“The most important thing I learned on Tralfamadore was that when a person dies he only appears to die. He is still very much alive . . . All moments, past, present, and future, always have existed, always will exist . . . The can see how permanent all the moments are, and they can look at any moment that interests them. It is just an illusion we have here on Earth that one moment follow another one . . .”
-Slaughterhouse-Five, Kurt Vonnegut
Regarding time travel, can a person truly be dead? Billy Pilgrim brings an interesting idea to the philosophy of Time Travel. The Tralfamadore see their lives as individual moments and so, upon seeing the corps of a dead person they think that that person is not doing so well at that particular moment, but there are many other real moments that the person is going perfectly fine in. These moments can be visited and are tangible to the Tralfamadore’s.
So, if time travel was possible—-going forward and backwards in time—-would we see things the same way? Could we go back in time and prevent a death of someone? This belief of Vonnegut’s aliens I feel showed the fluidness and multidimensional aspects of time. Putting these principles into play brings many philosophical questions on moral behavior which I find fascinating.
Seeing like the Tralfamadore’s what could we learn? Going back in this fluid time that they seem to have, or going forward changes you perspective of death. Now, his life is not ended, but merely in a bad state-—in another moment he is perfectly fine; and that moment is just as real and tangible as any.
It’s an interesting and important concept. Although we cannot time travel we can still see that when a person dies they do not have to be dead—-they are still very much alive in time and that time is completely and forever there. Time and time travel make death impossible. It’s an interesting concept.
So it goes.