Imagine that in the future we would have the possibiliy to travel back in time. If someone would do this in order to prevent me from coming up with a specific idea which would lead me to start a company that would make me into a big competitor of his company, would he be able to succeed?
If my future business rival would travel back from 2030 to 2012 and successfully prevents me from getting the idea he would change history. However in the altered future there would be no reason to go back in time to prevent me from coming up with the idea which in effect would make me come up with the idea anyway. So it’s impossible to go back in time to prevent the thing that led to you going back in time in the first place.
However, this leads to the following question: Imagine my competitor would indeed travel back from 2030 to 2012 to try to prevent me from coming up with the idea for company-X. Whatever he tries, the result will be the same, but not knowing this he tries anyway. He could do this by trying to get me to come up with a different kind of idea or project in the hope I will focus my time and energy on that, like writing a book about positive laziness. However, writing this book could be very the thing that causes me to come up with the idea for company-x. In this case my competitor has made me come up with the idea he tried to avoid me to get by creating the perfect circumstances.
This inevitably leads to the following question: Did my competitor travel back in time to prevent me from coming up with the idea for company-x, which I would have come up with anyway, or did I came up with the idea for company-x because someone traveled back in time to try to prevent me from coming up with it? Did my competitor travel back in time to prevent me from getting the idea I got because of his failed attempt to stop me? Did the time-traveling competitor try to prevent that which was caused by the time travel itself, or would I have gotten the idea anyway?
If we don’t know the answer to this question, how could we ever know if we come up with certain ideas because someone in the future is unintentionally influencing us, or that we come up with those ideas ourselves. How do you know your life isn’t unknowingly influenced by the future?