‘The Umbrella Academy’s Grandfather Paradox Resolved?

‘The Umbrella Academy’s third season’s third episode summarised the Grandfather Paradox — of a ‘temporal anomaly’ that might be created, (if time travel in its usual ‘sense’ is possible). Here is a more concise take with extra notes… Imagine a grandson who hates his grandfather, who time travels to the past, to kill him. However, with his overly early death, the grandson’s mother was not even born, thus never meeting his father, which renders the grandson’s birth impossible. This seems to make the grandson non-existent, yet if it does, he would not be able to time travel, to make this so in the first place.

If time travel can make the grandson non-existent with a single deed, be it intentionally or accidentally, it seems that he cannot even time travel in the first place. If he does time travel, but does not interact with elements of the past, thus not disrupting the web of cause and effect, this gives room to the possibility of time travel. Truth is, disruption of the web is not even practically possible. This is so as we do not experience many inexplicable fluctuations of the elements in the present, which should surely occur if there are vengeful time-travelling grandsons. Many people and things ought to simply vanish as we speak, with many witnesses.

Disruption of past causality’s web is also impossible because it is already interconnected to the further past and future, right in between. There is the law of karma anchoring the irreversible ‘right’ of what having occurred having had to occur. For example, as the grandson karmically deserved to have unhappy experiences with his grandfather, and having undergone these experiences too, it is not possible to ‘undeserve’ such just deserts. Karmic seeds sown with fruits grown and eaten cannot be spat out. However, how an unavoidable bitter karmic fruit is presently experienced can be altered with repentance and resolution to make amends.

To sum it up, the ‘paradox’, with a little further reflection and observation, imply that even if time travel is possible, it has to be non-disruptive (or non-interactive) in nature, only allowing personal review. This happens to be the Buddhist version of ‘time travel’, in terms of recollection of past lives. Recollection is for (re)learning that missed (and forgotten). Thus, there will not be, as depicted in stories and shows, the placing of ‘time, space and every living thing in grave peril’. Surely, the immutable laws of nature are not so easily shaken, that a single angry grandson can wreak havoc, with cosmic permutations that echo through all of the future.

Let us then, let go of possibly ‘murderous’ time travel fantasies, that do create some negative karma as they nurse hatred in the mind, even if not expressed in deed. It is time to return to this present moment, to relearn from our past if needed, to ensure we do not repeat the same mistakes. This is how we can move forward, instead of endlessly blaming ‘the “sins” of the (grand)father’. (The concept of time travel should not be confused with time dilation, which makes the experience of time passing at relatively different speeds possible. As a simple [and perhaps poor] analogy, this is like experience of spatial expanse becoming relative due to personal size change.)

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