If you had a time machine, what could you do with it? The possibilities are endless — especially if we assume that if we ever manage to create technology as sophisticated as a time machine, we’ll also have a work-around for language differences and ways to keep from passing on diseases to previous generations. Of course, there would be inevitable dangers. If you made major changes and altered the course of history, you could come back to a future where apes ruled the world or, perhaps worse yet, the French. Obviously, nobody wants that. So, what kind of fun could you have if shooting Hitler or Stalin in the face was out of the question? Well, just imagine….
1) Meeting Jesus: One of the key existential questions that we all grapple with is “Is there a God?”
I believe there is, which is why I’d love to go back in time and meet His Son personally. (This concept also works for non-mainstream Christians if you insert Muhammad, Buddha, Abraham, Joseph Smith, L. Ron Hubbard, or any other religious founder of your choice.)
Imagine going back to watch Jesus feed the 5000 with loaves and fishes, heal the blind, walk on water, and bring Lazarus back to life. If you wanted a definitive answer to the question of a deity’s existence then you’d have it after that. If there were no miracles, you could go back to your own time and reorder your life accordingly. However, if, as I believe, there is a God and Jesus is His Son, how incredible would it be to see Him in person? To hear His voice speak your name? What else could you possibly do in your life that could match that experience?
2) Meeting history’s greatest figures: Are you sick and tired of hearing people argue about their interpretation of the Constitution?How great would it be to just go back in time and ask the Founding Fathers what they meant in particular areas?
Have you ever wondered how hot Cleopatra was compared to women today? Wouldn’t you like to see for yourself? What would dinner with Genghis Khan or Alexander the Great be like? What if you could talk philosophy with Socrates or Confucius? Imagine convincing Michelangelo to do a painting for you or sitting in the audience as Ludwig van Beethoven plays. How amazing would it be to talk about writing with William Shakespeare, science with Einstein, leadership with Machiavelli, God with St. Augustine, or psychology with Sigmund Freud?
3) Watching history unfold: Ever seen 300? If so, wouldn’t you like to go back and watch the Greeks and Persians clash in the Battle of Thermopylae? What if you could actually go back in time to when Stonehenge was being built and find out how and why they built that monument? How about seeing Julius Caesar “cross the Rubicon” with your own eyes? Envision actually listening to Lincoln give the Gettysburg Address or watching the Wright Brothers’ plane lift off the ground for the first time with your own eyes. If your time machine were good enough, you might even be able to personally confirm the Big Bang theory and then take a break to go watch a Tyrannosaurus Rex eat a Raptor. That would beat a day at the Smithsonian and a trip to the zoo any day of the week.
4) Fixing your worst mistakes: Most people claim that they don’t regret anything that they’ve done in their lives and it’s easy to see why. You often learn a lot from your mistakes and even events that seem to be complete disasters can often work out for the best. On the other hand, if you had a time machine, you could learn all of those same lessons and still go back to fix your mistakes. How many people would like to go back in time and whisper in their own ears, “That guy’s a dirtbag, don’t marry him,” “Don’t drink and drive tonight,” “That job is a dead end,” “Don’t trust her with that secret,” or “You’ll save yourself a month in the hospital by getting that checked out today”?
Your life today could aptly be described as the cumulative collection of consequences resulting from the decisions you’ve made up to this point. If you could go back and change even a few of those bad decisions, it would send your life rocketing upwards.
5) Getting rich: A $5 investment in the stock market at the start of 1900 would have been worth more than $100,000 in 2010 — and that’s without taking advantage of bubbles and crashes or cherry picking stocks. Real estate could be just as profitable. Imagine buying waterfront property in New York or San Francisco at $5 an acre and holding on to it for 150 years. Even a miniscule investment could make you wealthier than any man who has ever lived if you left it alone long enough,
There’s one often-cited example of the power of compound interest. If Christopher Columbus had placed a single penny in a 6 percent interest-bearing account and instructed someone to remove the interest every year, the value of the interest earned by 2005 would be almost 31 cents. But if he had placed the same penny into the same interest-bearing account but left the earned interest to compound — earning interest upon the interest — the resulting balance for 513 years would be $95,919,936,112. That’s $95 billion!
It’s true that money won’t buy you happiness, but have you ever seen anyone who looks miserable while he’s getting a backrub on his new 100-million-dollar yacht?