Enjoy Life In All Ways Possible
The reason I write on this blog is because there wasn’t a lot of fun in my childhood and I want to inspire kids to just be happy, I want to help kids grow up knowing what it’s like to be happy so that they strive to be whatever they want to be and know they they don’t need to be something fake for anybody else. Growing up one of the main things I loved was a show called Dragon Ball Z it always helped me feel happy when I was feeling down because it’s an overall joy to watch.
I had recently watched Dragon Ball Z again last winter, the entire series, to relive some childhood joy, and I was extremely intrigued by the portion (during the Trunks Saga) where there is time travel and how it seemed much more plausible than the previous attempts I’ve seen in films such as Back to the Future. I researched time travel a little and with a small joy discovered that time travel in classical physics where time is linear, a single stream (as it is in Back to the Future), has mostly been dropped as implausible while time travel in a quantum universe, where the world is made up of possibilities and is not confined to a single track of time (as it is in Dragon Ball Z), makes time travel much more plausible. Honestly, I am very skeptical about time travel and unless someone, someday, actually invents a time machine, I’m really not that interested, but I still found it interesting to note the differences between the two and, even more so, how they reflect two dynamically different personality types between the the two time travelers: Trunks from Dragon Ball Z and Marty McFly from Back to the Future.
Dragon Ball Z is not about time traveling, but, as mentioned, it has a small portion where a teenage boy, Trunks, travels back from a devastated future in order to the alter certain events. What is revealed is that Trunks is still bound to his original dimension. When he returns to the future, he will return to the same devastating future he has always known even after altering history. It won’t be entirely in vain though because when he alters history, another possible dimension, a new future, becomes actualized. So, in the end, while Trunks will not get to enjoy this peaceful future, he will still have peace of mind that while people in his dimension suffered, he created a new dimension with peace for the planet earth.
In Back to the Future, Marty has no grandiose mission. He travels back in time in order to escape some getting gun downed by… I don’t even remember and it isn’t important. Either way, Marty isn’t attempting to alter the past but the opposite, he only wishes to return to his original present without disrupting too much the flow of time. This is because in the Back to the Future albeit Western universe, there is only one possible reality, only one stream of time, and anything that disturbs the past affects that stream and alters the future. This makes time traveling a very precarious act. If Marty alters too much, he not only risks returning to an unfamiliar future but even risks disrupting the patterns that eventually lead to his birth, which, in this universe, leads to him ceasing to exist. [Quick note: There is an interesting similarity between Marty’s unstable existence, when he is vanishing, partially not existing, to Schrodinger’s cat in the box theory, but I’m not going to look into it any farther.]
Now, to quickly explain why Dragon Ball Z is more plausible is that it escapes many of the paradoxes of time travel that Back to the Future is ridden with. For instance, what happens when Marty meets himself; each time he travels, his actions become necessarily bound to time so that there will seemingly be multiple Martys (for each time he travels) forever trapped in automatic loops to continually create the future, which seemingly means that each event in time must continually “replay” itself for the world to exist; and so on. But, like I said earlier, time traveling in itself doesn’t interest me all that much, but it is interesting how these two modes of time-traveling express two very different modes of life.
In Dragon Ball Z, time traveling is very similar to the creative force of an artist who creates a fictional world or an alternate dimension of meaning in order to escape from his familiar reality. Trunks, in this sense, has an artistic-type personality, and his end all hope is absolutely similar in that he doesn’t actually create a new reality to live in, but only to have peace of mind in having created it. He is, in the end, still confined to his familiar reality, and he does not have any similar anxiety to Marty in that he doesn’t have to worry about irrevocably altering his familiar reality. He can create as many realities as he likes in this dimension that allows such artistic freedom.
The dimension of time for Marty, on the other hand, is filled with anxiety. He has an ethical responsibility to not alter the past as it could irrevocably alter the future, perhaps in terrible ways. Also, Marty is not coming from a disastrous future, or one that he’d like to escape from, but from a happy home in a familiar reality that he doesn’t want to lose. Marty does not live in the world of freedom to create meaning through artistic expression like Trunks. Marty is an everyday man, and he is seemingly incapable of accepting a new reality with a new dimension of meaning. For instance, it would be disastrous to Marty if he were to alter the world so that his parents were dead, or his love or the doc didn’t exist, etc. If anything were changed greatly enough, he would lose his familiar reality and his familiar dimension of meaning, rendering, for him, life more or less meaningless. This is the anxiety of someone who depends on familiarity and the people close to him to retain meaning in his existence.
So, in the end, while Dragon Ball Z does seem correspond to a more contemporary view of time, this doesn’t mean that a classical view of time is without its own mode of expression and thus has its worth in film. Again, Dragon Ball Z is the universe of the artist, the ability to create and actualize new dimensions while Back to the Future is the universe of the everyday person who is always holding on to his familiar reality and his familiar dimension of meaning. If someone were to want to create a story using time travel, I would definitely want them to consider these two different personality types or two different modes of expression. I’m only saying that because I think it’s likely that there are other variations of time travel that I’m unaware of and I’m certain that there are more variations that could be thought up for the use of expression in film. I’m not going to quote this because I have no idea where I read this line, but in some interview that is somewhere in existence, Quentin Tarrantino mentioned that if he were ever asked to do a time traveling movie, that he’d make it work. And that seems closer to the right attitude as Back to the Future and Dragon Ball Z aren’t scientific documents, obviously, but modes of expression themselves, and it is more important that storytelling adheres to human expression, emotion, movement, rhythm, etc. than to scientific fact.