Grandfather Paradoxes

The grandfather paradox is a paradox of time travel in which inconsistencies emerge when the past is changed. The consistency paradox or grandfather paradox occurs when a future event prevents the occurrence of a past event that was partly or entirely the cause of the future event, thereby preventing the future event from occurring, thus creating a contradiction. The name derives from some variation of a narrative where a person travels to the past and kills their own grandfather before their father or mother is born, which would then prevent the time traveler's existence, thus preventing his ability to travel back into time in the first place. This paradox is generally used to refute the possibility of time travel. Films with this paradox present include Back to the Future .

 The Predestination/Ontological/Bootstrap  Paradox is a related time travel logic which has a Causal loop of events that predate their travel back into time. A causal loop is a paradox of time travel that occurs when a future event is the cause of a past event, which in turn is the cause of the future event. Both events then exist in spacetime, but their origin cannot be determined. A causal loop may involve an event, a person or object, or information. (via Wikipedia). This means that instruments or objects exist without having been created. After information or an object is sent back in time, it is recovered in the present and becomes the very object or info that was initially brought back in time in the first place. Interstellar, Predestination (based on short story by Heinlein)

Grandfather

-Paradoxes  

[Black] Grandmother-Paradoxes  

A non-linear bootstrapping/ quantum pre-destination paradox noticeably present in stories where Black women are the time travelers, and where cause/effect appears to be open up to multiple, non-linear influences. For the purposes of the stories featuring the Black Grandmother Paradox, the phenonmeon apparently resolves the grandfather paradox that otherwise limits time travel or deems it impossible. Examples include Kindred by Octavia Butler and The Telescoping Effect, Pt. 1 by Rasheedah Phillips. 

In Kindred, Butler’s time-traveling protagonist Dana lands 200 years into her relative past, pulled back by a soon-to-become slave-owning ancestor whom she must choose to continue to save in order to ensure her own time/bloodline in Kindred, for example, memory is used as a vehicle to carry Dana back and forth between time, and in some sense, defeats the Grandfather Paradox, or perhaps avoids it altogether. This works to elevate the relevance of personal, familial, and communal narratives versus that of a recorded historical narrative shaped by a privileged few. Time travel in Kindred does not merely involve some event at some specific point in Westernlinear time, but asks from whose perspective that event is shaped, and how that influences the traveler.

The Telescoping Effect tells the story of On the brink of the 100 year anniversary of the Red Summer of 1919 and the Solar Eclipse of 1919 that would confirm the theory of relativity, an anthropologist seeking to dig up her own family roots becomes entangled in a web of retrocurence that touches upon all of these events. She will discover, in turn, how each of these events have not only shaped the curve of her own family tree, but how they have shifted the very fabric of space-time.

[Black] Grandmother-Paradoxes  

[Black] Grandmother Paradoxes - 

A non-linear bootstrapping/ quantum pre-destination paradox noticeably present in stories where Black women are the time travelers, and where cause/effect appears to be open up to multiple, non-linear influences. The paradox also acknowledges the ways in which time feels layered in Afrodiasporan traditions, where the past is always layered over the present moment - our ancestors reside with and within us, even if on a different temporal plane/scale.  For the purposes of the stories featuring the Black Grandmother Paradox, the phenomenon apparently resolves the grandfather paradox that otherwise limits time travel or deems it impossible. Examples include Kindred by Octavia Butler and The Telescoping Effect, Pt. 1 by Rasheedah Phillips.  Both works emphasize matrilineal or matricurvature timelines. 

In Kindred, Octavia Butler’s time-traveling protagonist Dana lands 200 years into her relative past, pulled back by a soon-to-become slave-owning ancestor whom she must choose to continue to save in order to ensure her own time/bloodline, invoking memory and the urgency of survival as a vehicle to carry Dana back and forth between time.  In some sense, this  continual birthing of her own timeline by saving, instead of killing her grandfather helps to defeat the Grandfather Paradox, or perhaps avoids it altogether. The very act continues to restore balance to the universe, sets it right.   This works to elevate the relevance of personal, familial, and communal narratives versus that of a recorded historical narrative shaped by a privileged few. Time travel in Kindred does not merely involve some event at some specific point in Western linear time, but asks from whose perspective that event is shaped, and how that influences the traveler.

The Telescoping Effect tells the story of a convergence of events spanning 100 years on the timeliine of a Black woman scientist at the turn of the twentieth century . On the brink of the 100 year anniversary of the Red Summer of 1919 and the Solar Eclipse of 1919 that would confirm the theory of relativity, an anthropologist seeking to dig up her own family roots becomes entangled in a web of retrocurrences that touches upon all of these events. She will discover, in turn, how each of these events have not only shaped the curve of her own family tree, but how they have shifted the very fabric of space-time.  The story considers the ways in which the genetics of our great. great grandparents is fused into our bodies, providing a highway of sorts upon which we can travel backward into their time periods.   

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