Ethan Hawke is a “temporal agent” who’s mission it is to stop a mysterious bad guy known as the Fizzle Bomber. At the same time, though, he has to deal with a person known simply as John, an orphan all grown up with a very, very interesting personal story. By the end of the movie, all I could think about was the idea of what came first, the chicken or the egg, and the existential paradox that occurs if you get too wrapped up in that particular debate.
This is actually a good thing, believe it or not.
If you don’t like movies that make you think, skip this one. If, on the other hand, you are tired of movies that are nothing more than superficial fluff, this is a must see!
While every ounce of me really wants to go into tons and tons of detail about this movie, it really is one that you have to experience for yourself, so no spoilers today, boys and girls.
But, I am going to go traipsing down the mental path of whether or not predestination or fate or destiny, or whatever you want to call it, is a real thing.
I’ve said on here a time or three that I am one of those people who looks for signs. It came up once or twice when things fell apart the first time with the Boy, most notably after all was said and done and a song came on that was the same as the first night we met. A particular song, with a particular message, that at the time I wanted to be meaningful.
Maybe that’s not a great example. That particular example suggests that I made something that wasn’t a sign into one because I wanted it to be.
On the other hand, maybe that is a big part of it. Is fate a real thing? Or do we want to believe in it because we need to believe in something, and therefor we play it up to make ourselves feel better?
I know that for me, I still want to believe, and I think I’ve had some pretty strange experiences that lend themselves to believing in the idea of fate or some sort of spiritual influence on my life. For instance, I can think of a handful of times when I was considering getting intimate with someone and my body would just decide, “nope, not gonna happen.” My monthly would start early or late to coincide with my date with said person. Or vice versa, there has been a time or two when I wasn’t going to get intimate because I knew my monthly was due to start any time, and it was late (up to a week) to allow me to have some intimate time with a person.
Maybe my cycle just isn’t as regular as it should be, but it seems pretty odd to me that such a thing would happen more than once. I mean, seriously, my cycle being off once or twice I could say was coincidence, but there have been times probably with the last 4 guys I’ve spoken to that my cycle rearranged itself to either allow me to have a little fun or to keep me from making a huge mistake.
Fate? Maybe not. Sign from a higher power? Possibly, but you have to believe in said higher power first. Unless I’ve subconsciously learned how to stave off my period using willpower alone, then I’m going to accept that perhaps someone or something is watching out for me to keep me from getting too wrapped up in the wrong people or allowing me to be close to people that are meant to be in my life.
Admittedly that’s kind of a weird example. It happens to be on my mind at the moment because it happened just this past week.
I had thought I might have an opportunity to be with someone I’ve been close to before, and my body reacted by holding off on my monthly for a few days. As soon as it became obvious that it wasn’t going to happen, my hormones kicked in full force, with a ferocity and a flow I’ve rarely experienced before.
Other, less graphic examples would be things like a particular song coming on the radio every time I thought about a particular person. For instance, I had my Relationship Rewind mix playing (it started as a “get over the Boy” mix, but has evolved into a mix of both love songs and breakup songs that speak to me about different stages of relationships, and I actually really like most of the songs, so it’s my go to mix at the moment), and it was on shuffle, and every time I thought of a particular person in my life, “Hold On” by Wilson Phillips came on. Literally every time. To test it out, I even hit shuffle again while the song was playing and said the guy’s name out loud, and it came on again.
I have mixed feelings about what it means, since I’m not dating the guy at the moment, just curious about the what ifs. So, given the status of where things are at with he and I, I’m thinking it’s telling me the time’s not right, and to hold on, wait it out. On the other hand, since the song is generally believed to be about gaining the strength to get out of a bad situation, maybe it’s a warning to avoid the situation altogether.
Of course, I like the first interpretation better. But only time will tell with this one. (Not ready to disclose names and details and thus jinx it, in case I’m right about my interpretation.)
Of course, I assume that fate or destiny is more than just some spiritual thing trying to help me try to find my soulmate. That would be a particularly selfish way of looking at things. Makes as much sense as someone thanking God for helping them win the big (insert sport here) game. Some comedian (I want to say it was George Carlin but I’m not sure) said that it didn’t make sense because then does it mean God is against the other team? Good question.
Assuming God or a guardian angel or some other force is pushing me towards a particular life mate is similarly silly.
But, if life is, as the actual idea of predestination suggests, already set, then it is possible that I don’t have any choices, and I just happen to be more aware of the script than others. I am aware of the stage directions when I see things like signs. It’s like a little glimpse at the man behind the curtain.
I don’t know if I like that idea, though, that everything is pre-set and I don’t have a choice. For one thing, I make choices all the time. Is it an illusion that I make these choices? When I decide I want Tea instead of Coke or a hamburger instead of a salad, is that part of some great big divinely predestined plan?
I have always liked the idea that there are multiple paths all lined out, like the branches of a tree. Seems like I have talked about this before, but in case I haven’t, it’s the map theory. God has a map of all the choices you could possibly make and all the alternate paths that are thus created from that point, and while He may not know which path you will take, He can see all the paths.
A less religious version of this is the multiple dimensions or multiverse theory, where every decision you make is a separate reality that takes on a separate life of it’s own, creating multiple realities that coexist with our own. If memory serves, this is part of String theory. But I’m an English teacher, so don’t hold me to that.
I’m okay with this.
So, then the question is this: are these multiple realities created when we make a choice? Or are they preset? Infinite possibilities interwoven through the fabric of time. Then when we encounter deja vu, is it possible that is when two different realities collide because you and another (or several) versions of you have made the same decision?
This kind of reminds me of a quote that was told to me by a hitchhiker from California who stayed on my couch for a few weeks. His name, as he told it to me, was Rain, and he was hitchhiking across the country trying to reenact an experiment he had read about. He was the same age as me at the time, and a very spiritual guy. The whole thing was very Kwai Chang Caine of him…
In hindsight, the man could have killed me in my sleep and no one would have ever been the wiser. I lived way out of town and had no phone other than my cell (which 15 years ago was kind of a bad thing). But he did impart some wisdom, and he was very interesting. Although I never got that smell out of the couch…
He told me (and he said it was a Hindu idea) that everyone has a destiny. You can walk towards it, or you can fight against it, but you will eventually fulfill it. Given the idea of reincarnation that is inherent in Hindu culture, it may take more than one lifetime, but it’s nice to believe that we all have a purpose to strive towards.
For me, it makes sense that when I see signs, it is leading me towards that one ultimate destiny. Furthermore, if I accept that those multiple universes collide from time to time when I come to the same decision, then when I experience deja vu, I can accept it as a definitive sign that I’m working towards the right path.
That’s basically how I’ve been living my life. When things suddenly no longer feel right, or when the signs show up that it’s time to move on, I take a risk and start looking for the next sign to the next place or job or boyfriend. I also don’t accept something unless there are enough signs that it is a positive choice, or at least a necessary choice.
To bring it back to relationships for a second, it’s one of the reasons I get frustrated when guys assume I’m super involved in them and hooked before I am. I’m observing the signs, and sometimes I want to spend lots of time with them in order to see if the signs are there. Also to see if we’re compatible, but that’s a bit of the same thing. What they see as me being clingy is really an experiment. If the signs are there, I do go all in. I try not to do things halfway. And once I start doing things halfway, it’s basically over.
So I watch for signs. I look for deja vu, and listen for songs with meaning, and pay attention to my body and when it acts weird.
You don’t have to believe in it if you don’t want to, but it gives me comfort. And sometimes that’s enough.