Anonymous asked in Arts & HumanitiesPhilosophy · 1 month ago

Does Back to the Future's universe suggest solipsism or an existence of alternate parallel timelines? ?

Either way, the universe it portrays has disturbing implications. 

Zemeckis suggested that when a timeline is altered by someone's actions in the past, the events that are precluded by the actions, including people, cease to exist. That's why Marty nearly wiped himself out of existence. 

That any changes are made are only known to the time traveler. 

This suggests one of two things: 

1. Whoever accesses the time machine has nearly God like capabilities in which their own understanding of reality becomes the best explanation of reality there is. Which is odd, why would reality be altered for a countless number of people and things, but not for them? What makes someone that special upon using the time machine? 

2. There are many, maybe infinite timelines and the alteration of one suggests the traveler having departed from one to another.

8 Answers

  • 4 weeks ago

    Neither.  It assumes that there is only one timeline that is "true" for everyone.  That's why they were so worried about affecting the future when they went back into the past.  If it were solipsism, i.e. everything happening from one person's point of view, it wouldn't matter.  Likewise if there were multiple parallel timelines it also wouldn't have mattered.  In the multiverse theory a new universe is created at every decision point, so you don't have to get it "right", everything exists all at once.  If everything were possible, it would make more sense according to the multiverse theory but it would make for a much less interesting movie that way.

  • Liz
    Lv 6
    1 month ago

    Back to the Future is just pure fiction of an author's mind. But consider the businessman from Tokyo who jets to New York for a meeting. If his flight departs at noon, then after flying nonstop nearly halfway around the world, he will land at his destination that same morning, seemingly earlier than he left. Distant cities are in different time zones. In fact, crossing the international date line, an invisible line on the globe, means crossing an agreed upon boundary that separates calendar days. Talk about a disorienting experience! Depending on which direction you travel, it’s like gaining or losing one day in an instant.

  • Anonymous
    1 month ago

    Your question suggests that this is a homework essay question. How much are you willing to pay for an answer? 

  • Lv 7
    1 month ago

    it suggests that you should suspend your disbelief and just enjoy the pretty pictures unfolding before you on the big screen...

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  • j153e
    Lv 7
    1 month ago

    Would suggest that your number 2. is correct.

  • 1 month ago

    In 'reality' I should favour the latter, but in the film Marty would would not disappear if he was from another timeline in which his parents got together. Also, why should anything fade gradually? Surely it would exist or not exist, the photo would not fade, nor would Marty because the timeline separated years before. The events in the film lean more towards some form of solipsism or a dodgy plot.

  • 1 month ago

    Yes, time travel depends on how it is done. If we could have a (space) vehicle that exceeded the speed of light we could easily travel through time. In my theory we could travel to the past but not to the future because the future depends on the past.

  • Anonymous
    1 month ago

    I suspect the latter. The idea of an infinite number of timelines makes more sense to me, and is in keeping with the current time travel theory. The only difference is, Marty wouldn't have started to disappear because his parents didn't get together, because he accidentally created a new timeline in which that happened. He would have simply gone back to the 80s and found no record of his existence. He would be an anomaly.

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