Lets get retarded (time)

It’s been a lot of time since I last updated and keeping with my desire to keep with themes whenever I write I am going to talk about time and how it can be retarded. I’ve discussed before how we are all living in the past but that’s only half of the story, less even than that. Time has two major sources, the one that we use on a Earthly scale which is my original post. It’s living in what we consider “now” but milliseconds in the past, the differences in time between each of our senses as they collect in our brain is so small that it all feels simultaneous and for the sake of survival it basically is.

But there is a second, the Galactic time scale. This will become an incredibly complicated problem in the not-to-distant future presuming that we all survive (which I suspect we will). Lets look at a very recent example, the landing of the Mars Rover on Mars. It takes 14 minutes for light to travel from Mars to the Earth, because of this any information we are waiting on from Mars will take 14 minutes before we can be updated.

The rover had been on the surface of Mars for 14 entire minutes before a single person on the project knew if it had survived. 14 long minutes of fear and doubt. It takes what? 8 minutes for light to reach the Earth from the Sun?

This means that time, on the Earthly scale, is all jacked up! We are watching the Sun with an 8 minute delay, we are watching the Moon with about a second thirty delay, and Mars is 14 minutes in delay! The entire galactic space scape is a thing of the past, galaxies have been torn asunder by great galactic tragedies and beams of immense radiation scour the special sea, cleansing the surfaces of stones they wash over and we haven’t a clue. Someday we will, or may, we’ll see these events as if they just began.

So what is this called? This delay between the event and the observation of the event? Or more accurately the time between the creation of the photon and the observation of that? It’s known as Retarded Time. For all intents and purposes every event has happened once we actually can observe it, while it literally happened perhaps billions of years ago it is functionally happening at this very moment.

Imagine if you will how complicated this will make future galactic societies? If you have two societies that are ten light years apart that means the fastest form of information known to man (and likely the universe) is going to take ten years to travel from either society to the other. This means functionally that both sides are twenty light years apart from one another. What if you are a hundred light years apart? At what point will people be so far apart from one another to effectively be permanently separated.

All major space travel with current knowledge and foreseeable future advances, the limitations of physics as we know it, these things mean that we will have some very profound questions to ask ourselves when we set out across that ocean. The distance you put between yourself and your home world will be only half of the actual functional separation. Now for either of you actually observing the other it will only be the distance in light seconds, minutes, hours, or years. But regardless, it will likely be a necessity to travel with your family presuming that you actually like them.

Governments will be functionally limited by retarded time. You can’t have a galactic government realistically unless that galaxy is similar to the united states, governments within governments within governments.

But imagine if you will how fundamentally ridiculous this notion is. The Milky way is 100,000 light years across, this means any meaningful communication between two ends would take 200,000 years total at absolute best. How accurate could a message at that distance be? Maybe relaying it from planet to planet across countless solar systems would be possible.

On the Earth we are blessed with remarkably short distances to communicate. Someday when humanity expands across the universe there are going to be some dramatic shifts in what it means to be human. The differences in our races now will seem trivial to the changes over the Millennia once humanity has become a galaxy wide entity.

I can’t imagine wars over resources once humanity is a space species, but I could imagine differences far more extreme than the most confrontational faiths of modern humans. Entirely unique species of man, separated by the sheer vastness of space from one another for such long periods of time that they slowly become out of sync.

Messages break down, societies diverge, and we create the very galaxy that we dreamed up in Star Trek. Hundreds, perhaps thousands, of different humanoid “aliens”. I think now, ironically, that Gene Roddenberry was spot on with what the future will bring. But not because we will find Vulcans and Klingons, etc, and beyond, but that we will become those very alien creatures. The break down of historical synchronicity will lead some, or perhaps many, to believe that they are all uniquely evolved. That their lineage started explicitly where their history began.

I hope it plays out as wonderfully as it does in the tales of Star Trek, but I equally hope the Borg isn’t equally correct.

Science Fiction is likely predicting the inevitable outcome of our expansion. We think humanoid aliens natural because our own natural impulses will make it so.

[If you enjoyed this theory you might enjoy some upcoming stories from me, if you hated this then you should probably forget about this. 50 Shades of Grey is always available.]


The inevitable result of retarded time and space travel. Also retarded developers, but lets not split hairs.

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