Sunday, March 02, 2008

They *Hate* Paradox?!

Here's a question I posted recently on the Fuselage for writer Gregg Nations:


In recent podcasts, Damon and Carlton have gone out of their way to badmouth the notion of chronological paradox. Yet I counted at least three such paradoxes in The Constant. There were two predestination paradoxes -- i.e., Eloise the rat knowing her way around the maze before being taught the correct route, and Penny keeping her same phone number for eight years. There also was an ontological paradox -- i.e., the correct settings for Daniel's time machine having no discernible origin. Anyone curious to read more about the distinction might want to check out my post on the subject.

It seems to me that Damon and Carlton are using "paradox" to mean "changing the future." As the foregoing suggests, however, there are many chronological paradoxes that *don't* involve such changes. Sometimes, the paradox simply entails effects preceding their causes in time due to time travel, which seems to be the case on Lost. Could someone (you) please ask Damon and Carlton to stop throwing the baby out with the bathwater? I fear they're unintentionally leading viewers astray with their repeated rejection of all paradox, without exception...


PS: Keep up the good work!


DJ said...

Well, it kind of sounds to me like Desmond isn't changing anything with his consciousness-hopping. All that stuff already happened, we're just seeing how it happened now... if that makes any sense. In other words, nothing here is new. Desmond broke up with Penny not in some normal manner long ago, but because Ms Hawking made him do it. There was never any alternate timeline or manner in which it was done. That is how history was written.

Ya gotta listen to Daniel: "You can't change the future..."

Daniel got the device settings from Desmond in 1996, who got them from Daniel in 2004. Where did they originally come from? ...well, there. That's where they came from. Some guy showed up out of nowhere at Oxford one day and said, hey Daniel, I'm from the future, use these settings. It's a closed loop, it just doesn't seem to have a proper beginning. Paradox, yeah, but it works...

Interesting that this is a recurring them, though... only fools are enslaved by time and space. It's like Ben, through Room 23, was trying to impress that upon unwilling victims and whatnot. Somehow, some people are able to tap into this and move not only in the physical world, but along different points in time... a new dimensional travel. Or something like that.

Oh, and if you want a good cop-out excuse for why Desmond doesn't remember any of these things and why it all seems new to him, perhaps it's because when the 2004 Desmond's consciousness hijacked the 1996 one, ... well, 1996 doesn't remember any of it because it's displaced... things just happen, course correct, life goes on... eh? -shrug-

Capcom said...

Well thank you for asking them that Big!!! This is what I have been thinking, and also about so many viewers clinging to how TPTB also said that there can be no future changing either. In both instances there is wiggle room for deviation, or for occurances like you mention with the paradoxes, that are separate.

Be sure to let us know what Gregg answers back! :-)

Capcom said...

Oh, and very good points, DJ!

Synchromystic Librarian said...

"To be clear, Desmond's past was different before ''The Constant.'' Before his time-travel adventure, Desmond never met Faraday at Oxford, never got Penelope's digits. As a consequence of changing the past, Desmond's personal history has been ''course corrected'' by The Powers That Be, beginning from the moment he walked away from Penny's apartment. Lindelof says this interpretation is also correct. But here's a Big Question: since scoring Penelope's phone number, has Course-Corrected Desmond lived his life knowing that on Christmas Eve 2004, he MUST be on a freighter in the South Pacific in order to make a call to Penelope if he wants any chance of having a future with her? Lindelof says this is indeed a matter we should be mulling. Perhaps in the future, Lost will give us an episode that replays Desmond's backstory (getting the boat from Libby; killing Kelvin; meeting the castaways) from the point of view of this knowingness."

'Lost': A Desmond Fact-Check

i still smell a paradox