Saturday, June 04, 2005

Twelve Monkeys

In the movie Twelve Monkeys, the hero (Bruce Willis) faces a strange contortion of fate. He is sent from the future to investigate & prevent a deadly viral outbreak which killed a large part of the humanity. He comes back in time, and finds himself in a looney bin. Here, he shares with his lunatic genius fellow inmate (Brad Pitt) his secret: he is from the future. He is here to investigate the story of the twelve monkeys which were the source of a virus.

Brad Pitt hooks on to that idea. As the movie unrolls, Bruce Willis discovers that it was indeed this lunatic who went on to derive the virus from the monkeys and break it loose. The irony? He got that idea from Bruce Willis' character who traveled back in time.

Isn't this the irony of foreknowledge? Of preimagining? Of knowing things that will be?

Foreknowledge is troubling. Sometimes I feel like the writer who writes a detailed script in her head. It's strange to see that script being acted out in real life, as it often does, to a great degree of accuracy.

One, it gives a thick, black feeling of surging power. Second, it makes me weak in the face of my own knowledge. There must be a control. But where? Is this knowledge a picture that realizes itself? Or do we get images of what is bound to be?

Sometimes I am very afraid of saying things that I know will happen for the fear that I am the source for initiating that idea. It is one of those twisted enigmas of life that we all deal with at some level. It is better to remain on the safe side and share not the idea.

For it makes me afraid of its realization. I think.... ugh, I will not discuss what I just thought.



  1. Hey, I thought the Brad Pitt character had nothing to do with the outbreak! T'was this other guy all along. Regardless, great point about pre-destiny. Another example: Frank Herbert was obsessed with the binding nature of prophecy in Dune. His prophet Muad'dib retreats from the world rather than be bound by his prophecy.

    Isn't this all SF/metaphysical crap though? Do you seriously believe that you can affect the future by thought alone?

  2. Trying not to got into the space time continuum thing (or anti-time as Picard did in the last episode of Star Trek: TNG), I maintain that forewarned is forearmed. If I knew when I was to die, I'd plan my life and future and plan for the future of my children accordingly. It would be very helpful knowledge. Would I deal as practically with all future events, I just don't know. But, I do know that I, like a boy scout, like to "be prepared".

  3. Zia: Brad had everything to do with it, except he wouldn't have done anything were it not for the suggestions of Bruce Willis! And that's one of the tragedies and enigmas of fate.

    Running2Ks: I have seen your very interesting profile. And with all the running around needed with two young kids, I think yes, you could use some determinism to help you plan :).

  4. Agreed. Another interesting paradox was the young Bruce Willis witnessing and being tormented by his own death at the airport.

    I thought you might have heard of Cassandra. In Greek mythology, she was gifted with foresight by Apollo, using which she judged it best to reject his affections. Because of this, Apollo made it so that despite hergreat and very accurate gift of foresight, she would never be believed. That just popped into mind when I read this post, for some reason.

  5. Yah. I can identify with what you are saying. I keep shuttling between two ideas:
    1) Sometimes if I feel something is going to hapen, I feel if i tell people what i am thinking, the thing will probably not happen.

    2) Or probably if I tell it will happen, so I should not tell.

    I think i go thru phases, when I adopt one approach or the other.