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More on the Man from the Future

I stumbled upon the "existence" of John Titor this morning in reading about a Time Traveler Conference held at MIT. I posted an excerpt from a website about him as well as a link to the wikipedia entry on him, but I didn't actually get around to reading the stuff I posted and to which I linked until this evening.

Now that I've read a bit of the lore, I just have to say, "Dude!" I was particularly struck by his description of future history as summerized in the wikipedia entry.

Titor's description of events between 2000 and 2036 effectively describes World War III and two decades of recovery.

He claims that the seeds of this conflict will begin to be seen in 2004/2005 around the time of U.S. presidential election, 2004. Continuing Muslim/Jewish tensions are still a problem at that time but are not the cause; instead, an American civil war is brought on by increasingly intrusive police state tactics more or less resembling the massacres at Waco and Ruby Ridge. The "second civil war" sees those in the cities fighting those in rural areas; Titor fought on the rural forces, joining a "shotgun militia" when he was 13.

The civil war is effectively ended by Russia in 2015 when it commences nuclear warfare on most major US cities, eliminating the federal government and thereby securing a 'victory' for the rural forces. Most major urban areas in the world are also hit by nuclear weapons in tit-for-tat retaliation. Europe, Africa and Australia are particularly badly hit in this regard and, Titor claims, are devastated as approximately three billion people die worldwide.

By 2036, people are making progress in recovering from the war. There are five US states (the seat of government is in Nebraska). Society is considerably decentralized, focused on tight-knit rural communities. There is more emphasis on religion, personal interaction (as opposed to mass media and other sources of social isolation) and self-sufficiency. Technology does not seem to be widely affected, however, with "predictable" advances such as rapid rail transport between cities, space travel and genetic engineering. Water must still be filtered or distilled to remove radioactive particles and life is harsh, with people expected to work in the fields to produce locally-grown food for part of their day.

Titor's claims of life in 2036 strongly resemble ideals held by survivalists, militias and some Libertarians in some respects, though in others they are similar to those held by advocates of deep ecology or anarcho-syndicalism. He is skeptical of consumerism, militarism, genetically-modified foods, and commercial food processing generally, all of which are positions associated with environmentalism and/or the Political Left.

If you read this material on Wikipedia, you'll find it full of hyperlinks:

It occurred to me to ask if he had anything to say about the singularity, so I Googled and found that his time machine supposedly employed a mini-black hole, so while I found lots of results that mentioned both "John Titor" and "singularity," I didn't find anything talking about the singularity in the sense that Vernor Vinge or Ray Kurzweil use the term.

Posted in haste without checking the results. Please advise me of bad tags, and other boo boos.


( 7 comments — Leave a comment )
May. 10th, 2005 01:29 am (UTC)
in my judgment, hooey.
i want to say again, for the record, that the photographc evidence is really unconvincing. the rationale, too. if they could control singularities, they could figure out that IBM code.
May. 10th, 2005 01:29 am (UTC)
Re: in my judgment, hooey.
photographic, too.
May. 10th, 2005 03:38 am (UTC)
Re: in my judgment, hooey.
the photographc evidence is really unconvincing.

Sure. I don't post this stuff because I've swallowed it hook line and sinker. I look at Titor's vision of the future as a memetic artifiact rooted in the present. It draws from several narratives that are near and dear to my heart, and while I certainly don't want a nuclear war, the scenario he paints does pander to a Red Dawn sort of romance in me.
May. 10th, 2005 06:40 am (UTC)
Got me thinking
Oh, I'm inclined to shelf this as a slightly more refined version of the (at one time weekly) "DooD, Man, I'm a Vampire!" on alt.gothic but hearing the excuse for no y2k bug combined with the non-mention of 9/11 got me thinking.

1. While the Y2K bug was of course not apocalyptic as feared, it was also MUCH gentler than I thought it would be. I didn't expect social collapse, just a lot of stupid idiocy that would spark a backlash against "paper pushers" and a LOT of computer upgrades. At worst there would be a few shortages here and there, but only for a day or so before a 'special paperwork' shipment came through.

---At the time my main job was with a food distribution warehouse so I saw first hand how many mountains of canned beans the grocery stores got, the managers half-laughing as they promised to pay us in tradable foodstuffs if the currency/economy collapsed. One good thing is that most charities had a FLOOD of high quality foods that lasted for years, as many stereotypical embarassed 'suburban husbands' with survivalist fantasies faced being fed BEANS every single DAY for a decade by their irked wife.

2. IF the Y2K glitch HAD reached apocoalyptic proportions, WOULD there have been 9/11? (shutting down the country like a depression, a few nukes that spark a nuclear war) Frankly I think Osama would have said "What's the point?"

3. This is something that SEEMS simple, but isn't;
If you were a time traveller from the future, would you tell of 9/11? There's been a lot of skepticism over other forms (mystical) of telling the future over that? "What were all 'dem proFITS doing on SEPTEMBER 10th!?"

If I was from, say, the run down terrible dark future I fear may well occur and I was able to go back in time, my first impulse would be indeed to warn of September 11. It would 'prove' my claims and that 'proof' could further my agenda, namely to change the past in such a way that the future becomes more preferrable to me. I'd go "On September 11, 2001, America is horrified as terrorists crash hijacked jetliners into New Yorks Twin Towers, killing thousands. The illegal president George W. Bush uses this to further his agenda of starting wars his campaign contributors profit personally from. He beats the drums of war and sticks America into a vietnamesque urban war in Iraq and Afghanistan looking for terrorists. The fear is still at a high level, so there is not the outrage expected when he steals another election...blah blah blah...After the civil war ends, it is revealed that GW Bush not only "Knew" but "PLANNED" these events. Some of his aides confessed to witnessing him actually drinking and LAUGHING all day as people jumped to their deaths to avoid burning alive."

I'd then release this thing all over, leaflets, mailings to individuals and newspapers, try to get on Art Bell. A few days before the attacks. Why? At that time, even if my supposition is true (Bush KNEW or worse) it would be too late to avert them or divert them to a date late enough to dis-associate it from the 'predictions'. A few thousand now is worth a few BILLION or everyone later, sorry... And, IMHO, those guys are so arrogant, I could do it MONTHS before 9/11 and they'd probably not notice it. The three days would be just in case.

BUT, with an undeniable prediction of 9/11, the later things I inserted with a personal agenda would become gospel. Bush would be lucky not to get HUNG on the Whitehouse steps, still kicking as Gore is sworn in apologeticly. He'd probably avoid that fate, but his political career would be over and his party would be so scandalized they'd feed on each other, exposing and throwing blame on fellows while making a dozen smaller derivitive parties. Other things I'd call for, such as a light form of Socialism and reasonable enviornmental measures would stick.

I'd only do this if I was a time traveller with an EXIT strategy. I'm reminded of Greek history, specificly the Trojan war. Also, I'd worry if it would indeed have any effect. Would it truly generate the outrage I'd hope it would? Is time indeed 'like a river', that if you say 'assasinated Hitler', WW2 would indeed still have happened?
May. 10th, 2005 01:49 pm (UTC)
Re: Got me thinking
About 9/11, if I spin out scenarios that grant Titor's claims about traveling back from the future, I find it easy to imagine that the September 11th attacks did not occur in his history, and the fact that they occurred here defused the anger and divisiveness over the 2000 election and prevented the civil war of his timeline. Heck, maybe Titor represents the Dittohead of 2038 and his views about history and causality come more from partisan propaganda than from actual study. Perhaps a better-informed time traveler from his or a similar continuum came back and provided Al Queada with the organizational and material support necessary to pull of the September 11th attacks, thereby providing the US with a unifying agenda that altered the course of history away from Urban vs Rural civil war.
May. 10th, 2005 04:25 pm (UTC)
Re: Got me thinking
Except there is a big difference in how my suggestion to change history and his differs. His is almost literally the "Grandfather Paradox" while mine only grazes it.

I recently read of a better way to express the "Grandfather Paradox". Let's say an experiment has created two wormholes that can be entered and are currently a few minutes apart from each other in time. Is it possible to flick a marble into the 'future' wormhole just right so that it hits itself and diverts its course so it does not hit itself? The answer to that depends entirely on whether the universe is singular, plural and to what degree inbetween.

Personally, I think that the same way 'superstring' theory has been absorbed into 'membrane' theory, the multiple universes touch each other, flow into each other. There is no "Universe A & B" or "Universe 1-1E200+23b" but a superuniverse. If there is a way (likely) to re-align one's position in it, the differences would be suprisingly gradual, but of course you'd think you'd reached an 'alternate universe' when you went to a palce where history significantly differed and of course were in "Another dimension" when the differences became profound.

This is actually simpler than the 'multiverse' stuff. Most "Alternative history" stories have something profound, but what about the tiny stuff? Imagine at the U.S. mint a container of several thousand finished pennies being poured into one of several million. Must there be an 'alternative timeline' for each and EVERY combination of flipped pennies, even though the changes their positions created are effectively insignificant?

If I'm right the "Grandfather Paradox" might be possible to attempt, but it would be debatable on how much it could affect anything.

Now, if Titor indeed acted to prevent the Y2K bug, he was destroying the single most defining act of his life. It sounds like he would have been a generic suburbanite kid if his world had not gone apocolyptic on him. He would have been completely alien to who he was. This almost argues for the truth of his story, for the 'reality' he took with him almost HAD to trigger some different 'storm' that would define him in one form or another.

In the 'if it was me' scenario, well before 9/11 I had becomed disgusted by American politics, by the greed of society and determined in some way to make a change. 9/11 did not stop or re-define me in commitment to my goals. Bush's stolen re-election should have been a turning point, but it wasn't.

If I in 2036 go back to 1999 I'm only altering the latter half of my natural life and slightly. I wouldn't wipe out 9/11 because it would only spark something different and perhaps worse. I wouldn't 'make myself rich' for that would create just as profound a change. I just would set things up to be a "Mr. Natural" stereotype in a more social-eco friendly world than what I fear will happen, a world that I'm working for including trying to become a "Mr. Natural". (Underground Comix ref. Hokey, upbeat Guru type, part true enlightened mystic, part nice huckster)

By contrast Titor is altering 99% of his life and the defining monemts of his existance.
May. 10th, 2005 03:14 pm (UTC)
First off let me say in local lingo that truth or fiction, John Titor is hell-o entertaining. I now need to move my computer INTO my bathroom, because I ran into this whole National Enquirer typr fascination with his story.

I read far far beyond the links you provided. Mostly I found the dead links to any info on his reappearance as an alien on another list.

Forget mentioning 911, why not warn of a Tsunami which britally affected a huge population? If 3 billion people perish, trust me, there is no organized body count, I found that prediction to be a typical charlatans sham...a needy wish fulfillment. The same is true of the social justice systems suggested, a provocatuers mix of scenarios which result in plantation slavery, not interview-paycheck communalism. The other one which bothered me in the practical sense was the assertion that radiation had forced them to distill and *filter* water, yet he claimed that it was fine for them to eat fish out of the water, and fine for them to keep and kill their own livestock. Absolute poppycock. Radiation would concentrate in animals, and animals are not an effcient means of food production.

I agree completely that is it the greatest literary hoax of the early part of the twenty-first century, and I do wonder at the possibility of it being a media spin.

Read the discussion page in Wikipedia (often the juicy bits are there!) for the down and dirty of the IBM 5100 issue. I am not sure if it is movie material or if the movie was in fact "Timeline".

The part I find destructive is the promotion of any solution which involves the destruction of either the technologies or systems of communication which we have already built. By that I mean *the system*. It does however creatively get me pondering potentially fun outcomes which revolve around future societies with strong ties to largely tribal, rurally centered systems. More on my lj.
( 7 comments — Leave a comment )

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