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Old October 25 2012, 05:29 PM   #504
Christopher
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Re: VOY: The Eternal Tide by Kirsten Beyer Review Thread (Spoilers!)

Enterpriserules wrote: View Post
Christopher wrote: View Post
"Destiny" is nothing more than knowing the future and seeing how things turned out. If someone "has" to be there for an important event, it's not because it was preordained by some cosmic force; it's just because they happened to be in the right place at the right time for that particular timeline to turn out in a positive way. That's what happened here. In the original timeline, Janeway happened to be in the right place at the right time to make the key difference. When "Endgame" altered that history, it led to a timeline in which Janeway wouldn't be there to make that key difference, so Q Junior had to correct that.
I think that Beyer's book disagrees with you. There is a very strong vibe throughout the whole book that there is something moving the universe.
Well, that wasn't really the sense I got from Kirsten when we were discussing the plot outline over e-mail last year. I'm pretty much summarizing how she explained the plot to me. There is something of a spiritual flavor to the book, granted, but I didn't get a "destiny" vibe from it. The way she explained her approach to me was that actions like altering history or bringing back the dead always come with a price, with unforeseen consequences that are usually negative. And in this case, the price was that an action Janeway performed that was essential to all timelines ended up not happening, and that needed to be corrected.

I guess it's possible that you could interpret the idea of changing history having consequences in some metaphysical "tampering with destiny" sort of a way if you were so inclined, but it didn't really feel that way to me. And I really think it runs counter to Star Trek's intrinsic humanism to treat any specific person like Janeway as some fated cosmic savior moved into place by divine forces, as somehow intrinsically above all other people. ST has always taken more of the view that all people have the potential to achieve greatness through their own effort and commitment.


I mean, Janeway even becomes aware of her own soul,
What's that got to do with destiny? They're entirely separate metaphysical concepts.


This idea is all throughout ST '09. These people, no matter what happens to the timeline are destined to be together, on a ship called Enterprise.
Except that the screenwriters derived that from quantum-physical principles, the notion that there's a most probable state for the wavefunction of the universe and that the majority of timelines would tend toward that more probable configuration. And of course, more fundamentally, from the dramatic necessity of creating a version of the familiar crew that we knew. They certainly didn't have any mystical or metaphysical intent behind it.


This book is rife with the idea that people are in places at certain times for a reason. DS9, Sisko is created just to save Bajor, and now Junior and Eden have been created to heal a rift in the universe. Something is behind and the multiverse is not as random as we thought.
Or, it really is random, but those who are able to look ahead and see the outcomes of events get the impression that it isn't, that certain things "had" to happen to bring about the outcomes that occurred. To a large extent it's just a question of perspective. Quantum physics suggests, at least in some interpretations, that the entire state of the multiverse throughout all time is deterministic, with all events and outcomes encoded into the universe's Schroedinger equation, and that the perception of free will or uncertainty arises simply from our inability to have complete information about that equation. Thus a notion of predestination can be formulated without any recourse to the metaphysical. But it can be argued that the only way to get that complete equation would be to step outside of time altogether and measure the whole universe, past, present and future, at once -- which effectively means you wouldn't be able to know how the universe turned out until you got to the end, so for all you'd know, it really did happen non-deterministically. Maybe every decision really is made freely, but when you look back on it after it's been made, it looks fixed to you at that point. (Like if you watch a recording of a baseball game after you already know who won. It may look to you as if the team that won is "destined" to win, but only because you already know how it turned out and how the various spontaneous events added up to produce the outcome you know.) So it's really just a matter of perspective.
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