You’ve already made the choice

Pre-determination implies there is a plan for the Universe, a fixed route to get from the past to the future. In this type of Universe no accidents occur because they were all suposed to happen and although we think we are making choices we’re not, we’re just conforming to the plan.

In The Matrix amongst all the protagonist’s abilities he had the ability of foresight, this gift was only for events within the matrix and its machinery but not the real world. How does this apply to us?

In an enclosed environment if you know everything that effects an object and you know all the objects in an environment then you can predict the outcome. In an imaginary frictionless box you place a ball and give it a nudge the ball will bounce around and keep doing so. You can predict the bounces if you know what angle the ball was nudged at and thus route the path before it happens. Adding another ball just means that it’s more complicated, both paths have to be plot to the same duration and when they bounce the directions calculated. Its harder work but it is possible with enough time and thought.

The Matrix was a realtime occurring environment, so more events were occurring every second, but agents and thus the Matrix itself have limits so if you’ve got a faster processor (such as your brain) then you can run the same events faster and find the outcome sooner. However there are limitations in the Matrix and in the real world.

No-one can see beyond a choice they don’t understand, and I mean no-one.

The Oracle

What The Oracle is saying that you can only have foresight if you know what choices you (and the rest of the matrix) are going to make, if you don’t know then when running the ‘foresight version’ of the Matrix then you’ll reach an impasse and not know anything further. So for someone contending with the person that has the foresight the phrase “you’ve already made the choice, now you have to understand why you’ve made it” is quite scary because they know what you are going to do and why you did before you’ve had the choice present itself and searched all your past experiences for the answer.

Having a plan for the Universe means that it is possible to know what choices people will make before they make them so it is possible for us mortals to see into the future.

Universe and You

There are 2 types of Universe we can exist in, one where we only think we are making choices and one were we are actually making choices. The one where choice is an illusion means that there could be a map or plan to the Universe, the other anything that could happen might. If the Universe has a plan then we are obviously not privy to it, if anything can happen then what are the consequences?

A Plain Past, Present, Future Timeline
A simple timeline with us in the middle in the present.

From our perspective every action or choice will spawn a different universe, over the space of a few seconds the changes will be negligible, but over say 100 years they could be huge, for instance if a regiment of WWII soldiers went left instead of right perhaps we might have lost the war and be in German occupied Britain.

This would mean from this second onwards the timeline would look like this:

A Timeline with the line splitting infinitely from present to future
The choices be make mean that the future is no set, "There is no fate but what we make for ourselves

However if someone looks back from the future then the present looks just like our past. The reason is only 1 of the paths diverging from our present ends in the future when the observer is from. So ‘if’ time travel is possible then the future boy in the present could only get back to the future where he came from if everything happens just as it did for his past.

A Timeline with a route of possibilities from present to future
With there being so many possible futures it can be hard to get back to the one you originated from.

In a pre-determined Universe no matter when you go you can always get back when you came from. Thus it is a much simpler Universe to live in however since when has the Universe been simple?

We’ll be exploring a variety of problems based on these premises in some upcoming blog posts.

Film Review: A Sound of Thunder

A Sound of Thunder Butterfly on a dark background Movie Poster

Synopsis: In the future the ability to travel through time has been mastered and a new branch of the Government created to regulate the company “Time Safari” that uses this technology to travel to the Cretaceous period and take down an allosaurus 5 minutes before it dies. There are 3 rules: Don’t change anything in the past; don’t leave anything behind; and most important, don’t bring anything back…..

At the conclusion of this film I was left with thinking how unrepresentative the title of this film is, okay at a stretch you could associate the Dinosaurs foot-steps with the thunderous pound oh so brilliantly demonstrated in Jurassic Park, but as I say this is a stretch.

That being said there are many good points to this film, one of which is the post-modern environments the characters are placed in, the detail is comprehensive and the variety of extra elements such as the broad array of automobiles driving up and down the street. However when something affects the environment such as the pavement collapsing the street apparently has no depth and the illusion shattered (pun intended).

Edward Burns remains austere for the entirety of the film, perhaps its his guise for portraying the severity of the storyline or perhaps its something for more amateur… Ben Kingsley delivers a sturdy performance demonstrating that he’s always on his ‘A’ game even if the highest prospects of the film are sub-terrainian.

Reading further on this film and finds it was originally scheduled for realise in 2003 and only just made it to DVD now because the original production company went bankrupt, still you have to be amazed at the graphics quality in comparison to the big budget movies like Star Wars and The Lord of the Rings Trilogy that came out that year and they must’ve had at least 10 times the amount on CG imagery.

The premise is promising, reminiscent of Thrill Seekers, a low budget 90s film, also about the pitfalls of time travel, predictably even when rules are set by ourselves for the benefit of all humanity someone has to take a shortcut because their egomania deludes them into thinking they are above causality.

Certainly a blockbuster if a some post-production financial aid came through sooner or a some thorough dialogue adjustments made but sadly time travel doesn’t exist and we will never know. There are better films to spend your £3 rental on, ranking this one somewhere close to the top of the sucky film pile.

Rating: 48%