in bullet points, because i get too fucking long-winded otherwise
history (in the sense of ‘the structure of outer time’) can, provably, be changed.
this much is obvious from the beginning, given how much the dr.who straight fucks the natural progression of history by showing up at the worst of moments and starting a revolution or stopping some war before it occurs or maybe just blowing up a couple average-sized planetary bodies
they do this constantly. just because the world is better afterwards doesn’t mean history hasn’t changed
notably, however, they only appear to do it so freely on other planets; they are far more touchy about earth’s history, and it turns out for good reason.
as of Head of State, while history was set-up and structured by Gallifrey, these machinations really make no difference to the larger Web of Time; it’s likely that, while the basic overarching shape is defined, and while there may be occasional anchor points (fixed points, perhaps?) that cannot be changed without bringing down history in its entirety, nobody really cares about the specifics
(why, then ‘you can’t change history, not one line?’, I hear you cry? I’m getting to it. pls.)
it follows that everything in between those theoretically fixed points (or, if they don’t exist, just everything in general) is changeable. and more than that.
there are time-travellers afoot, by now, in every corner of history; we can presume the vast majority have nothing to do with gallifrey, and instead travel by more primitive vortex-manipulation means, but they are everywhere
and we all know the butterfly effect; if there’s a time traveller around in your past, that means your past has just changed - maybe only very slightly, but memories make you who you are and if enough very slight changes happen, if enough time-travellers show up in the past, your very personality will begin to shift as well
here’s the thing, however: given the nature of inner and outer time, and also just time travel in general (discounting san dimas time because it’s a shitty model): all these time-travellers will be arriving at once, and all these changes will be happening at once, constantly and unrelentingly
to clarify, each time-traveller shows up at some distinct point in Inner Time, probably after each other, and they’ll be entering different points in history, but you are inside Outer Time and therefore incapable of experiencing the Inner Time distinction, so while the changes are technically happening one after the other it couldn’t matter less; from your perspective, they are all happening in simultaneity - a consequence of having two axes (axises? axii??) of time to exist in
also, you won’t actually notice yourself changing, because memories change right along with the history, but trust me; you are
we know, from the Book of the War among other sources, that a flux state in which every facet of your history and therefore your being changes at once is possible to achieve; what it fails to mention is that, functionally, we are all in such a state - every aspect of yourself is potentially changing at every moment
(practically, however, there is only so far we can change, because the overall structure has to stay intact, and that limits how far we can go somewhat - for example, no species that cannot survive in a gravitic environment would ever have evolved on earth, so no version of them exists. notably, the laws of physics are non-negotiable. mostly.)
if you’ll forgive me for the overused metaphor: we are all Shroedinger’s cat. alive and dead, happy and sad, here or there; at any given moment of Inner Time we could be anything and it’s impossible to tell which
until someone opens the box.
and the only being possibly equipped to do so would have to be one outside this constant flux of history - hailing from Inner Time - which is to say, of course, the Time Lords.
and here’s the thing: while Inner Time might, on rare occasions, be travelled through (it would quite definitely be breaking the law, but whether ‘the law’ in this instance means some ancient regulation stored in the Matrix or the laws of physics is arguable, and considering this is Gallifrey the two are almost the same anyway) it cannot be changed
if it could (among other things) the dr.who could have simply gone back and stopped the War ever beginning
yeah yeah i know this doesn’t always hold true but a) both river song and civitata are timeships and probably exempt from inner time anyway
(river is half timeship not half time lord meet me in the fucking pit)
and b) look i don’t know either but this makes more sense than any other model
once you meet a Time Lord, you become part of their history. or because inner time doesn’t have a history in that sense, you are remembered. you, the current version of you, the random you they happened upon, are now in the memory of a Time Lord - and memories make us who we are.
(and if it’s a non-renegade Time Lord, you’d be stored in the Matrix too, or maybe you were already, the Matrix is more than a little confusing)
(no okay fine more on that: the Matrix is built in Inner Time, and while it probably isn’t sentient enough to count as a conscious observer, it was built on the minds of dead Time Lords who inarguably were and possibly still are)
(this means, in all likelihood, that being stored by the Matrix has the exact same effect as meeting a Time Lord - probably it’s the Matrix that keeps the general shape of history intact, that first coastline that later was echoed in all the other, subtly different fractals - see Head of State again - and keeps any otherwise unrelated fixed points intact)
(this has some Implications but let’s stick to the topic for now)
so if you were to change further you would, however subtly, change the Gallifreyan. and they’re a being of Inner Time. they cannot be changed. consequently, you can no longer be changed either - or at least, not the aspects of you that they’d remember.
simply by coming into contact with a Time Lord, you have now been certainified; unlike all the other versions of you, unlike all the other, still flux-state people and planets yet untouched by Gallifrey, you are certain.
you are real.
(this applies equally, of course, to any experience; it doesn’t have to be physical seeing for it to work. if some random gallifreyan reads of your death tomorrow in a newspaper then you die tomorrow. no more room for change.)
well, or the newspaper has to be misprinted, or actually both, until proven otherwise, but that’s all besides the point
[colonel voice] look just trust me it makes sense i swear
hence: nothing is truly real (or at least not consistently so) unless a Time Lord was there to see it.
as for why the doctor’s so touchy about planet earth: they’ve been all over earth’s history, and anything they’ve seen or heard or experienced is now cemented in time, so if changes even a little it would change them and therefore fuck up inner time
actually by the way this may be the reason earth is so weirdly important to the spiral politic despite being so irrelevant: it’s tied into the dr.who’s timeline so deeply that if you fuck it up you fuck them up, and by connection probably gallifrey in general
or you can go the boring route and make something up about a second caldera but i don’t approve of it
also: shit like angels of manhattan, with things being set in stone as soon as they’re in the book? that’s inner time at work, not outer; same with the silencio fixed point etc.
more on that next post. maybe. probably.
this brings the number of time travel models that hold true in dr.who simultaneously up to… what, five? outer time is somehow eternalism and whatever you call the dynamic model simultaneously, the multiverse is already a thing, inner time is presumably possibilism (ehhhh… depends on whether you think free will is a thing i guess), and there’s echoes of the spiral model in the whole ‘fractals’ idea
no groundhog day yet though!! well, not consistently anyway. i think. i hope.
the great thing about this is of course that now there is no way that dr.who can fuck up its own physics model by bringing a different one in, because it’s already got both of them
all your physics model are belong to us
please please somebody let me yell @ them about how this intersects with the dr.who 3-d (alterwards, parawards, otherwards) multiverse model
or the implications of this and how they relate to pythian willpower-physics and also why this proves that time lords can change reality by hallucinating really loudly