So in my previous post I stated that my 2013 New Year’s Resolution was that I would learn to teleport. I still haven’t ruled out the possibility completely, but there are apparently a few ethical issues beyond accidentally turning one’s self into a fly that I hadn’t considered before.
The problem is that when an exact duplicate of a teleported object is created, then one of two things must happen. Either the original must be destroyed (sadly this has already been happening to countless innocent photons in physics labs and unless concerned citizens like you speak out, the atrocities will likely continue) or the original isn’t destroyed and instead exists simultaneously with the relocated duplicate. I don’t know about you, but I’m not sure either fate is exactly desirable.
But still, as I think back to the miserable day of travel that it takes to get from Portland and St. Louis by air (two flights, plus lay-over, plus navigating three airports with two bored, cranky, tired, always hungry kids who have to pee more than should be humanly possible and can’t manage to hold onto their own over-stuffed, toy-filled carry-ons for longer than ten minutes at a time, an inevitable mix-up at the car rental place, and a long, dark drive to our final destination) I still might be willing to give it a go. Unless there is a better option.
And it turns out that there just might be. The answer may lie in bi-location, or the appearance of a person in two locations at once. The
ability has been attributed to several Catholic saints, the most impressive being Padre Pio of Pietrelcina, Italy whose many unexplained appearances in multiple locations at the same time have been recorded by a large number of witnesses.
One story claims that during World War II, Padre Pio appeared in the air above the city of San Giovanni Rotondo, where he was serving at the time. The city was under eminent threat of bombing by British and American pilots, but the pilots claim to have observed a robed figure before them in the sky and all attempts to release the bombs failed. Later one of the men identified the robed figure as Padre Pio.
Padre Pio was said to have performed a similar bi-location into mid air as he guided another pilot’s injured air craft into a safe landing, though most recorded incidents of his bi-location are somewhat less dramatic. Typically the priest appeared to provide comfort and blessings at the deathbeds of many faithful Catholics often at great distances from his known location.
Though the stories of Padre Pio’s bi-location are numerous, they are also highly varied and in most cases not exactly verifiable. And it seems there are a few questions still to consider. For example, if I attend two Thanksgiving dinners in two different states at the exact same time, do I need bigger stretchy pants?
Padre Pio (having apparently never taken the turkey dinner test) said that the bi-locator “knows what he wants, knows where he goes, but he does not know if it’s the body or the mind that goes.” He also claimed that bi-location only occurs when “there is an urgency, a grave danger, a soul or body to save.”
As much as bi-location appeals to me (it would be handy with a 2000+ mile interstate move looming, and friends and loved ones on both ends), it is possible that my needs are not urgent enough to qualify. I think I still may give it a try (and maybe save a few innocent photons in the process) because even Padre Pio couldn’t help but notice the advantage his bi-location gave to him. When a fellow priest shared with him the unimaginable news that an airplane had made a non-stop flight between Rome and New York in only six hours, the Padre Pio smiled and answered, “Six hours! Good heavens, but that is a long time! When I go it takes me only a second.”