WONKY TIMES

Using A Black Hole To Warn The Past About The Future?

The idea is that if the signal hits the time-distorting edge, it will be sent back in time.

We’ve learned and witnessed some pretty horrible things in the last 100 years or so, including pandemics, natural disasters, wars, and genocide. However, one man by the name of Joe Davis is determined to change the past.

For the last decade, when he’s not working as a scientist artist, he’s been attempting to achieve what a lot of people would consider impossible: Send a message back to the year 1935 to warn our past selves about all the disasters so they will have a better chance of stopping them from happening.

He calls it the Swansong. It’s a Morse code transmission that lasts about an hour.

To send it back in time, Davis wants to transmit it towards Cygnus X-1 — a black hole that’s 6,000 light-years away. The idea is that if the signal hits the time-distorting edge, it will be sent back in time and reflected back towards the Earth where it will be picked up.
From there, he’s hoping it will be intercepted during the correct time period.

If the gambit works, the Swansong project could, as Davis put it in his notes for a 2017 presentation on the idea, “be used to break the wheel of time.”

“This act of self-recognition and comprehension,” Davis told the website Mic, “is something that human beings have never been able to achieve.”

The idea sounds really wild because it’s never been done before. It’s unclear exactly how much Davis actually believes the idea will work, but he remains adamant that the message will one day be sent.

However, Davis acknowledges that even if the plan works, and someone in 1935 actually receives the message, they may not believe that it’s legitimate.

“If such a message was received, it probably wouldn’t be believed. It’s kind of like the response to the pandemic, you know?”

He goes on to explain his beliefs because of “humanity’s tendency to ignore uncomfortable truths as absurd or ill-informed until it’s too late.”

The hour-long Swansong message he intends to send into a blackhole ends with a brief philosophical statement that sums up the list of tragedies. He makes it clear that his message is a gesture for us today as well.

“We acknowledge that like the universe around us, we are of both violent and peaceful nature. It is from precisely this recognition that we derive our humanity. It does little good to apologize for past atrocities. Instead, we are driven to evolve into more conscientious beings capable of the promise and aspirations that also underlie the history of our experience. Would that we could change the past.”

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Matt Sterner

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