Be selfish, but don’t be a nihilist: U.P and Time Traveller Persona devise a plan to save the world and win Clair over
Greetings, Time Traveller, and Merry Christmas. We welcome and congratulate you here and now.
Thank you, good to be back here.
How have you been?
Alright I guess, alright.
Please tell of your recent time travels.
Oh, I’ve taken some time off.
Last time we talked, you said you’re going to take a day off.
Did I? I guess I did. Well I haven’t travelled since. My last time travel was to 2032.
Are you serious? It’s been nearly two months.
Has it? I really need this time off. Time travelling comes with a price that many people aren’t aware of. It’s not just the confusion and, uh, the thoughts, it’s also some pretty heavy headaches and dizziness and an all together shitty feeling.
That does sound unpleasant. What kind of thoughts?
Just thoughts about – about why we’re here. I mean why am I here, and why am I now, and just what’s the point of my existence.
No, no, what? Not at all, nothing like that. It’s more about what’s the point of my existence as a Time Traveller. Am I just like anyone else? I mean of course I am, but I’m not. There’s more I can do. I have more responsibility than others. And also, the mistakes I make have more impact on others. Do you understand?
Yes, I think that’s what we’ve always talked about, your understanding that if you make a mistake trying to amend some big historic event, consequences could be vast.
Well yes, but on the other hand, what about taking no action at all? That can also be a mistake, that can also have implications.
That’s a new insight for you.
No, it’s not. It’s always been there. And then I began having more thoughts, about what if I weren’t a Time Traveller at all. What would be my responsibility then?
So I began thinking that even as just a lad from Uppingham I have responsibility, responsibility towards humanity.
Yeah, yeah. It’s… it’s just these thoughts I’ve been having lately. So I joined the anti-nuclear movement last week and put up some flyers in the Cafe I work in. Together we can stop the bomb!
The 2032 bomb?
No, that’s what it says on the flyer: together we can stop the bomb!
So the end of the world in a nuclear war?
Why do we need bombs that can annihilate the earth eight times over? What’s it good for? And why do we need nuclear plants when we can devise safer, renewable forms of energy? We must take action about it.
Alright so go back in time and make sure they don’t invent the atom bomb and all that!
I already told you, it’s complex –
But flyers in your Cafe in bloody Uppingham are not going to stop nuclear plants –
The thing is that I’m taking action, alright?
You’re not, you’re not doing all that you can do. You can do so much more.
But I also have a lot of responsibility. That’s what we’ve just talked about. And Clair said she’s gonna put some flyers in the book shop –
Oh so that’s what it’s about –
No, it’s not. It’s about doing what I can do.
I’m sorry, but this is ridiculous. Suppose some highly influential politician started handing out anti-nuclear flyers, but did nothing about it as a politician. Could he or she say they’re doing what they can do?
Well, no. Alright, no. Do you want me to just say it? Fine, I’ll just say it.
I’ll say what you want me to say, cos I understand you’re just going to bully me into saying it anyway.
I’m not bullying –
Oh no, you never bully, right.
Oh you’re enraged again –
I’m not enraged alright? I’m scared, there, I said it. I’m scared I’ll dedicate my life to saving the world and fail, fail miserably. That’s what I’m scared of.
Of course, that goes without saying.
So just get over it. I mean it’s staring you in the face, what you should do.
Yeah? What’s that?
Should I really spell it out for you?
No, you shouldn’t, cos what you’re going to say is probably unrealistic and will show, yet again, just how deeply no one can really understand what being a Time Traveller really means and the responsibility that comes with it.
You should tell Clair and then you’d devise a plan together –
I knew it –
Doing that, you will slowly fall in love, but you’ll have no time for this, of course, because you need to save the world. And it’ll build up for quite a while, until – and that’s the best part – you either save the world together and then reveal your love to one another –
Again, this is not some Hollywood film –
Wait, or, you fail in your mission to save the world, but then, once you realise all is doomed, you reveal your love to one another because you’ve got nothing to lose!
And you’ll have some mad end-of-the-world-sex, and then everyone will die! It’s a win-win situation for you, really.
Alright, alright, it’s a fun thought, it’s fun to think of, but again, one must think about the ramifications, the consequences, the possibilities. A win-win situation for me: maybe. But it’s not about me.
We’ve already established you’re being selfish by not trying to save the world, so what’s the problem with being a little selfish about actually trying to save it? It’s less selfish, and as you said we all should aspire to be less selfish.
Right, you make sense to yourself with these superficial rationalisations that don’t really hold. First, you assume that telling Clair would have no other implications than the ones desired. But just telling her could lead to a catastrophe. Never mind mine, I could ruin her life.
Who cares? We’re all going to die!
Not for the next 25 years, alright? And it’s that nihilism that I’m scared of –
You’re the selfish nihilist here, bear in mind. Telling her and taking all these risks, that’s the opposite of nihilism.
Fine, I’ll tell her.
Yeah, I’ve – I’ve got nothing to lose.
How would you go about it?
I don’t know, I need to think about it. I can’t tell her at the shop. And if I’d ask her if she wants to have coffee she’d think I’m talking about getting a take-away in the Cafe I work in before she goes to the book shop. So I would have to explain to her that I want us to go somewhere else and talk. And that would – I mean what would she make of it? I mean it’s not a date. I’d just tell her I’ve got something important to say to her. But that would make her think I’m weird and she’d say no, she’d say, why can’t you just tell me here? Do you understand now? It’s impossible. I can’t do it. I told you, it’s not possible.
I see the difficulty. But wouldn’t she be intrigued if you told her you had something important to tell her?
She would, of course, but she’d think it’s just a weird way of asking her out, wouldn’t she?
Alright, so she’d think that until you tell her.
But what if she says no?
Well that’s not the end of the world, is it? Hah!
Oh, just – uh you’re unbearable.
I’m just kidding, I’m sure she’d say yes, you’re worrying too much about it, really.
Fine, thanks a lot.
So you’re going to do it?
I’ll think about it.
Be selfish, but don’t be a nihilist.
Thanks, it’s always helpful to get an advice from someone who knows absolutely nothing about what you’re dealing with.
I’m just trying to help you remember what you are: a Time Traveller.
I remember, I remember. I took some time off it but I remember.
I look forward to our next alterview then.
I’m not promising anything.
Still. We thank you and congratulate you, Time Traveller.
Thanks. Be safe and cherish your present time.