I have only 7 minutes and 55 seconds to explain this to you. I understand your dismay, your incomprehension, probably your fearfulness. Are you being confronted by a madman, an unhinged stranger? Why have I made unsolicited contact and convinced you to meet me here on Circular Quay railway station?
I haven’t preceded you, I am you. You are me. We are the same life, the same DNA. I am an older version of you, of us. It may not be a shared life due to the divergences of our experiences, but we are the same entity. It’s an existential thing. Just hear me out for less than eight minutes and I will be gone. Your lives will continue as before. Your free-will and ongoing sliding-door choices will continue to create lives for us, but in parallel worlds. But we are the same person. Hear me out, please don’t walk away.
Firstly, the young stranger beside you, looking equally stunned, is not your twin. He is you. He is Kevin Wonders, you are Kevin Wonders, I am Kevin Wonders. Just an older version. I exist in an infinite number of parallel lives, due to an infinite number of twists and turns and sliding-door choices, but I reiterate, I am you, you are me. You two younger me’s should never have met but through a strange quirk in this time leap, I am meeting two versions of myself at once. You could say it’s a glitch in Time. I normally only meet with one version of myself. There are seemingly three bodies standing here on the platform talking together at this precise moment, but there is only one person. At any given time, there can only be one Kevin Wonders.
Don’t ask me to explain why it happens. Don’t ask about wormholes or theories of relativity. I don’t understand the science. Physicists generally agree that time travel is theoreticallypossible. The key word here is theoretically, but it’s probably inconceivable at this stage of human development. I don’t understand how this happens to me, I just know that it does. For me, each visit lasts only 7 minutes and 55 seconds. That’s the duration of Led Zeppelin’s “Stairway to Heaven.” I’ve discovered that when I sit in the lotus position on the floor of my tool shed and play “Stairway to Heaven” through my sound bar, it washes over me and a long stairway appears before me. I climb that stairway, and from the top I can navigate dimensions of time. But only for the duration of the song. I am then immediately transported back to my happy place, the man-cave, a world of power tools, timber shavings and sawdust.
I’ve disclosed how I time-travel, but not the reason why. Remember, I’m not some weird relative of yours, I am you. Why do I visit younger, thirty year-old versions of myself in alternate lives? You’ve heard of the adult self-awareness exercise of writing a letter to your younger self? That’s a limiting exercise because it’s only addressing one of the younger me’s. My Stairway to Kevin cancels out a need for pen and paper. I meet myself face to face. Whenever I want. I also meet a huge spectrum of alternate younger me’s. It’s the year 2010 in your lives. It’s 2050 in my tool shed at present. But Led Zeppelin’s stairway is our path to self-analysis, self-awareness. At his trial and execution, Socrates uttered his mantra that an unexamined life is not worth living. I concur with Socrates, although I have not yet travelled to ancient Greece to hear him at first hand. The stairway enables me to spotlight and closely examine Kevin. It is a stairway to understanding Kevin Wonders.
Your choices have taken you, us, me, down a variety of pathways. I notice one of you pursued legal studies before pivoting towards sustainability, and the other of you is a roadie and part-time drummer in a rock band. You, we, are good people and my older self admires and encourages the paths you have taken. They are both worthwhile pursuits, adding positively to the personal and human experience. We are proud of our contributions.
I am not at liberty to disclose information which might alter human history. The time paradox precludes affecting the course of the past. As the past has already occurred, it is the foundation for the future. Time travel would collapse if events of the past were altered. The grandfather paradox teaches us that. It might be morally compelling to travel back and eliminate the grandfather of a bloodthirsty tyrant, thus ensuring the tyrant is never conceived, but it is an action which cannot occur because the past has already been laid out.
I can understand that you’re still incredulous, judging by the size of your eyes and sagging jaws. I would be too. But my 7 minutes and 55 seconds is almost at an end. I am proud of my younger selves and your worthwhile contributions to being me. I like who I was, I like who I have become. Continue to be yourselves, not false selves shaped by expectations of others, and be eternally vigilant that your actions won’t hurt anybody else.
I am leaving you now, returning to my tool shed, my happy place. But please hear this last thought…. perhaps you should consider adding Pfizer shares to your portfolio.