Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

A Brave Old World

  1. Sep 14, 2004 #1

    Ivan Seeking

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    Humanino's thread reminded me of an old idea for a Sci Fi novel. What if we took all of our knowledge back in time, say to the earliest humans, and teach them what we know now; including all of science, history, medicine, economics, sociology etc. How would the world evolve. Where would we be today? What would history be like? Assume that we can only pass on our knowledge in the form of a few hundred solar powered palmtops. So, less this device, no hardware can be passed along.

    IIRC, I allowed seven people to remain in the past to teach.
     
    Last edited: Sep 14, 2004
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 15, 2004 #2

    Evo

    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    Oooh, this is a good one. They say stone age man's brains were no different than ours, so they could be taught what we know. If you already had the knowledge, how long would it take to start actually making the things that we have today? We would be dealing with raw materials, but all the knowledge. There would be no ready means of producing materials.

    How would society evolve with technology handed to them? An interesting question.
     
  4. Sep 15, 2004 #3

    Ivan Seeking

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    Imagine the value of those palmtops. This alone should influence a good bit of history.

    Edit: I wish I could write well. :cry:
     
    Last edited: Sep 15, 2004
  5. Sep 15, 2004 #4

    russ_watters

    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    I've actually thought about what would happen if I could go back in time and hand Newton my HP48 calculator (with manual, of course). Or even if I could teach him or some of his contemporaries some modern science.
     
  6. Sep 15, 2004 #5

    Moonbear

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    Oooh, that's a scary thought. We'd be seeing giant statues of Ivan everywhere there was a church! It would be interesting to see science advanced, but religion would certainly be changed at the same time. Once they had solar-powered palm tops, it would be hard to impress them with a couple of carved stone tablets. Alternatively, you'd be immediately burned at the stake as a devil with heretical ideas, and your solar-powered palm tops destroyed right along with you. You know, that really would make a good story...travel back in time with this technology and gather a following of those willing to embrace it at the same time as you are continuously being pursued by the religious leaders (or political leaders) of the time to silence you and your ideas when they realize it will result in the loss of their power. Some of the technology would wind up in the wrong hands, and either be used for harm rather than good, while others would suppress the contents to retain their power...which ones would destroy the palm tops and which would hide them away and never share their location or contents? Could you get them into the hands of people who would share the knowledge contained in them? What would be their fate as those in power saw this as a threat to their own power? Would there be a string of murders, secret societies formed to protect the knowledge, etc? What would modern society think about that history? Would they not believe such "ancient" technology was brought by the god Ivan from the future?

    This could be a really cool story. I'm picturing it playing well on the big screen too, something different from the overdone time travel themes where only the time-traveler himself is the focus rather than the effects on the entire civilization. Would the time-traveler himself remain conscious of his traveling, or would he need to forget it ever happened as well? Would the story unfold from the sudden realization that he looks just like the statue in front of the ruins of an ancient temple just uncovered in an archaeological dig?
     
  7. Sep 15, 2004 #6

    BobG

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper

    You'd probably like Isaac Asimov's "End of Eternity".
     
  8. Sep 15, 2004 #7

    BobG

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper

    If you look through history, a few 'modern' ideas pop up from time to time, but never go anywhere because the means of production isn't there. So many ideas depend on the surrounding society to even be worth pursuing that the most you could expect would be to accelerate development rather than create a huge leap in development.

    The most significant contributions would be simple things like "If you guys would wash your hands before you cook and eat, you wouldn't have so many diseases."
     
  9. Sep 16, 2004 #8

    Ivan Seeking

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    I didn't mean that I personally sent them back. I just meant in my story outline. :biggrin:

    I have tried to write a rough draft for numerous stories but I usually burn them before anyone can see them. :blushing: :devil:
     
  10. Sep 16, 2004 #9

    Ivan Seeking

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    I was trying to remember how I outlined this idea... As I recall, as civilization faces certain destruction, seven keepers of knowledge are sent back in time to guide the earliest humans, and the religion of infinite progression becomes the basis for civilization. Each iteration of humanity understands the greater purpose and each more closely approaches perfection. Each reaches its most advanced state and adds greatly to the knowledge base. Then, just before self destructing [which is predicted using an advanced version of the primitive "chaos theory" known to us], just in the nick of time, seven are sent back to begin the next iteration.

    So the complete story involves many iterations of a world history. Since I can't even write a good short story, an epic seems a little out of my reach. :redface: Oh well.
     
Know someone interested in this topic? Share this thread via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook

Have something to add?



Similar Discussions: A Brave Old World
  1. Same old same old. (Replies: 2)

Loading...