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Destiny Thwarted

Banes at 12:00AM, Dec. 14, 2023

I was just watching a commentary on The Empire Strikes Back, and the person had an interesting take on things. She was talking about the sequences where Luke sees a vision of his friends in pain, and Yoda tells him he's seeing the future. Will they die? It's unclear: “Always in motion is the future,” Yoda says (one of many incredible lines from that movie).

The commentator said that fate was unclear because of Lando. He's the old friend of Han Solo who betrayed the heroes to the Empire. Granted, Lando did not have much of a choice there. Anyway, Lando has a struggle of conscience when Darth Vader flexes his Empire-muscle and things get more and more bleak. Lando's decision has a ripple effect that changes everything.

Anyway, it was something I'd never considered about that movie - but made me think of multiple times when this kind of “Butterfly Effect” shows up in fiction.

Of course, there's the idea of “No Fate” in the Terminator movies (for me, it's only the first two movies that exist). The time loop that exists in the first movie becomes something more in Terminator 2, when Sarah Connor uses knowledge from the future to try and alter humanity's horrible fate.

In an episode of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, a group of troubled, genetically engineered geniuses analyze all information about the galactic war that's going on, and conclude without a doubt that surrendering to the Bad Guys is the only option - otherwise, billions upon billions will die. The geniuses do not get agreement from the “regular people” who have the power to influence this decision, so they take matters into their own hands, and force the surrender to happen. But they overlook the behavior of one humble person, who changes everything and stops the surrender from happening. The super-geniuses are forced to realize that even with their massive intellect, they could not foresee everything.

It's similar to a chapter of Isaac Asimov's Foundation series. The future of Galactic Civilization has been mapped out by a genius. The mathematician lays out the template for humanity over the centuries, and how to move forward and develop even after the mathematician has died. So the books span many many years, as society follows this roadmap. At one point, an unusual conqueror seems to be a threat but the powers that be are confident that their history will continue smoothly - it's all been mapped out by a genius. When they open the next “time capsule” left by the genius, he will tell them how to deal with this threat. But when the timed information is released, the genius just talks about some administrative thing or other, with no mention of the threat. This throws the entire ruling body into a panic attack and the government collapses (maybe only temporarily, but still!). I hope this one made some sense. I didn't want to spoil too much. Foundation is a pretty cool series of books!

As Doc Brown says in Back to the Future, “Your future hasn't been written yet. No one's has! So make it a good one!”

all the best to all y'all!

See you next time.


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dpat57 at 10:36AM, Dec. 15, 2023

Whenever I've made grand sweeping plans that will affect the future of countless generations of humankind, I've always made sure to wear a tin foil cap.

PaulEberhardt at 7:36AM, Dec. 14, 2023

"Things will turn out like they do, because that is what usually happens - almost always, in fact." to quote from The Hundred Year Old Man Who Climbed Out Of The Window And Disappeared. To be clear, this old guy doesn't talk of destiny, but rather of how most things other than explosions and liquor aren't really worth bothering, and that that's especially true for politics and big talk of fate. 😅 I usually groan when a story insists that the characters have to fulfil a destiny, and I'm always delighted when such a character realises they wasted their lives on a delusion. Some people still seem to think of destinies as necessary, but I'm rather glad the universe in general doesn't give a damn about what you think your destiny is. If life was predestined, nothing what you do would matter, because the outcome would always be the same. That's why I'm much happier with characters having the balls to step off the path that's been laid out for them, giving the positive message that you can.

marcorossi at 3:14AM, Dec. 14, 2023

I think Asimov's Hari Seldon is somewhat an allusion to Karl Marx (with the foundation going down being an allusion to the soviet system not working).

Genejoke at 2:13AM, Dec. 14, 2023

The way I see it seeing the future is like predicting the weather. Too many unknown variables to be accurate.

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