AFROFUTURISM-PRESENTISM-PASTISM: Catching up with time in Black Science Fiction!

time 1What if you could travel back into your past and alter something that would change you in the present? Would you do it?

Or what if you could travel forward into your future and alter your present? Would you?

Most Westerners speak of time travel in science fiction in terms of forward in time or backward in time. In the Western view, an event is a component of time – that time exists as an entity in itself, and it moves. The movement of time is forward, coming from behind us. As time moves, you must use it or lose it.  If you do not use it, it is gone.

In the traditional African view of time, one might say that time flows backwards.  It flows toward you from the future, and the more or faster the activity, the faster time flows.  Time is created, in a sense.

Time is not something in itself.  Life is made up of events, defined by relationships.  Time is a component of the event.

In the African view, your activity really determines the amount of time that passes.  Thus the faster you work, the more time you use.  Time is not actually passing; it is simply waiting for you to catch up.

In the traditional Asian view of time, it is believed that what we call the past, present and future are mere illusions – fabrics of space and time, in which all exist seamlessly together. In this view, the future and the past are not any different.

Recent research suggests that, in fact, the present can change the past and the future can change the present. This is known as retrocausality.

Retrocausality has powerful and interesting implications for your life. The opportunity to change something about your present life that was originally set in motion in your past – or, the ability to use the future, even though it hasn’t “happened” yet, from your time-frame, to change something in the present – is a powerful thing. In effect, the results of your choice can be seen before you’ve even made it.

Seeing time, however, from the perspective of retrocausality is helpful with many people in need of psychotherapy and with those who feel “stuck” and unable to change or grow.

If it is, indeed, true that what we label past, present and future are all one, an event in either the past or the future could alter the one we call “the present.” Suppose, then, that you could shift something that occurred in your past, which created your future – which is now the present. Similarly, if you saw your future, based upon what you’re doing right now, and altered that, could it also transform your present?

time 3These topics have been explored, in depth, in many movies, including the Back to the Future trilogy, the four Terminator films and in the hilarious Hot Tub Time Machine.

Time and time travel have also been explored in science fiction and fantasy.

In my latest novel, Redeemer, the hero, Ezekiel Cross is – as author D.K. Gaston described him – “literally a man running out of time”.

Sent nearly thirty years into the past as an unwilling subject in a time travel experiment, he must save his younger self from the deadly path that forged him into the ruthless killer he now is.

Described as an Urban Fantasy thriller, Redeemer is both gangster saga and science fiction epic.

Retrocausality…explored and experienced on the mean streets of the past, present and future.

Ezekiel uses retrocausality in attempt to change his condition in both the past and the future. Let’s hop into Ezekiel’s shoes for a bit and experience a bit of retrocausality ourselves.

How?

Here are some suggestions:

1.  Identify a meaningful turning point or event in your life in which you made a decision or were moved by circumstances to go in one direction vs. another, and that you know forged a path in your life that you wish it hadn’t. It might have concerned a feature of your personality that became reinforced through your behavior, associations, or personal values. Perhaps particular interests that grew or an educational choice you made. Or a relationship you began or committed to.

2.  Write down what you wish you had known then and how you would have liked to act differently, in that turning point. Then, envision inhabiting the person you were at that earlier time. Show your earlier self what he/she needs to know or do, right now, in order to shift direction or change in some way. Do this exercise during meditation or a period of quite reflection.

3.  Now, envision that you have actually become the person who could have emerged from that earlier shift. Imagine incorporating the emotions, state of mind and capacities that would have resulted.  Envision that you are that person you might have been. Reflect on how you can integrate the results of the past you have “changed” into your life in the present. What new intentions or emotions arise within you and what can you do with them? Remember, your experience of reality is constructed within your head, your consciousness. That experience can change by “changing” your past.

4.  Next flip this around: Teleport yourself into the future that you desire. Use your imagination to envision the person you would like to be in your future; the person who is already there.  From within that person, speak to who you are right now.  Tell your present self what you need to alter, change or develop from this immediate moment forward, in order to be pulled to that future version of yourself that you want to become.  Doing this reminds you of the vast power – and importance – of having an ideal: a positive vision of something that constantly beckons you and keeps pulling you along the path towards it, as it tells you that it’s already there – or could be.

Upon your return from this jaunt, studies have shown that, to avoid “time-lag”, you should pick up your copy of Redeemer and treat yourself to a great read!

Happy travelling!

time 2

About Balogun

Balogun is the author of the bestselling Afrikan Martial Arts: Discovering the Warrior Within and screenwriter / producer / director of the films, A Single Link and Rite of Passage: Initiation. He is one of the leading authorities on Steamfunk – a philosophy or style of writing that combines the African and / or African American culture and approach to life with that of the steampunk philosophy and / or steampunk fiction – and writes about it, the craft of writing, Sword & Soul and Steampunk in general, at http://chroniclesofharriet.com/. He is author of three novels – the Steamfunk bestseller, MOSES: The Chronicles of Harriet Tubman (Books 1 & 2); the Urban Science Fiction saga, Redeemer; and the Sword & Soul epic, Once Upon A Time In Afrika and contributing co-editor of two anthologies: Ki: Khanga: The Anthology and Steamfunk. At present, Balogun is directing and fight choreographing the Steamfunk feature film, Rite of Passage, which he wrote based on the short story, Rite of Passage, by author Milton Davis. He is one of the leading authorities on Steamfunk –a philosophy or style of writing that combines the African and / or African American culture and approach to life with that of the steampunk philosophy and / or steampunk fiction – and writes about it, the craft of writing, Sword & Soul and Steampunk in general, at http://chroniclesofharriet.com/. He is author of three novels – the Steamfunk bestseller, MOSES: The Chronicles of Harriet Tubman (Books 1 & 2); the science fiction gangster saga, Redeemer; and the Sword & Soul epic, Once Upon A Time In Afrika. He is also co-creator of the soon-to-be-released role-playing game, Ki-Khanga™: The Sword & Soul RPG. Balogun is Master Instructor of the Afrikan Martial Arts Institute and Technical Director of Martial Ministries of America, a non-profit organization that serves at-risk youth. He is also a traditional African priest, actor and conflict resolution specialist, who works and lives in Atlanta, Georgia with his wife, his seven daughters and his son.

11 responses »

  1. cozycommons says:

    Wow, I have never heard of retrocausality until this post. It was interesting to read about the different views and beliefs of time. I do know that I’ll have read this again to try to wrap my mind around all of this new information. After so many years of hearing and believing that time was linear and always moved forward; it’s surprising and refreshing to know that time is much more complex than that. The mainstream rhetoric surrounding time always simplifies it, and now I’m starting to wonder why? I especially liked the part about how the past, present, and future are one entity rather than being separate things in a line.

    • Balogun says:

      The workings of time and our perception of it has always fascinated me and has been a subject of deep and consistent study.
      Thanks, so much, for your feedback!

  2. Jessica Burde says:

    Ouch! My head hurts. I want to dismiss it as an interesting but off the wall idea, but there is something in it that clicks. Now I just need to wrap my head around it!

  3. This is a top explanation of the quantum question! Thanks :)

  4. Fujimoto says:

    A very interesting perspective on time and time travel. It could be helpful if I ever want to write a time travel story. Also, a good reminder on picking up Redeemer.

    Unrelated to the topic, but I just worked on a TV Tropes article for Moses: The Chronicles of Harriet Tubman. I read both books and a single night and I just had to write about them, hoping to bring more attention to your work. Now I’m reading Once Upon a Time in Afrika. Just started that one.

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