Origin paradox


The motive of time travel is very common in science fiction. The pioneer of time travel literature is considered to be H.G. Wells with his novel The Time Machine, although in fact the motive of time travel was found in literature before him.

Everyone knows the classic paradox with a time traveler who kills his own grandfather, but in general there are many more potential paradoxes, and today we will talk about one of them.

Or, as they say,

An excellent example of the ontological paradox is given in the TV series Doctor Who:

Imagine that you are a time traveler and at the same time a fan of Beethoven’s work. You travel back in time to see your idol.

But when you find yourself in the past, you find that Beethoven is unknown to anyone and did not write any music at all. Then you copy the sheet music and give them to him, and he publishes them as his own. Well, and then really — how to live without the fifth symphony?

Mission Complete. Centuries later, the time traveler (before the trip) admires the genius music of Beethoven and decides to travel back in time. And the cycle repeats.

Only one thing is not clear — who then wrote Beethoven’s fifth symphony? We cannot say that Beethoven was its author, because he received it from a time traveler, but the time traveler is not its author either — he received this music from … Beethoven. It turns out that Beethoven’s music exists as if by itself. Out of time.

This paradox compares favorably with other time paradoxes in that it does not violate the logic of events in its timeline and fits perfectly into it, unlike other time paradoxes, such as the Hitler paradox, in which the time traveler kills Hitler in infancy, as a result the second world war does not happen and the motive that made the time traveler travel back in time disappears.

Let’s say a time traveler goes back in time with him. watch that I received from my grandfather. There he meets his grandfather and discovers that he does not have such a watch. And he gives his watch to his grandfather in order to receive it in the future from him.

At first glance, there is no difference, as in the case of Beethoven. But not quite. So a time traveler, going back in time, takes with him a watch that is, say, 100 years old. Having given them to his grandfather, he does not create a closed loop at all. After all, now the clock will age by another 100 years, and in the future he will receive a clock with an age of 200 years, and so on until the clock crumbles to dust.

In order for the loop to close, the watch must somehow self-renew itself, so that the time traveler in the future gets exactly a 100-year watch every time. But such self-renewal apparently contradicts the second law of thermodynamics, as well as the principle of causality.

However, it is quite possible that violations of causality and the second law of thermodynamics are apparent here. So, according to the Russian astrophysicist I.D. Novikov, the second law of thermodynamics is a statistical law, not an absolute one, i.e. spontaneous entropy reversal is unlikely, but not impossible. And besides, the second law of thermodynamics is applicable only to isolated systems, and clocks are not.

So, in the case of a watch, something in the outside world can spend energy to restore the watch and reduce the entropy that it has accumulated, so that in the time of the traveler, the watch will again be 100 years old.