Friday, April 8, 2011

"Flashforward"

I watched and loved the ABC series, and just recently I finished reading the book. "Flashforward", by Robert J. Sawyer, is a book meant for SciFi lovers. And the ABC series had nothing to do with the book - except for the premise (that there was a global blackout in which people experienced a little over a minute of their futures) and the name of the scientist who alledgedly caused it: Lloyd Simcoe. Aside from that, it's like it's two completely different stories.

But that's not what I want to talk about. I also don't want to talk about how I understood little of the last 100 pages, due to the extremely detailed physics and quantum mechanics and blah blah blah; Sawyer could have been making up words for all I know, but still. I guess the whole SciFi thingy is just not for me. I also don't want to talk about how I spent two days reading a 300-page book that I didn't particularly like, just so that I could say (to myself, at least) that I read it. I remember informing my mother, about 15 years ago, that I was going to read The Perfume, by german author Patrick Süskind; she said "No". And not a "no" as in, "No, I can't believe it, how cool!", no. It was more of a "No, I'm pulling rank here: I'm your Mother and I forbid you to read that book" kinda no. When confronted with my questioning of her completely undendable decision, she said: "Human beings spend so little time reading, that when they do read, they must make sure it is a book worth reading, with a story that will, in some way or another, add something to their life". Clearly Das Parfum did not fit her strict definition of a worthwhile book. I get it. She had a point; she still has a point. And, today, I have to say that, although I am still not sure how I feel about her "forbidding" me to read something, anything, I should have taken her advice on "Flashforward". Man, what a bad book! But again, that's not what I want to talk about...

I want to talk about the possibility of the idea (or the idea of the possibility?) of being able to get a glimpse into the future.

I'm confused, I'll admit that upfront. I believe in Karma, which (loosely phrased) means that your past life determines your current life, and that all you get in this life is a direct result of your behaviour in your past life. Right? Which means, no matter how nice and giving and caring and awesome and altruistic and philanthropic and good and all you are, if you were bad in your past life, you will pay for it in this life. Which (again, loosely phrased) kinda means that your life is predetermined to work out in a certain way. Which means that "fate" and predestination really exist, and that you have no free will. Well, you do have free will in the sense that you can do all the good you want, but your free will cannot affect your future, because it's already predestined. And the whole idea of free will is that you can turn your life around by the choices you make.

Which brings me to the "confused" part, because I also believe in free will. But as I just said, you can't believe in free will and believe in Karma at the same time. If I am determined to suffer in this life because I was, I don't know, a mass murderer or something like that, in  my past life, then regardless of my good actions, I will still live a life of suffering. Right? But, if this life is the only life I get (which immediately deletes all possibility of a concept of Karma), and if I get to choose my path based on my actions, and if I'm able to realize I am making mistakes, and if I am able to fix them and correct my path and make of my life that which I want... well, that just seems awesome, right?

That's why I'm confused. On the one hand, having all the responsability left to the Old Me (in my past life) is just great; there are no bad choices, no mistakes that I make. Everything was already predetermined by the Old Me who screwed up majorly in the past life. Right? But, on the other hand, I hate the idea of not having control of my life, of not being my own Master and Commander, and of knowing that regardless of my efforts, I cannot change the course my life has taken.

Which brings me back to the point I wanted to discuss: If I was given the chance to decide whether I wanted a glimpse of the future or not, what would I choose? The characters in both the book and the TV series were "forced" into this, because it was actually an accident. But, what would I choose? I'd love to see that everything is all right in the future, but - well, what if it isn't? I love Honey, but what if the future showed me with someone other than Honey? Should I break up with him now because we're not going to be together in the future? (I dreamt about this already - we are in fact together in the future.) If the future showed me winning not a Literature Nobel Prize, but rather the Physics Nobel Prize, should I stop writing and start studying physics, because that's what the future said?

That's what's complicated about knowing the future: what's to stop you from changing your present to accomodate to the future? Or, even worse, what's to stop you from changing your present to try to change your future? That seriously did not work out for Oedipus. Why would it work for me?

I would want to say, "No, thanks" to the glimpse of the future thingy. But I know me, and I know that my curiosity is so great it kills me before the cat, so I'd say yes. And then - oh, gosh, then I'd go insane. The questions then become: how far along in the future? how long of the future? who's future?

If only an Oracle could tell me, "It's all going to be OK"... that really is all I need to hear. That really is all anyone needs to hear: that it's going to be OK.

But then again... if I could be shown the future, or if an Oracle came to me to tell me everything is all right, then that means my whole life has been previously written; that I am just a puppet, an actor playing a role... I'm not too sure I like that.

What would you say, if given the possibility to get a glimpse of the future in 6 months, or 21 years, for 2 minutes and 17 seconds?

1 comment:

  1. Heyyy you changed the layout and it's great!!! =D

    I also watched the serie and I think the writers could have done SO MUCH MORE with it. It has a terrific theme, but they screwed it up with the little details. But anyway...

    I would definetly take a look. And then I would also be insane wondering and wondering what to do. However, I would go even more insane if I had the chance and I said no, thanks...

    Like you, curiosity kills me even before it thinks of killing the cat!

    I would take it. And then... I would write about it ;)

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