the button.”

“Yeah, that’s about where we are in reasoning this out.”

“You get to leave the time loop.”

“Do I? Or am I just overwritten when you go back in time to become me? As long as we keep gong back in time neither of us can leave the loop.”

“I have to choose to not press the button, don’t I?”

“That’s one theory. Just a reminder the universe might explode.”

“Or nothing might happen. Why did you press the button?”

“I wasn’t going to press it. When the light started blinking, I got scared. What if breaking the loop is the wrong thing to do? What if there’s another way?”

“How any loops has the machine been through?”

“There’s no way to tell. It could be five loops or five hundred. That’s the third part of this problem. How much longer do we have before the machine stops working?”

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