A long long time ago, when the land was owned by dinosaurs and man had not started breathing yet, times were simpler. There were no mobile phones or computers, no lasers or global positioning satellites, no steam engines, cars, planes, clocks, radios, toaster waffles.
But here’s a profound thought: our understanding of physics tells us that the Laws are Nature immutable; they’ve been the same since the Universe began (or forever, if you believe that it’s always just been). That means that any of our magical and revolutionary devices that we’ve invented today with our clever modern know-how would have just as easily worked back in time, millions of years ago, aeons before they were conceived.
Imagine then that we have a time machine (probably a Tardis, so that it’s big enough on the inside to hold all our junk). We could load it up with radio towers, diesel and generators, and a load of mobile phones, and take them on a ride back in time. Set it all up and switch it on, and it would work! We’d be able to make phone calls, and sell monthly contracts to tyrannosaurs so that they could keep in touch with the Daily Fossil!
Why is this exciting, I guess you are asking? Hmm indeed.
Well, project yourself now to the future, the distant future, maybe over 10,000 years from now. It’s plausible to expect that we would have solved many mysteries. We’ll know what dark energy is, and dark matter too, and the Universe will be our slave. We’ll have discovered new phenomena, and developed new technologies and materials; our clothes will all have nano-scale detailing and we’ll all drive around in vehicles with the new Ubbba-Drive-4S, powered by our own sense of satisfaction.
So then, what if one of our future selves dives into their Tardis-4S, packed with goodies, and descends on our timeline? Arthur C. Clarke said that any sufficiently advanced technology would be indistinguishable from magic, and so it would seem when your future-ganger switches on their 4D-Quanta-Viddy and holograms of yourself from all the adjacent parallel realities appear instantaneously beside you. Magic indeed!
But the point is that their technological toys would work in the here and now, rather nicely too. (Just imagine how much you could flog them for on E-Bay!) That is to say, that the only reason that we don’t have such miraculous faculties available to us today is not because the Universe doesn’t support such nonsense, but because no one has thought of it yet! It’s a limitation of our imaginations, not a limit of nature.
It is possible for someone, right here right now, to invent some amazing technology so amazing that we would not recognise it in relation to the world that we already understand. And the only thing stopping us from conceiving of such things is our imagination, and the limitations that we hold in place that prevent us from seeing and understanding the possibilities that are potentialities in the system that are available to be harnessed.
So, how do you relate to the possibilities that are available to you right now? My point is that there are known possibilities and unknown possibilities (apologies to Rumsfeld). Unless you hold a space available in your imagination for the unknown ones you might never genuinely do anything that will surprise you, or astonish you, and the world will never benefit from that wonderful thing that only you could give birth to.