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Minds Eye

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Musings on Time Travel Assassination · 1:37am Mar 17th, 2016

In a documentary chronicling the American horror movie, director George Romero offered the motivation behind his seminal zombie film Night of the Living Dead:

What bothers me the most about a lot of the traditional horror is that why do you do horror? You do it to upset the apple cart. And always at the end it sort of gets set back up again. We kill the monster. We do whatever we need to do. And I didn’t want to do that.

The movie backs up his words. The apple cart gets tipped over with the first zombie murder seven minutes into the film, and the only guess the audience is given about why the dead are eating the living is a vague mention of radioactivity. And the ending offers no real resolution, either. Not only do all the protagonists end up dead and their bodies burned with all the zombies, the police patrol confirms to the audience that the zombies are still out there.

Hey, the movie’s almost fifty years old. I’m pretty sure the need for spoiler alerts expires after twenty. It’s in the public domain as well, so you can find it on Youtube if you’re interested.

Anyway, I’ve always liked that explanation of Romero’s. It’s purity. We do things because of why we’re doing them in the first place.

Which somehow, someway, got me to thinking about going back in time and murdering Adolf Hitler.

Which in turn got me thinking, Why Hitler?

Please understand that this blog will make no attempt to defend the man, or make an apology for fascism, or even imply that Hitler doesn’t deserve repeated blows to the scrotum with a lead pipe. It’s just that the idea of going back to kill Hitler is... cliche at this point.

A friend of mine once told me about a sci-fi screenplay he was going to write about Time Police charged with keeping the masses from killing Hitler before he gained power. Not because Hitler was a good person, but because so many people were trying to go back and do it, they risked collapsing the space-time continuum. It was a movie about the idea of killing Hitler being old and boring and mainstream before it’s ever actually happened in reality.

Hitler Hipsters. We wanted to kill Hitler before it was cool. I digress...

The motivations of killing Hitler are rather obvious. Stop the Holocaust, save millions of lives, and I imagine the German people would be pretty keen on restoring their honor and dignity in the eyes of history. Stopping one man’s rise to power could accomplish all of those goals and lead the world to a much different present.

In other words, we want to go back and kill Hitler so we can upset history’s apple cart. And if we’re trying to upset the apple cart, is killing Hitler really the best way to do that? Heroic, yes, but history books were written long before he was even born. The seventy years we’ve had in this post World War II world might not even be an em-dash sized segment on the timeline of recorded history, much less the caveman days and the like.

There certainly isn’t a shortage of targets throughout civilization. Rasputin comes to mind. It may seem silly to kill a man who already gets assassinated without your help, but considering how notoriously hard to kill he was, it might be fun to materialize in front of him with a machete and show those Russian pussies how it’s done.

While you’re at it, take that machete to London circa 1888 and pass it on to Jack the Ripper. Then shoot Jack the Ripper, because holy shit, you just killed Jack the Ripper! No one else can say that. Nor can anyone say you can’t have any fun on your single minded quest to upset the apple cart and fuck up the timestream.

And as long as you’re adding trophies to your wall, see if Sun Tzu was smart enough to know what to do when a machine gun opens fire on his position. Death ground indeed. And since the Art of War will no longer be written, history just lost one of its most influential books.

But you can do better than eliminating a dusty old book. Ever hear of this dude that founded the biggest empire the world has ever seen? Who ended up killing ten percent of his world’s population? Yeah. You could put the head of the man that literally decimated the entire world on your wall. Which, in addition to sparing those lives, would stop Genghis from fathering the uncountable number of children he and his horde were responsible for. The face of the Earth would be irreversibly changed with his premature death.

Speaking of changing the face of the Earth, you could kill off Alexander the Great before he turned an island into a peninsula. And, you know, before he overthrew the most powerful empire of his time, set the standard that every general that ever lived after him is compared to, and established Grecian culture as the greatest influence of Western Civilization.

Killing William the Conqueror would remodel English history, and possibly American as well. Taking out da Vinci would alter an entire generation childhood memories as a collection of four mutated reptilians would receive a different naming scheme. Artists, philosophers, warriors, leaders, so many lives have brought the world to what it is today. But is there one--just one--whose removal would bring history crashing down like a Jenga tower?

There is.


I don’t care if you’re Christian, atheist, or an advocate of the Flying Spaghetti Monster. Taking Jesus out of history would have inconceivable ramifications on our lives today.

For starters, time itself is divided by his life. Even though we’ve started using the terms “Before Common Era” and “Common Era” more often in place of the religiously themed BC and AD, the thing that separates the two is still the generally accepted year of Jesus’ birth.

Imagine going back to that moment. You stand outside the stable, leaning around to corner so as not to announce your presence. Mary kneeling next to the manger, Joseph standing proudly over her shoulder. The Three Magi are bowing to the newborn king.

And then you toss in the frag grenade.

How I would love to know what happens next. Perhaps the grenade will disintegrate and reintegrate inside your brain. Or Hell will open up right under your feet and pull you down before you lob it in. Or Jesus would storm out of the ruin with the bearded fury of his glorified body and say, “Fucking asshole, I can only do that once! You ruined it!”

Bit of a catch 22 there, I suppose. You know for a fact what the answer is to countless arguments and supposition: Jesus truly was the Son of God. But you murdered him. Except he’s still sort of alive and really really pissed at you.

Or nothing would happen because he was just some other guy in the sands of time, and the most powerful religious sect of all time would be kept from the pages of history. I can’t even imagine what that would be like. So many things have been done in Jesus’ name in the last two thousand years.

It’s easy to sit here on the interwebz and say, “Good! Fuck the church. All they do is persecute.” Thing is, religion has never been foreign to mankind. Christianity wouldn’t have a stranglehold on Europe after the fall of the Roman Empire without the life of Christ, but there were a hell of a lot more gods that could fill that void. If Judaism persevered under Roman rule, or if the rise of Islam spread across Europe, would things have been any different? It’s hard to imagine Europe without strife between kingdoms and eventual nations, and all that still came with Christianity in charge.

Hell, the Roman Empire may have collapsed even earlier than it did without Christian influence. The Emperor Constantine was the great figure of the Empire in its last century or so, and Christianity played a huge role one of his great victories.

Jumping back to Islam. In contrast to the barbarity so often associated with the faith these days, the Muslims are often credited with preserving the ancient knowledge of the Greeks until Europe woke up from the Dark Ages. Could science and philosophy have gotten a jumpstart without Christian intervention? Could that mean the technology we have today is outdated compared to what might have been?

I’m gonna stop here, because my head is starting to spin. I don’t think any amount of research could tell us what a world without Jesus would be like with any kind of detail. Or maybe it wouldn’t be that different at all, and we’d all be worshiping Allah, or maybe even Zeus or Odin.

Probably not, because I think most of this site’s members live in America. Would Muslims have been more tolerant of the natives of this continent than the Christians were, and therefore let them keep their gods and customs? And exactly how many of us know what gods and customs belonged to the region we live in now? Or would none of that matter because the Muslims still carried European germs with them?

God, see what I mean? So many questions. But I found the answer to one.

How do you upset history’s apple cart? By dropping a fucking boulder on it. Do your damndest to make it unrecognizable. Kill Jesus.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go sit in a sauna for about twelve hours. Should be good practice for the afterlife.

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Comments ( 6 )

..... damn dude.

Yeah, pretty much.

This is an amazing thought experiment. Personally I dont believe in the J man. That was a ridiculously common name back in the day. Who you really want to hit is either his so called apostle Peter, and to a lesser extent the others. Or fire bomb the first council of Nicaea. Then if you wanted to really push the worlds level of knowledge through the roof, save the Library of Alexander.

You could go the other way and instead of killing, saving people. Go back and give Europe the cure for the Black Death.

Indeed. It's enough to make me agree with my friend's screenplay idea up there. There are so many possibilities, I just don't think time travel would ever be feasible for use by the masses, if it ever happens in the first place.

3812035 From what ive heard of the current theories of time travel. You can only go back as far as the point when the machine was first turned on. I have also heard of a theory where if you could go back the universe would prevent you from making any change to the timeline. I think time travel is possible, theoretically, but current tech cant do it. I could see something more along the lines of a viewing portal into the past. We can see what happened just not be able to change anything.

History can't be changed, because it's already written. There might have been time travelers on the Titanic, but the ship still sank. There have been countless attempts on Hitlers life, and some of them may have been time travelers. Hitler survived them all.

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