If the time machine actually existed, how could we use it for improving the quality of the present life?

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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Part of Wells' genius is to suggest that the only way a time machine would be meaningful is if we can find ways to improve the quality of present life without it.  Essentially, Wells concludes that a time machine cannot take the place of what we need to do now, in the present tense.  The time machine is shown to be rather useless 800,000 years in the future.  The Time Traveller leaves an England where class antagonisms were present and where economic inequality ran rampant.  When he is projected into the future, the time traveller recognizes that this condition has not changed.  There is still a condition of economic and social inequality that exists between the Eloi and the Morlocks.  Science has not been able to do in the future what it failed to do in the present.  Thus, the quality of the present life becomes the most important element in hoping to remedy the future.

It is in this point where Wells is his most persuasive.  Scientific endeavors of the 19th Century were rooted in making the present life easier and vital to improving the quality of the present life.  In much the same way, Wells' narrative with the time machine concludes that technology must be geared to improving the quality of the present life.  Wells sugests that the time machine is only worthwhile if technology can improve the quality of present life.  Only from this point can a time machine actually be effective.  In this, Wells is making a clear case that the desire to project well into the future starts with the present tense, and improving the quality of the present life before anything else.


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