16 votes

If you could experience anything in the past what would it be?

If you had a time machine that would let you experience the past, but not change it, what would you do?

16 comments

  1. [6]
    mrbig
    (edited )
    Link
    For many of those, an universal translator is required. As a Christian, I would very much like to see and record Christ's crucifixion. It would help me settle some disputes. Also because I'm a...

    For many of those, an universal translator is required.

    • As a Christian, I would very much like to see and record Christ's crucifixion. It would help me settle some disputes.
    • Also because I'm a Christian, I would love to see the conversion of Paul the Apostle in the Road to Damascus. Paul is a very important example of moral virtue for me. He did write some thing I disagree with, but I greatly admire him nevertheless.
    • Like @zptc, I would love to see a Beatles concert. But one where I could actually hear the band - in lots of concerts the screaming was overwhelming.
    • D. Pedro the First proclaiming Brazilian independence in 1822
    • The entire Malê revolt, an uprising of African slaves of the muslim faith that happened in my own city in 1835. This is very important for me because my family have Nigerian origins, and I identify culturally with the Nigerian Islamic culture.
    • An Argentinosaurus huinculensis (largest dinosaur ever) just walking by
    • A member of the Sauroposeidon, the tallest dinosaurs there was
    • A Pterodactylus gaining the skies!
    • Roman Empire festivities, including gladiators fighting lions and stuff
    • Ancient Olympic Games
    • Socrates in a heated argument with a bunch of sophists
    • The day Plato met Socrates
    • The day Aristotle met Plato
    • Wittgenstein trying to convince Bertrand Russel of his main thesis
    • The last major conversation between Freud and Jung
    • The situation room where Harry S. Truman and his advisers decided to bomb Hiroshima
    • Total access to Franklin D. Roosevelt and his staff during and after Pearl Harbor, and also the day the US declared war to Japan
    • Lots of WWII stuff. I'd basically like to have access to all the major events of this war, both the front and the high-command.
    14 votes
    1. [5]
      ThatFanficGuy
      Link Parent
      Of phonetical note: it is advised to use "a" before words starting with the sound [j]. In English, most of the words starting with U make that sound: in this case, [juːnɪˈvɜːsl]. The "an" article...

      an universal translator

      Of phonetical note: it is advised to use "a" before words starting with the sound [j]. In English, most of the words starting with U make that sound: in this case, [juːnɪˈvɜːsl]. The "an" article is supposed to precede words that start with a vowel – in order to escape the phonetic concatenation, I presume – whereas [j] is a semivowel.

      4 votes
      1. mrbig
        Link Parent
        Thanks. This is not my first language. I make an effort to get it right and also use Grammarly, which helps immensely. But a few basic things always elude me, and I have to live with that,...

        Thanks. This is not my first language. I make an effort to get it right and also use Grammarly, which helps immensely. But a few basic things always elude me, and I have to live with that, otherwise I won't write in English at all. The corrections are certainly useful, though. Again, thanks!

        3 votes
      2. [3]
        mrbig
        Link Parent
        On another note, I can't read phonetical, so when you refer to the [j] sound IDK how to interpret it. Or at least I interpret it as a completely different sound than the one you have in mind, out...

        On another note, I can't read phonetical, so when you refer to the [j] sound IDK how to interpret it. Or at least I interpret it as a completely different sound than the one you have in mind, out of my Portuguese expectations.

        1. [2]
          ThatFanficGuy
          Link Parent
          [j] is the International Phonetic Alphabet representation of the sound you make when you start pronouncing "yogurt": that weird short sound that sounds like [i]. In Portuguese, this sound appears...

          [j] is the International Phonetic Alphabet representation of the sound you make when you start pronouncing "yogurt": that weird short sound that sounds like [i].

          In Portuguese, this sound appears when you pronounce boia, apparently: Wikipedia says that it sounds like [bɔj.jɐ] – since you speak the language, you should be able to decypher what each of those symbols means.

          2 votes
          1. mrbig
            Link Parent
            Not exactly. The word is actually bóia. Where I live we pronounce it "literally" (we read the acute accent), so it's a very open o (impossible to convey), while some southern states use a more...

            Not exactly. The word is actually bóia. Where I live we pronounce it "literally" (we read the acute accent), so it's a very open o (impossible to convey), while some southern states use a more closed o.

            I never considered learning Phonetic because my English pronunciation is acceptable, and I tend to learn by watching movies and such. But it's certainly useful.

  2. Greg
    Link
    The first thing that popped into my head was the moon landing, which I know is well within living memory (even my parents saw it live) but is so era-defining and such a transformational step for...

    The first thing that popped into my head was the moon landing, which I know is well within living memory (even my parents saw it live) but is so era-defining and such a transformational step for us as a species that I would give an awful lot to experience it firsthand. If I can stretch the rules a little and point out that travelling in time necessitates travelling in space as well, then I will absolutely double down on this and say that I get to experience it standing on the moon.

    The second would be going back to a day or so before the JFK assassination and hiding cameras in every bush and tree I could find, just to settle my burning curiosity.

    Beyond that, it would be amazing to see the pyramids in all their contemporary glory, or to walk with dinosaurs, or tour China at the height of the Qing dynasty, but those (and any similar things I can think of) would all be almost like tourism for me - I'd love to have the opportunity, but none would be my only choice if I had to pick something life-changing.

    What I'd really choose, given one totally free shot in a time machine, would be 500 years into the future. I want to see what humanity manages, I want to see where technology takes us, and if I possibly can I want to grab some ideas and bring them back to get us there faster.

    8 votes
  3. [2]
    Comment deleted by author
    Link
    1. zara
      Link Parent
      My high school class watched a short documentary about Archduke Ferdinand's assasination, and you're absolutely right in calling it absurd. Even today, I have a hard time grasping the reality of...

      My high school class watched a short documentary about Archduke Ferdinand's assasination, and you're absolutely right in calling it absurd. Even today, I have a hard time grasping the reality of what happened.

  4. cardigan
    Link
    I would be in and around Roswell, New Mexico between June and August of 1947.

    I would be in and around Roswell, New Mexico between June and August of 1947.

    6 votes
  5. patience_limited
    Link
    I've got a big interest in human migrations, explorations, and crossroads that would be cool to indulge: The first trade nexii in Africa, including the establishment of the Nilotic cities; The sea...

    I've got a big interest in human migrations, explorations, and crossroads that would be cool to indulge:

    1. The first trade nexii in Africa, including the establishment of the Nilotic cities;
    2. The sea migrations to Australia and Polynesia;
    3. The settlement of the Mediterranean coast and trade among Egypt, Greece, Crete, Macedonia, Palestine, Persia, Rome, etc. (not so much the warfare, though);
    4. The Silk Road caravans;
    5. The voyages of the Qeng Ho;
    6. The Viking settlements of Iceland, Greenland, and the Canadian coast;
    7. The Aboriginal settlements of the American continents, and the Maya, Inca, and Aztec trade cities;
    8. The Khazar empire and its trade and migrations;

    ... Dammit, I basically want the whole picture of human history. 🙄

    5 votes
  6. [4]
    zptc
    Link
    A Beatles concert. Granted, I wouldn't hear the music, but seeing them live would be worth it.

    A Beatles concert. Granted, I wouldn't hear the music, but seeing them live would be worth it.

    3 votes
    1. [2]
      mrbig
      Link Parent
      In order to hear the music, you could wish for a concert right before beatlemania.

      In order to hear the music, you could wish for a concert right before beatlemania.

      2 votes
      1. zptc
        Link Parent
        True. Maybe a show at the Cavern Club or in Hamburg would be a better choice.

        True. Maybe a show at the Cavern Club or in Hamburg would be a better choice.

        2 votes
    2. Eylrid
      Link Parent
      Concerts would be high on my list. Michael Jackson at Motown 25 when he showed the world the Moonwalk and Queen at Live Aid would be my top two choices, but there are so many other performances...

      Concerts would be high on my list. Michael Jackson at Motown 25 when he showed the world the Moonwalk and Queen at Live Aid would be my top two choices, but there are so many other performances that would be amazing to attend.

      1 vote
  7. Kuromantis
    Link
    I'd like to ask some 18/19th century Europeans what they thought of the slavery going on in their empires's colonies and what they thought of gender equality, homosexuality, atheism and racial...

    I'd like to ask some 18/19th century Europeans what they thought of the slavery going on in their empires's colonies and what they thought of gender equality, homosexuality, atheism and racial tolerance, along with seeing what the guiled age trusts of the US were like to their workers. I'd also like to see the interwar period, since most of Europe, China and Russia were effectively in civil war and to see what the normal people were doing during all the conflict. (Also drawing parallels is always good for hysteria.) I'd also record them with a modern camera to see what they thought of that and to show to us today. I would also like to browse the Internet of 1995 or earlier (To see why it was so much better and if anyone predicted the behavior of the tech companies of today.) along with 2000 to see how did people react to Y2K, 2008 to see what people thought of social media then and what it was all like along with some great depression hysteria, see Obama's election and see what the Republican candidates were like before trump, and 2015, since it was regarded as 'the last year of calmary' by many.

    2 votes
  8. ThatFanficGuy
    Link
    That's a good question. The first locations of choice would be within the borders of the modern continental US. the Wild West (at its cultural peak and around its decline, like when Red Dead...

    That's a good question.

    The first locations of choice would be within the borders of the modern continental US.

    • the Wild West (at its cultural peak and around its decline, like when Red Dead Redemption II is set)
    • the US in 1930s
    • ...and in 1960s
    • ...and on the verge of 1990

    Then there's Russia. I'd really like to see the Kievan Rus' as it was some time before the mass christening in the 10th century. Then would be the foundation of Saint Petersburg: how the city was planned, built, and made to living. Seeing Moscow sometime in the 1800s, when the Kremlin walls were still white, would be cool.

    What I really want to see would be the 1991 coup d'état attempt in Moscow. The closest I've gotten to it was reading Vladimir Pozner's Parting with Illusions. (I believe this part is only available in the Russian version, edited and expanded later by the author as the book was being translated into Russian.) Those three days in August would be fascinating to see with my own eyes.

    1 vote