Monday, July 14, 2014

The Time Machine

"The Time Machine" by H.G.Wells  (1898)
This is one of the first novels to explore the idea of travelling through time. After a lengthy discussion on the 4th dimension, with several friends, the time traveller proceeds to announce that he has indeed built a machine that will transport him through time. He is met with raised eyebrows but sets out soon enough to prove his theory.
He pushes the lever to fast forward and lands in the same location as he left, but more than 200,000 years in the future. What then begins is the story of what and who he discovered. The future becomes a platform for some philosophical ideas on mankind, civilisation, as well as talk about political models. What he discovers, and I will not give it away, is that mankind has degenerated.  He observes that there is no war, sickness, disease, want or hunger. There are no weeds, etc. etc. But what has happened to mankind as a result of all this security? I quote
"This has ever been the fate of energy in security. It takes to art and eroticism and then comes languor and decay."

It becomes evident that the struggles that mankind and civilisation encounter are the very things that draw out new ideas and innovations. Struggle, as in the case of the metamorphosing butterfly, gives it strength. This is also true on the individual level. We should not disdain struggle but embrace it, for without it we atrophy and weaken.

The ideas put forth are worth reading, but the story, of course, is pure fiction. It is pessimistic in its outlook for the future of our world, and we are left hanging at the end of the book by the disappearance of the time traveller. (Temporarily or permanently?)

It is a topic that tickles the fancy of all of us, but at least in this life, there will probably not be any time travel for any of us.

                                                 2 1/2 stars of  5

No comments: