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Old March 14 2012, 03:09 AM   #1
Gotham Central
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Adapting to the past or future, which would be harder?

Frequently we've talked about the challenges someone would face if they found themselves awakened/transported to the future. But i'm wondering which would be harder, being a person from the past that finds themselves in the future, or being a person from the future transported backwards in time and forced to live in the past?


Personally, I think that it would be MUCH harder and more traumatic psychologically being stuck in the past rather than living in the future.
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Old March 14 2012, 03:11 AM   #2
Temis the Vorta
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Re: Adapting to the past or future, which would be harder?

The past. People had too many backwards ideas.
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Old March 14 2012, 03:51 AM   #3
sojourner
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Re: Adapting to the past or future, which would be harder?

Without knowing what that future might be, it's kind of hard to answer the question.
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Old March 14 2012, 04:11 AM   #4
Bob Morton
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Re: Adapting to the past or future, which would be harder?

You don't really know what the past is like to live in either.

There is that Poul Anderson short about the guy that was transported to Denmark in the 1200's or so and was practically useless.
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Old March 14 2012, 04:30 AM   #5
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Re: Adapting to the past or future, which would be harder?

Presuming the future is at least as clean, healthy and advanced as today... the future.
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Old March 14 2012, 04:35 AM   #6
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Re: Adapting to the past or future, which would be harder?

It's an interesting question, but it's difficult to answer because we don't know how far into the future or past they would be. In some way, the future could be just as difficult to live in than the past due to the changes that have occured.
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Old March 14 2012, 04:39 AM   #7
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Re: Adapting to the past or future, which would be harder?

sojourner wrote: View Post
Without knowing what that future might be, it's kind of hard to answer the question.
Not necessarily. The future is also now. Do you think someone from say the 12th Century would have an easier time adapting to living in the 21st than the other way around?
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Old March 14 2012, 04:47 AM   #8
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Re: Adapting to the past or future, which would be harder?

Temis the Vorta wrote: View Post
The past. People had too many backwards ideas.
If you went to the future, it could be that everyone thinks your ideas are backward. Being treated like the village idiot would be no fun.
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Old March 14 2012, 04:55 AM   #9
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Re: Adapting to the past or future, which would be harder?

Gotham Central wrote: View Post
sojourner wrote: View Post
Without knowing what that future might be, it's kind of hard to answer the question.
Not necessarily. The future is also now.
I think that's called "the present".The future could be a radioactive wasteland, An orwellian horror, or paradise. The question cannot be answered without knowing.

Bob Morton wrote: View Post
You don't really know what the past is like to live in either.
Hmm, there are these things called "history books". While not %100 accurate they do give an idea. The future on the other hand, is by it's very nature unknown.

And there's a series of books by Leo Frankowski about a man who finds himself in 12th century Denmark and ends up changing the world.
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Old March 14 2012, 03:49 PM   #10
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Re: Adapting to the past or future, which would be harder?

Does the time traveller have time to prepare?
If so, then the past is the preferred destination: the time traveller will have detailed knowledge of relevant past events&discoveries, being in a position to make a very wealthy and, if he so wished, important life for himself.

There was no preparation and the time traveller has little knowledge of relevant history - political, scientific and otherwise?
In this case, I would bet on the future, on the assumption that it will provide a standard of living ~equal to or superior to the one of today.
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Old March 14 2012, 05:04 PM   #11
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Re: Adapting to the past or future, which would be harder?

Silvercrest wrote: View Post
Temis the Vorta wrote: View Post
The past. People had too many backwards ideas.
If you went to the future, it could be that everyone thinks your ideas are backward. Being treated like the village idiot would be no fun.
True, but you'd probably also be a LOT less likely to be locked up or burned at the stake for saying the wrong thing.

I'm a big history buff, but people were so incredibly supersititiuos back then that I'd be afraid to utter a word for fear of accidentally offending someone. While in the future you could probably act or speak in all kinds of strange, antiquated ways and no one would even notice. Just like today.
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Old March 14 2012, 05:13 PM   #12
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Re: Adapting to the past or future, which would be harder?

Gotham Central wrote: View Post

Personally, I think that it would be MUCH harder and more traumatic psychologically being stuck in the past rather than living in the future.
I disagree. Knowing what is going to happen gives the time traveler to the past a distinct advantage over the unfamiliarity of future technologies.

If I could be plopped back in 1986 - the first thing I'd do is buy 1000 shares of Microsoft stock [ the same year they went public].
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Old March 14 2012, 05:16 PM   #13
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Re: Adapting to the past or future, which would be harder?

Temis the Vorta wrote: View Post
The past. People had too many backwards ideas.
And if you are a black person, you don't want to end up any earlier than the mid 1960s.
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Old March 14 2012, 05:17 PM   #14
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Re: Adapting to the past or future, which would be harder?

Bob Morton wrote: View Post
There is that Poul Anderson short about the guy that was transported to Denmark in the 1200's or so and was practically useless.
Take me to any time before 1980, and I'd be practically useless.

Silvercrest wrote: View Post
Temis the Vorta wrote: View Post
The past. People had too many backwards ideas.
If you went to the future, it could be that everyone thinks your ideas are backward. Being treated like the village idiot would be no fun.
It's more fun than being burned at the stake.

DarthTom wrote: View Post
If I could be plopped back in 1986 - the first thing I'd do is buy 1000 shares of Microsoft stock [ the same year they went public].
If you were to be plopped in any of the hundred thousand years before that, however, you would be fucked.
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Old March 14 2012, 05:24 PM   #15
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Re: Adapting to the past or future, which would be harder?

iguana_tonante wrote: View Post
DarthTom wrote: View Post
If I could be plopped back in 1986 - the first thing I'd do is buy 1000 shares of Microsoft stock [ the same year they went public].
If you were to be plopped in any of the hundred thousand years before that, however, you would be fucked.
Exactly.

The past would be harder to cope with. There are so many basic skills that people today lack which were commonplace (and essential) in centuries past. That's not a bad thing--we've learned to specialize, while automating the grunt work that used to be totally manual.

I think the future would be fun. Far enough into the future, my firsthand knowledge of (their) history should make me valuable, and I would absolutely love getting to know the technology and sociopolitical situation of a future time. I'm still young enough that I think I could adapt, unless humanity has just gone completely transhuman and isn't even relatable anymore.
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