If you’ve followed my blog for a while now, you probably know that I enjoy discussing philosophical topics.
I’m a fan of sci-fi, particularly movies and TV shows. I’ve always appreciated them for the philosophical themes, because in a way, nearly every story in the sci-fi genre has one. “What if there were aliens?” is a pretty common one. Or “what if our creations – robots – become stronger than we?” is very common too.
I like thinking about our future, personally. Whenever I read news articles regarding technology, I often wonder where our future will take us. About augmented reality: “will we still see the world with our own eyes in two hundred years?” or about the increasing lifespan of the human kind: “Is it possible that one day, people will/can become immortal?”
Maybe I’m just brooding too much, but I guess I’m not the only one, since sci-fi movies are so popular.
I’ll try to not spoil too much of the movies, but for us to properly discuss a movie’s philosophical theme, I’ll have to spoil some of it.
Today I will discuss the movie The Butterfly Effect (2004, featuring Ashton Kutcher and Amy Smart). You could say this isn’t really a sci-fi, because it’s mostly a psychological (or even paranormal) thriller, but it’s about time travelling. What isn’t sci-fi about that?
Evan Treborn (Ashton Kutcher), who suffered severe traumas as a boy and a teenager, blacks out frequently, often at moments of high stress. While searching for an answer to heal his emotional wounds, he finds that when he reads from his adolescent journals, he travels back in time, and is able to essentially “redo” parts of his past, and thereby causing the blackouts he experienced as a child. There are consequences of his choices, however, that he then propagates back to the present; his alternate futures vary from frat boy to prisoner to amputee. As he continues to do this, he realizes that even though his intentions are good, the actions he takes have unintended consequences.
When I saw this movie, I think in 2007, I was deeply impressed. Nearly everyone has something in their past that they would like to change. This movie showed some interesting theories on changing the past, and how it could affect the “space and time continuum”. I always wondered what would happen if everyone could travel in time and change the past… What do you think that would result in? Total chaos?
What do you think would be the effects of time travel and changing the past? Would they be as dramatic as The Butterfly Effect portrays?
If you had only one chance of time travel, would you rather go back to the past and change something or go to the future and see what life is like, then?
In The Butterfly Effect, Evan has only the ability to time travel in his own life, not to any moment or place in time. If you could go anywhere you wanted, in time and space, what era would you most like to visit? I would love to visit Ancient Egypt. I’ve always been extremely interested in the Egyptians and their culture, and how it could be that they were so (relatively) advanced for their time.
Feel free to share your thoughts, I love to hear from you. If you have any other ideas or philosophies about this movie or about the idea of time travel, please share them too, so we can discuss it!
P.S. If you’ve already seen The Butterfly Effect, or if you want to watch the movie, make sure you watch the alternate endings of the movie as well. There are three alternate endings to the movie, which I’m sure are available on the DVD, but probably also on youtube. All are equally fascinating and blood chilling.