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THE ANTHONY EFFECT
THE ANTHONY EFFECT
Dr. Anthony readied himself for yet one more frustration. It was widely accepted that the future was ‘in communicado’. The laws of physics allowing unlimited transmission into the future but not the other way around. Put another way, we can send anything we like forward in time but the future can not send us any useful information at all. We can send our children’s great grandchildren a complete set of encyclopaedias but those yet unborn children are forbidden from responding with so much as a nursery rhyme. It is the universe’s way of protecting itself from paradox and from the disruption of the established time line. It’s the problem of the ‘silent future’ or the ‘Anthony Effect” as the popular press likes to call it. The problem seems intractable and the best minds in science, mathematics and information theory had been at it for over forty years now.
The problem is easy to grasp. If the future could communicate with the past (our present) by say sending us a textbook full of science we haven’t even thought of yet. It would enable our scientists to leap ahead a century or two but it would so alter the line of cause and effect that gradually lead up to those ideas. It’s this causual chain that links past present and future. Break that chain and you threaten the very existence of the universe and, it appears, the universe is not about to let that happen. So while the universe allows a channel of communication to exist between present and future it scroupulously protects itself by not allowing any information to flow backwards. What actually happens is that the future sent book is transformed into an information neutral item like a brick or a bannana. A piece of the future is received but it is an absolutely useless one. The exact transformation process is not well understood but it is lumped into the Anthony Effect in the public’s mind and has become a running joke in the media and a source of pain and embarrasment to the aging Dr. Anthony whose great mind opened up the connection to the future, won him acclaim and immortality, but has ultimately proven to be a great waste of money, energy and brainpower.
Alone in his office, Dr. Anthony can only marvel at how thoroughly defeated he was. A science with so much promise to come to nothing. Why allow a channel of communication to exist at all if it only functions in one direction? The future already has the past. The future doesn’t need chrono-transmission, the Institute for Time Research and an entirely new branch of physics just to send us a goddamn orange. Failure doesn’t come easy to a mind as fertile as his. And it wasn’t for lack of trying. He could recall those first heady years when the best and the brightest were working on the new science. Testing to see what information might survive the return trip. Written and spoken language was dropped early on. Symbols and symbol based languages, photographs, pictoglyphs, magneticly recorded and digitized information went up easily but what came back fills the basement cabinets with so much trash. Send up a tape recorder on tuesday and get back a rabbit or a lump of clay on Wednesday.
Anthony chuckles to himself remembering all those years spent trying to decode the strange offerings from the future. The bright young minds and vast computer power devoted to search for patterns in the transmissions to no avail. You could send the identical book forward a dozen times and you would get back a variety of objects of similar weight and size but esentially a random assortment of animate and inanimate objects. The latest approach has been looking for information in the cells and molecules of the many fruits and animals so far collected. Dr. Anthony has to admit that the universe is a lot bigger and smarter than all our poor human brains put together and so far molecular analysis has likewise proved fruitless. And, no doubt, will everything else we poor humans try. The future’s available, it’s just not talking.
I thought the 'Institute for Time Research' was a fantastic idea. We need to create one if there isn't one already in place.
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