– Are time travelers really real?
– Let’s talk about that. ♪ (theme music) ♪ – Good Mythical Morning!
– Today is October 21st, 2015, the infamous destination day
for Marty McFly and Doc Brown in – Back to the Future Part II.
– Mm! Now, that movie was released in 1989, so
their 26-year leap into the future is now – our present.
– Whoa! And they delivered on a number of
predictions including hoverboards, thumb print payment, drone cameras,
video calling, and the wild popularity of – PewDiePie.
– Oh ho! That’s not true. So, in the spirit of Marty McFly, the
DeLorean, and the Flux Capacitor, we’re gonna be talking about some real
life time travelers! Now, you may remember last year we did an episode called
“4 Cases of Time Travel.” – I do.
– Well, it turns out there are so many amazing cases and claims about time travel
that that’s not enough to cover it! So we did a little boopity-boop-boop-
badoop-boop-boop research and we got – some more for you.
– Lemme hit you with this…open cockpit – biplane pilot from 1935,
– Wow, that’s a mouthful. Sir Robert Victor Goddard, a pilot for the
British Royal Air Force. When you got “Sir” in front of your name and you say
you’ve traveled in time, listen. – Listen to that guy.
– ‘Cause that means he’s like a knight, right? He’s been knighted.
If you’re a “Sir,” right? Well, he was flying during the day,
and it was a round trip flight. – Yep, the best.
– And he’s going to Edinburgh and he looks down on his way and he sees the
abandoned airfield in Drem, Scotland. – You’ve heard of it.
– There it is, yeah. Everybody has. Nothing out of the ordinary here, you
know? Dilapidated tarmac, four hangars in disrepair, pastures with some cows… but
then, on his way back on the round trip, coming back through, he encounters some
problems. He enters a downward spiral, almost dies, okay? But then he recovers
and he finds himself flying in these strange yellow clouds,
and then the clouds– You sure they weren’t yellow puddles
on the inside of the cockpit? (chuckles) Could’ve been. And the clouds
part and he looks down and lo and behold, there is the same Drem Airfield
in Scotland, but now– – (dramatically) In the future!
– It’s totally operational and renovated. It looks good as new. There are four
planes down there painted yellow. Now, we all know that back then the RAF
planes were not painted yellow. – Oh yeah. Who would’ve thought of that?
– There was one monoplane down there which was unlike anything in the Royal Air
Force in 1935. The mechanics’ overalls… you know, they were all working and
bustling down there– they were all wearing blue overalls. You know they don’t
wear blue overalls back then! – This guy’s got good vision.
– They wear what? What color do they – wear back then, Rhett?
– I dunno. – (whispers) Brown.
– Brown! Brown! That’s right. Made it safely back,
tells his friends, they don’t believe him. And then, four years later, 1939, guess
what happened. They did reopen Drem Airfield, and what color did they
paint the training planes? – Yellow.
– Yellow! And they had one monoplane called “The Magister” just like the one he
witnessed, was added to the fleet. And the mechanics’ overalls were
changed to what color, Rhett? – Blue.
– Blue! Was he on the planning committee
for the new Air Force base? – (laughs)
– I mean, there’s a way to confirm that your prediction comes true, just be on
the board of directors. Do you know that – he wasn’t?
– I don’t know. – And maybe he just has insight–
– He was a “Sir.” into aviation fashion. I mean, I could
totally see that going from brown to blue. – He wrote a book!
– Seems innovative. In 1975, called “The Flight Towards
Reality.” That’s good enough for me. I’m gonna read that! Okay, so that’s
his story. I’ve got another story. – A little more recent.
– Top that. Andrew Basiago. This guy’s a lawyer with
five degrees. He’s also a writer and a member of Mensa. He also happens
to be the first child to teleport! – Okay.
– Through time. – Smart lawyer.
– Okay. This guy has gone on Coast to Coast AM, this AM radio
show that’s absolutely amazing. And they don’t just let
anyone on that show. – No, they don’t.
– (Rhett and crew laugh) And he’s told this entire story,
so these are some tidbits from the story. – Okay.
– So, he claims that back in 1968 when he was a boy, he was part of something called
“Project Pegasus,” which is a supposed classified exploration of time travel
and teleportation project sanctioned – by the US government.
– So they would send kids on time travel – excursions?
– Yeah! Yeah, because, you know, I guess the time machines are small.
You gotta put youngsters in there. 140 of ’em supposedly involved in this.
He claims, among a number of things, to have gone back to 1 million BC to
check out the dinosaurs, where he was almost eaten alive. Either he was
misquoted or… 1 million BC is not far enough for the dinosaurs. You gotta go–
remember, like 65 million years is when – they went extinct, so…
– Well, he was a kid. – Maybe he got his math mixed up.
– Maybe. He went to 2045 to pick up some microfilm.
That’s in the future. Can’t wait to see what that is! Microfilm. He’s also said
that he traveled back and forth to Mars as part of the military’s plan to
establish an American presence on the Red Planet, and, for one of those
trips, he was accompanied by none other than President Barack Obama, who, at
that time, was going by the name – “Barry Sotoro.”
– And going through puberty? I mean, what are these, middle
schoolers traveling around Mars? I think it said that Barack was a teenager
at the time, which 1968… doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to me, but… okay,
anyway. As if that wasn’t believable, he says that because of his good
performance in these duties, – Okay.
– he was given the opportunity on November 19, 1863, to go back and see
Lincoln deliver the Gettysburg Address. And there’s photographic
evidence, everybody! – Bring it on!
– Here’s the photo. This is what Andrew says, quote, “I am the boy standing in
the center of the image looking to his right. My shoes were lost in the transit
through the Quantum Plenum that took me from the plasma confinement chamber.
A cobbler–” that’s a shoemaker, not a peach cobbler that you would enjoy–
“by the name of John Lawrence Burns furnished me with a pair of men’s street
shoes and a Union winter parka. In this image, you can see how oversized the shoes
were. When I walked over to this location and stood in this manner to detract
attention from my shoes–” This is how I always stand when I wanna detract
attention from my big shoes. – (Link laughs)
– (Rhett) I just kinda look to the right and point both of ’em
in the same direction. – (laughs)
– “Lincoln had not yet arrived and I only stood in this position for several minutes
before the quantum field effect produced by the plasma confinement chamber ended
and I found myself back in the Time Lab in New Jersey!” So he didn’t get to see the
Gettysburg Address! What a bummer! – But he got some sweet new kicks!
– Yeah he did. – (crew laughs)
– A little oversized, but you know, you can just stand sideways
and nobody’ll notice. – So the proof is right there!
– So, this is photographic evidence. – Proof is in the shoes.
– And this guy’s made quite a stir – on the radio circuit, Link!
– Has he, now? He has. So there’s that.
You got another one? Well, is there any other pictures of
the shoes? Because I’m really into that. Nope, but I could do, like,
a CSI zoom-in on ’em though. On November 2nd, in the year 2000, a user
by the name of “Timetravel_0” began a thread on the Time Travel Institute
Forum’s web site and claimed that he was – from the year 2036.
– Mmhm. And he was like, “I’ll answer
any questions you got.” – (laughs) Here I am at the forum.
– I’m a time traveler and here are my – office hours. Um, so–
– This is the place to go if you come back from the future, though.
The Time Travel Institute forums. – Right.
– I mean… don’t go to the press. Quickly, some of the things you gather
are: he was an American soldier from the year 2036 based in Hillsboro County,
Florida, and his name was John Titor. He started traveling in time as part of
an undercover secret government project where he had to return to the year 1975
and retrieve an IBM 5100 computer – Of course!
– and bring it back to 2036. But instead of just going back to the future, he
stopped in the year 2000 for, quote– Hold on. Why was he getting a computer
from 1975 to solve a problem in the future? To debug the Unix Year
2038 problem, which is– – Oh! Oh, okay. Continue.
– (Rhett and crew laugh) – It’s like Y2K but in 2038.
– Yeah, gotta have those 1975 computers. Instead of going back to the future, he
stopped in the year 2000 for, quote, – “some personal reasons.”
– That was a good year! As he’s answering all these questions in
the forum, he’s giving all types of details. You can read all this stuff.
It’s really fascinating. He explained time travel, he said he travels using a
Displacement Unit that was made by General Electric. He’s very forthright.
He scanned user manuals. – He had a brand integration in his story.
– (laughs) – GE!
– (both laugh) Yeah. And he showed pictures of equipment
and he had taken those photos with – Polaroid cameras.
– Yeah. He’s into retro stuff. – (laughs)
– He goes back to 1975, he only takes – Polaroids… I like this guy.
– So, the situation is, you know, if in 2036, this guy was in the military,
then, if you look at the range of time, – well, right now in 2015–
– He’s alive right now. ‘Cause they’re not gonna send, like, an 18-year-old
on this mission. Well, if they did, he could be about to be
born, or he could be in grade school. – No, Link, he’s alive.
– Most likely. You can’t be but at least 30 years old to
go on a mission like this, so 30 years old in 2036, he’s like 9 years old
right now. This is a 9-year-old! John! – And he’s going to be a time traveler.
– Well, we should have him on the show. – Right. Or his mom. Or both.
– Or both! You can both come. If you don’t travel by yourself,
come with your mom. I don’t care. Now, his mom went on Coast to Coast
and, speaking through a lawyer, because she actually wouldn’t talk, the lawyer
was trying to support her case of being John’s mother, and that didn’t really
amount to much. But I think we can get to the bottom of it, especially,
John, if you reach out to us. Bring your Polaroids, bring your mom, and
bring a 1975 computer. We’ve got a NASCAR – computer we can trade.
– John predicted that a world war in 2015 – would kill 3 billion people, so…
– Oh, there’s still some time left. There’s some other predictions I can
go through in Good Mythical More, but for now, I’m pretty excited
about the cases for time travel! – (laughs)
– Let us know what you think in the – comments.
– Thanks for liking and commenting and – subscribing.
– You know what time it is. – Hi, I’m Avery.
– Hi, I’m Shea. – Hi, I’m Sophie.
– Hi, I’m Liv. Hi, I’m Ava, and it’s my birthday. (all) And it’s time to spin the
Wheel of Mythicality! Woooooo! Today is the last day that you can get
the hoverboard shirt! You have to act – (both) now!
– to get that shirt, people! – (Rhett) RhettandLink.com/store.
– Click through to Good Mythical More. We are gonna play Guess that
Celebrity Time Traveler Game. (high pitched) Ooh, it’s gonna be so fun! Rhett’s got some pictures
of celebrities in the past. (Rhett) Unisong about beepers. – ♪ (both) Beep, beep, beep, beep, beep ♪
– ♪ What’s that sound… ♪ – ♪ coming from my pocket ♪
– (both) ♪ it’s a beeper ♪ ♪ (both) Beep, beep, beep! What’s that
sound coming from my belt loop? ♪ – ♪ It’s my beeper! Beep, beep, beep ♪
– ♪ Let me take you to the future ♪ – ♪ But not really ♪
– (crew laughs) – ♪ (both) Take me to the future ♪
– ♪ Gonna meet John Teeter ♪ – (laughs)
– Titor. I said “Teeter.” [Captioned by Caitrin:
GMM Captioning Team]
It’s not an illustrious category to belong
to of course, but there are plenty of us at least. We worry about work, money, being left,
illness, disappointing, over-promising, madness and disgrace, just to start the list. We worry
in the early hours, we worry on holiday, we worry at parties and we worry all the time
while we’re trying to smile and seem normal to good people who depend on us. It can izeel
pretty unbearable, at moments. A standard approach when trying to assuage our blizzard
of worries is to look at each in turn and marshal sensible arguments against their probabilities.
But it can, at points, also be helpful not to look at the specifics of every worry and
instead to consider the overall position that worry has come to occupy in our lives. There
is a hugely fascinating sentence on the topic in an essay by the great English psychoanalyst
Donald Winnicott: ‘The catastrophe you fear will happen has in fact already happened.’
When we worry, we are naturally fixated on what will occur next: it’s the future, with
its boundless possibilities for horror, that is the natural arena for exploration by our
panicked thoughts. But in Winnicott’s unexpected thesis, something else is revealed: the disaster
that we fear is going to unfold is actually behind us. There is a paradox here: why do
we keep expecting something to happen that has already happened? Why don’t we better
distinguish past from present? Winnicott’s answer that it’s in the nature of traumatic
events from childhood not to be properly processed and as a result, like the dead who have not
been adequately buried and mourned, to start to haunt us indiscriminately in adulthood.
But they do not make themselves felt in straightforward For example, we may panic that we are about to be humiliated and shamed.
There are no particularly strong grounds for this in objective reality, but we are utterly
convinced nevertheless, because this is precisely what happened to us when we were tiny and
at the hands of a parent. Or we worry intensely that we are about to be abandoned in love
not because our partner is in any significant way disloyal, but because someone who once
looked after us at a very vulnerable point definitely was. A benefit of understanding
how much our worries owe to childhood is a new sense that it isn’t so much the future
we should be distressed about as the past. We can replace dread and apprehension with
something sadder yet ultimately more redemptive: mourning. We can feel profoundly sorry for
our younger selves as an alternative to being panicked for our future selves. Appreciating
the childhood legacy of worries, we also stand to realise that we can adapt and improve on
how we respond to what alarms us. If we have been well parented, we will have been bequeathed
a repertoire of good moves to latch on to when crises occur: we know how to reach out,
seek help, perhaps move away and only take as much responsibility as we are due. We have
access to a corridor through our troubles. But when we have lacked this kind of tutelage,
we remain in significant ways, in relation to our troubles, like the frightened children
we once were. We may be tall, drive a car and sound like a grown-up, but faced with
concerns, resort to our toolkit of childlike solutions: we overreact, we go silent, we
scream, we have a little sense of other options, we feel extremely limited in our powers of
protest and agency, we lose all perspective. To which it is appropriate, and in no way
patronising, to remind ourselves of what can – in our deeper psychological selves – still
be an entirely implausible thought: that we are now adults. In other words, in response
to the kinds of terror we knew so well at the age of four or eight, we don’t have
to be either as afraid or as powerless as we were. We can mount a direct protest, we
can make an eloquent case for ourselves, we can complain and defend our position, we can
rebuild our lives in a new way elsewhere. There are two ways to mitigate risk: to try
to remove all risk from the world. Or to work on one’s attitude to risk. Knowing that
many of our fears have childhood antecedents as do our responses to them can free us to
imagine that history won’t have to repeat itself exactly. Adult life doesn’t have
to be as terrifying as our childhoods once were and our responses to our fears can have
some of the greater vigour and confidence that is the natural privilege of grown-ups.
We’ll still be worried a substantial portion of the time, but perhaps with a little less
fragility and fewer burning convictions of total upcoming catastrophe. Thank you for
commenting, liking and subscribing. We also offer, books, games, homeware and therapy
sessions. To find out more, follow the link on your screen now.
For most of human history, what we did for
a living was decided for us by our families. We would either directly copy what our parents
did, or else we would reverentially accept their suggestions for what we might do. Only
for around the last 200 years have we been choosing jobs for ourselves – and we’re
still at the dawn of learning some of the complexities involved. On the surface, most
families claim to have no interest in their children doing any job in particular. The
standard line is that they simply want us to be happy. But we are not as free as this
sounds. We are always hemmed in by what can be termed ‘family work scripts’, scripts
that guide us – often very subtly but also very heavily – towards certain occupations
and away from others. Part of properly growing up – which may sometimes happen only in
one’s 50s – involves learning to find a way round the scripts we’ve been handed.
At the most benign level, our family work scripts are the result of what our families
understand of the working world. Every family has a range of occupations that it grasps,
because someone has practiced them and in the process brought them within the imaginative
range of other family members. Yet it isn’t just a case that our families might not know
about certain jobs and so cut us off from them. They might also be positively hostile
or suspicious of other jobs. We’re liable to have received many little messages indicating
that certain careers are inferior – and therefore beneath us, dangerous, phoney or
not quite right for our sort of station in life. Whatever lip service might be paid to
gender equality, families are also highly talented at sending out covert messages about
what a ‘real’ man or a ‘real’ woman should honourably do. Yet more darkly, families
may say that they want us to succeed, but would be highly threatened if we did so. A
choice we make might remind someone of one of their failed ambitions. Our success might
make them feel like a failure. We might try to sabotage our chances of winning so as not
to leave a loved one feeling crushed. Often without realising it, we are being heavily
controlled by our families. Controlled not by harsh words but by something far more poignant
and yet far harder to extricate ourselves from: by our ongoing desire to be a good child,
to please those who brought us into this world, by love. Love can control us as much as force
or the law ever did. We are liable to try to be good children not just because we feel
love but because we fear losing love, because we live in dread of being cast out if we were
to dare to what we really want. But here is the good news for timid good children. Parents
very rarely disown their progeny. It certainly seems they might in our imaginations forged
in childhood. But the adult reality is that families are extremely good at threatening
to break apart, but then forgiving one another, and accommodating the most extraordinary challenges
and tests. We can’t know all families, but we can guess that almost anyone could do a
lot more than they think, a lot more that might be a bit ‘bad’ in the eyes of the
elders, and still be forgiven. We owe our parents respect and kindness. We do not owe
them our lives. We should dare, when the pressure has become unbearable, to leave their script
aside. At the School of Life we are constantly developing new products to help us develop emotional intelligence. To learn more, follow the link on your screen now.
Every human worries on occasion, but for some
of us, the suffering is on a quite different and more life-destroying scale: we are, without
wishing to be ungrateful or absurd, more or less permanently anxious. What makes matters
so hard for us, the anxious, is that we are unable to maintain a distinction between what
objectively deserves terror and what automatically and unthinkingly provokes terror. The quintessential
calming question – ‘Is there actually anything to be scared of here?’ – can’t
even enter consciousness: there’s no sense that a benign response could even be possible.
Easily terrified people aren’t stupid; they may even be among the brightest. It is just
that somewhere in their history, the mental equipment designed to distinguish logically
between relative dangers has been destroyed. They have – somewhere along the line – received
such a very big fright that pretty much everything has now grown frightening. Every slightly
daunting challenge becomes a harbinger of the end; there are no more gradations. The
party where one knows no one, the speech to delegates, the tricky conversation at work…
these put the whole of existence into question. Pretty much every day is a crisis. Let’s
go in for a metaphor. Imagine that at a formative moment, when the anxious would have been profoundly
unprepared and without the resources to cope, they had an encounter with a bear. The bear
was beyond terrifying. It raged, it stamped, it crushed. It threatened to destroy everything:
it was incomprehensibly mind-defyingly awful. As a result, the anxious person’s inner
alarm jammed into the on-position and has stayed stuck there ever since. There is no
use casually telling this person that there aren’t any bears around at the moment or
that this isn’t the season or that most bears are kind or that campers rarely encounter
them: that’s easy for you to say that, you who was never woken up with a giant grizzly
staring at you with incisors showing and giant paws clasped open for the kill. The result
of this bear encounter is an unconscious commitment to catastrophic generalisation; the anxious
fear all bears but also all dogs, rabbits, mice and squirrels, and all campsites and
all sunny days, and even associated things, like trees rustling in the wind, or prairie
grass, or the smell of coffee that was being made shortly before the bear showed up. The
anxious can’t do logical distinctions: they can’t arrange threats into separate boxes.
To start to dig ourselves out of the quicksand of worry, we – the anxious – need to do
something that is likely to feel very artificial and probably rather patronising too. We need
to learn – on occasion – to distrust our senses completely. These senses, that are
mostly terrific guides to life, have to be seen for what they also are: profoundly unreliable
instruments, capable of throwing out faulty readings and destroying our lives. We need
to erect a firm distinction between feelings and reality; to grasp that an impression is
not a prognosis; and a fear is not a fact. One side of the mind has to treat the other
with a robust kindly scepticism: I know you’re sure there is a bear out there (at that party,
in that newspaper article, in that office meeting). But is there one really? Really
really? Emotion will be screaming yes like one’s life depends on it. But we’ve been
here before and we need – with infinite forbearance – to let the screaming go on
a little – and ignore it entirely. The cure lies in watching the panic unfold and in refusing
to get involved in its seeming certainties. We need to be like a pilot of a sophisticated
craft coming into land in deep fog on autopilot: their senses may tell them that a dreadful
collision is imminent, their reason knows that the sums have been done correctly and
that a smooth landing is, despite the darkness and the awful vibrations, definitely about
to unfold. To get better, which really means, to stop dreading bears everywhere, we need
to spend more time thinking about the specific bear that we once saw. The impulse is to focus
always on the fear of the future. But we need instead to direct our minds back to the past
– and revisit the damaging scenes with compassion and in kindly company. A consequence of not
knowing the details of what once scared us is a fear of everything into the future. What
sort of bear was it, what did it to us, how did we feel? We need to relocalise and repatriate
the bear, to get to know it as a spectre that happened at one point in one place, so that
it can stop haunting us everywhere for all time. That we were once very scared is our
historical tragedy; the challenge henceforth is to stop giving ourselves ever new reasons
to ruin the rest of our lives with fear. We can learn the skill of being calm. Not through special tea’s or slow breathing but through thinking. Our book guides us through that process. Click to find out more.
Without us perhaps quite noticing, much of
what we place our hopes in will be ready for us in a very a long time indeed, in months
or even decades from now (if ever): the successful completion of a novel, a sufficient sum of
money to buy a house or begin a new career, the discovery of a suitable partner, a move
to another country. In the list of our most intensely-felt hopes, few entries stand to
come to fruition this season or next, let alone by tonight. But occasionally, life places us in a situation
where our normal long-range hopeful way of thinking grows impossible. You’ve had a
car accident; a very bad one. For weeks, it seemed like you might not make it at all,
now you’re out of a coma and back home, but you still have multiple broken bones,
serious bruises and constant migraines. It’s unclear from here when you’ll be going back
to work – or whether you ever will. When someone asks how things are, one answer seem to fit
above all: we’re taking it one day at a time. Or imagine that a person is 89, mentally agile
but very slow on their feet and often in pain. They had a fall last month and their left
knee is badly arthritic. Yesterday they did some gardening. Today they may go to the shops
for the first time in a while. You ask their carer how they are: we’re taking it one
day at a time. Or you’re a new parent. It was a very difficult
birth, the baby had jaundice and required a blood transfusion – and now, finally, mother
and child are home. The baby cries a lot in the night and has to take some medicines that
aggravate the stomach, but last night was good enough and hopefully today, if the weather
holds, there’s a chance of taking a trip to the park, to see the daffodils. How is
it all going? We’re taking it one day at a time. These may be extreme scenarios and a natural
impulse is to hope that we will never encounter them – but they contain valuable teachings
for anyone with a tendency to ignore their own advantages, that is, for all of us. One-day-at-a-time-thinking
reminds us that, in many cases, our greatest enemy is that otherwise critical nectar: hope
and the perplexing emotion it tends to bring with it, impatience. By limiting our horizons
to tonight, we are girding ourselves for the long haul and remembering that an improvement
may best be achieved when we manage not to await it too ardently. Our most productive
mood may be a quiet melancholy, with which we can ward off the temptations of rage or
mania and fully imbibe the moderate steadfastness required to do fiddly things: write a book,
bring up a child, repair a marriage or work through a mental breakdown. Taking it day by day means reducing the degree
of control we expect to be able to bring to bear on the uncertain future. It means recognising
that we have no serious capacity to exercise our will on a span of years and should not
therefore disdain a chance to secure or one or two minor wins in the hours ahead of us.
We should – from a new perspective – count ourselves immensely grateful if, by nightfall,
there have been no further arguments and no more seizures, if the rain has let off and
we have found one or two interesting pages to read. As life as a whole grows more complicated,
we can remember to unclench and smile a little along the way, rather than jealously husbanding
our reserves of joy for a finale somewhere in the nebulous distance. Given the scale
of what we are up against, knowing that perfection may never occur, and that far worse may be
coming our way, we can stoop to accept with fresh gratitude a few of the minor gifts that
are already within our grasp. We might look with fresh energy at a cloud,
a duck, a butterfly or a flower. At twenty-two, we might scoff at the suggestion – for there
seem so many larger, grander things to hope for than these evanescent manifestations of
nature: romantic love, career fulfillment or political change. But with time, almost
all one’s more revolutionary aspirations tend to take a hit, perhaps a very large one.
One encounters some of the intractable problems of intimate relationships. One suffers the
gap between one’s professional hopes and the available realities. One has a chance
to observe how slowly and fitfully the world ever alters in a positive direction. One is
fully inducted to the extent of human wickedness and folly – and to one’s own eccentricity,
selfishness and madness. And so natural beauty may take on a different hue; no longer a petty
distraction from a mighty destiny, no longer an insult to ambition, but a genuine pleasure
amidst a litany of troubles, an invitation to bracket anxieties and keep self-criticism
at bay, a small resting place for hope in a sea of disappointment; a proper consolation
– for which one is finally ready, on an afternoon walk, to be appropriately grateful. Vincent Van Gogh was admitted to the Saint-Paul
mental asylum in Saint-Remy in southern France in May of 1889, having lost his mind and tried
to sever his ear. At the start of his stay, he mostly lay in bed in the dark. After a
few months, he grew a little stronger and was able to go out into the garden. And it
was here that he noticed, in a legendary act of concentrated aesthetic absorption, the
gnarled roots of a southern pine, the blossom on an apple tree, a caterpillar on its way
across a leaf and – most famously – the bloom of a succession of purple irises. In his hands
these became like the totemic symbols of a new religion oriented towards a celebration
of the transcendent beauty of the everyday. Vincent Van Gogh, Still Life: Vase with Irises
Against a Yellow Background May 1890 His Vase with Irises is no sentimental study
of a common flower: it is the work of a pivotal figure in Western culture struggling to make
it to the end of the day without doing himself in – and clinging on, very tightly indeed,
with the hands of a genius, to a reason to live. It’s normal enough to hold out for all that
we want. Why would we celebrate hobbling, when we wish to run? Why accept friendship,
when we crave passion? But if we reach the end of the day and no one has died, no further
limbs have broken, a few lines have been written and one or two encouraging and pleasant things
have been said, then that is already an achievement worthy of a place at the altar of sanity.
How natural and tempting to put one’s faith in the bountifulness of the years, but how
much wiser it might be be to bring all one’s faculties of appreciation and love to bear
on that most modest and most easily-dismissed of increments: the day already in hand. The School of Life is coming to New York from the 4th to the 6th of October for a three-day conference where you’ll have the chance to meet other like-minded individuals and embark on a journey of genuine self-discovery and self-transformation. We hope to see you there.
Hello I’m Emma from mmmEnglish! Have you ever made a plan with someone, but then realised that you
need to change the plan or cancel it? In English, you need to be careful about the
language that you use to make sure that you’re doing it politely. Now, there’s
lots of reasons why you would need to change your plans or cancel your plans
in English. Perhaps you genuinely can’t meet someone
because something more important or urgent has come up.
Perhaps you’ve double booked yourself – and that means that you’ve made two
appointments at the same time without realising it, so you need to cancel one.
And other times you might just be feeling lazy or you just don’t feel like
meeting them. But of course, you don’t want to offend someone by telling them
that! Cancelling plans can be a little uncomfortable, a little awkward. So in
this lesson I’m going to give you some useful expressions that will help you to
change or cancel your plans in English! Now, these expressions will be useful for
formal appointments that you’ve made, like, at the doctors or the dentists, with a
work client or a colleague, your child school principal or even a Skype lesson
with a new English teacher! But they can also be used informally as well, when
you’ve made plans to have a coffee with friends or meet a date for dinner or
even to cancel or change a meeting time with a new friend that you’ve met online.
So, the first thing you’ll need to do is “break the news” and this idiom means to
tell someone something – especially if it’s something that they’re not
expecting to hear or it’s bad news. To “break the news” start with something like
“I’m calling because…” or “The reason I need to speak to you is…” So if you’re at a professional office, for example, you could say “I need to cancel or change my
appointment.” If you’re talking to a colleague that you don’t know that well,
you could say “I won’t be able to attend the meeting on Thursday.” But with a
colleague that you do know well, you might say “I can’t make it to the meeting
on Thursday.” It’s a little more informal. And, with a friend you could say “I can’t
make it to dinner on Friday.” Now, these expressions are great if
you’re cancelling or rescheduling in a reasonable amount of time, you know, with
enough notice. But let’s be real, sometimes we aren’t as organised as we
want to be and we need to change or cancel an appointment without much
warning, right? Perhaps the meeting or the appointment is tomorrow or it’s even the
same day! So then, you really should include an apology. It’s polite to
include an apology any time that you change plans but if you do it at late
notice you must apologise and you can do that simply by adding an introduction to
your sentence. “I’m really sorry, but… I need to cancel.” “I’m so sorry for the late
notice, but… I need to cancel.” “My apologies, I need to cancel.” Now, that ‘s quite formal, that last example – best in an email or in a very formal situation. So, to “soften the
blow” and that idiom means to make a bad situation less serious.
To “soften the blow” you could add “I was really looking
forward to it!” Now this helps to reassure the person or tell them that you’re
upset that you can’t make it and that you still want to meet them at some
stage in the future. “I was really looking forward to dinner
on Thursday.” “We were really looking forward to meeting you!” “I was looking
forward to seeing your new office!” Okay, so you’ve broken the news, you’ve
cancelled your plan and you’ve apologised. So now, you need to explain
why you cancelled. It’s polite in any situation to offer a reason why you have
to cancel. But you might not want to explain all of the details, especially if
you don’t know the person well, it might be a personal reason or it could be
embarrassing! At times like this, you can use the expression “Something’s come up.”
“Something has come up.” Now, this is a good expression to cancel an appointment with
someone that you don’t know and most English native speakers will understand
this expression. They’ll understand that it’s not possible for you to attend the
meeting or the appointment and there is a reason but you don’t want to explain
why and that’s perfectly acceptable! Especially with formal appointments in a
professional context or with people that you don’t know well. “Something’s come up
and I need to reschedule.” It’s perfectly acceptable! But don’t use this expression
with friends or close colleagues because they might feel a little offended that
you don’t feel comfortable enough to explain why. Usually with friends, you can
be a little more honest, right? So if you don’t mind explaining why you had to
cancel or change the plans, you can simply explain why. “I was really looking
forward to dinner on Thursday, but I’m flying to Sydney on Wednesday night for
work.” “I’m really, really sorry. I’ve had such a busy week and I’ve double-booked
myself!” “I’ve been feeling under the weather all day. Is it okay if we postpone dinner until I’m feeling better?” So now the last thing
that you need to do is reschedule your appointment – to make another time. Since
you’re the one who’s cancelling or changing the plans, you should try to
reschedule the meeting by offering some suggestions. “Can we reschedule? I’m free
at 3 p.m. on Friday.” “Can we try for Tuesday instead?” It’s a little more
informal. Now these ones are better for appointments, more formal appointments. “Is
it possible to reschedule?” “Can I make a new appointment time?” So do you want to
see some examples of all of these elements together? “I’m so sorry, Sarah. I was looking forward to catching up on Friday, but my boss has asked me to work late, so I won’t be able to make it. Can
we reschedule to Monday?” “My apologies, but I can’t make our meeting this afternoon. Something’s come up. Are we able to reschedule to next week?” “Hi Farah! I’m
really looking forward to meeting you on Skype, but I have to apologise because I
need to cancel our meeting. I was confused by our time zone difference, so
I need to reschedule to later in the evening.
Is 7pm okay for you?” Well that’s it for this lesson, I hope that you’ve learned a few new useful expressions that can help you to cancel appointments or change meeting times in English. Make sure that you subscribe to the mmmEnglish channel right here so that you never miss a lesson! You can do that just by clicking that red button there. And don’t go anywhere just yet! There are lots and lots of other lessons here on the mmmEnglish channel,
like this one or this one. Thanks for watching and I’ll see you next lesson.
Bye for now!