'All Our Yesterdays' theory

Discussion in 'Star Trek - The Original & Animated Series' started by LMFAOschwarz, Nov 2, 2013.

  1. LMFAOschwarz

    LMFAOschwarz Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Watching this episode again, and pondering the oddity of an entire planetary population transplanted into their own past, it occurred to me that...maybe they weren't.

    Is it possible that perhaps the people were actually deposited into a (for lack of a better term) "holodeck" of sorts? More specifically, like the Moriarity-in-a-cube situation.

    It seems more merciful to allow the Sarpeidon citizenry to believe they had escaped an inevitable doom. Of course they would all die when the sun exploded, but until that point they wouldn't be counting down the moments to destruction in fear. Think of the old people in Soylent Green. It's a bit like that.

    Mr. Atoz' absolute dedication to waiting until the last moment to go back himself suggests an unthinkably high devotion to duty. It's possible his people were just that believing in mercy. The very existence of the Atoz replicas does suggest a high level of 3-D imaging technology.

    Though, how this Zor Khan (sp.) character fits into this is a mystery.

    As for Spock, it may have been possible for him to devolve mentally to the state of his ancestors in a type of mind-over-matter situation, kind of a reverse situation to the one in Spectre of the Gun. There he knew the bullets weren't real, therefore wouldn't affect him. Here, he believed he was five thousand years on the past, hence his psychological reaction.

    This all would explain how the population traveling into the past didn't alter the planets' history, as well as how not being "prepared" by the atavachron would allow our heroes to return: they had not been "digitized", so to speak, into the system.
     
    Last edited: Nov 2, 2013
  2. Maurice

    Maurice Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Why would Atoz be so concerned with diving into the portal himself at the last second if it were just to enter a holodeck for a few minutes before the planet gets blasted?
     
    Last edited: Nov 2, 2013
  3. Metryq

    Metryq Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Sorry, it doesn't wash. If the point of this virtual morgue was to save people the anguish and thumb-twiddling of counting down the hours until their sun exploded, then there is no point in Mr. Atoz waiting until the very last moment—especially if holographic Atozes would cover the processing. As you yourself noted, Zor Kahn then becomes a dangling participant.

    There is also the matter of the air-tight conspiracy. While granted that conspiracies happen, the bigger they are, the more likely they are to be exposed. And this was a planet-wide effort. There must have been uncounted thousands or even millions of workmen of various kinds to make it happen, to say nothing of all the managers, etc.

    Then there's the "Matrix" effect. The virtual world of THE MATRIX was created to pacify the slaves, like hypnotizing very young children by turning on a TV. Assuming that using humans as thermal batteries made any sense at all (it doesn't), the complexity of the system is too great—like the recent "Naked Time" thread where a throwaway character must do something stupid, otherwise there is no story. In the case of THE MATRIX (and assuming such a power system made any sense at all), it would be easier for the machines to lobotomize all the humans, or breed some organic subjects that have no brain, or at least one that will not compromise the system.

    I wrote at some length in a recent "City on the Edge of Forever" thread about paradoxes in time travel stories. In the case of "All Our Yesterdays," some consideration was given to paradoxes. Basically, paradoxes can't happen—no time cops are needed to enforce things. "Assignment Earth" is an example of reflexive causality: The Enterprise was simply a part of history in the same way you are a part of the world you live in now. The atavachron simply made displacement more natural. (It obviously did not wipe memories of the future, and in the convoluted "just because" reasoning of the story the alterations are somehow physical, and the subject will die without being marinated first.)

    What doesn't make sense is that Spock would "revert" to his ancestors of five thousand years ago, while McCoy did not. (Seriously? A mere 5,000 years?) Unless that is meant as a commentary on humanity, the eternal savages.

    The whole episode reeks of "just because we'd have no story otherwise" reasoning: The Federation has the ability to predict novas right down to the second, yet waits until mere hours before to "warn" a planetary population that they'd better duck and cover. There is similar reasoning in "The Empath"—only so much time and resources before a catastrophe. So the Vyans waste time testing to see which of two populations are "worthy" of being saved. If they'd approached the UFP (and perhaps Balok's First Federation, the Organians, the Metrons and various others), a straightforward evacuation may have been possible. To put this in "All Our Yesterdays" terms, why bother building the virtual morgue at all? Why not just disintegrate everyone and say they were displaced into the past? That's about like kicking someone in the groin to "relieve" their suffering from a toothache.

    Last but not least—and this is the biggie—this is just throwaway fiction meant to entertain people for an hour. It is not hard science unraveling the mysteries of the universe. We needn't rationalize an explanation, as it already has one. It's just TV, dealing in catharsis.
     
  4. Shawnster

    Shawnster Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Why not? Because time travel is more far fetched or impossible than living a life inside a computer?

    And, as for paradoxes, these people probably didn't care what paradoxes they might create, just so long as they were alive.
     
  5. LMFAOschwarz

    LMFAOschwarz Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    :guffaw:Well said!

    Oh, very true...but sometimes I'll watch this stuff and ponder the stories regardless. It's a fun way to exercise the futility muscles. :)

    There's just so much inherent weirdness in this episode, it begs questions. From the time travel of perhaps billions (just how long would that have taken, anyway? And apparently there's only one portal?!), to the Atoz replicas (who perform the "simple tasks"). Has Atoz been doing this since childhood? And he also says that "he thought everyone had long since gone", so why is he still there? And Maurice is right when he asks why Atoz would wait until the very end to go himself, according to my theory. Unless deep down he hates his wife and family or something. :lol:

    Then there's Zor Kahn, the tyrant of whom Spock "learned about from reading library records" when he did no such thing. And why send Zarabeth back in time as punishment for "choosing her kinsman unwisely". Who hasn't done that at one time or another? Her crime is vague and seemingly minor, yet here she is painted as a kind of female Lokai or something. never diid get that.

    As for why McCoy didn't revert, I guess humans have always been reasonable and well-balanced. :)

    Good work, guys! :)
     
  6. LMFAOschwarz

    LMFAOschwarz Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    In fact, I'm off this morning to buy some new tires for my car. I can't wait to see if the guys there have replicas to perform their simple tasks! :)
     
  7. Melakon

    Melakon Admiral Admiral

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    I'd never thought of the Atoz replicas as being holograms, I've always assumed they were some sort of service androids or robots. Laser based holography was still in its infancy in the 1960s, and a Nobel Prize in Physics wasn't awarded for development of the process until 1971.

    Holodecks never seemed to be a technological concept in TOS. Simulated environments were usually explained as some sort of telepathic influence.

    The 1976 film Logan's Run made a big deal in its promotional materials about using actual state of the art holograms in the production, and I saw real examples in museums during the early 70s. There was no real lifelike movement as ST and other shows present. The illusion of movement was present only if the observer changed his viewing perspective.
     
    Last edited: Nov 2, 2013
  8. vulcan redshirt

    vulcan redshirt Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    Although it was needed for the plot, I don't quite get why Spock loses his abilities for logic. I always thought it was a learned skill, not a biological issue. Even when taken back in time, Spock still had all his memories, and learned skills.

    Unless it was something to do with going the portal without being 'prepared', and that illness would have struck Kirk and McCoy in due time had they not escaped.
     
  9. BillJ

    BillJ Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    They may have tried to connect Spock's actions to how Vulcans acted five-thousand years ago but I think his behavior is driven far more by the smokin' hot Babe and the aborted Pon-Farr from season one.

    His mind couldn't cope with the situation so his emotions started coming to the surface with force.
     
  10. LMFAOschwarz

    LMFAOschwarz Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    I should have been more specific. In using Star Trek 'lingo', I sloppily used the term 'holodeck' to suggest something "unreal". I, too, dislike the hologram concept retroactively applied to TOS. But somehow it also seemed wrong to call them robots, either.

    Though it is entirely possible that the Atoz replicas (whatever they were), were in fact extremely similar to the technology used to create the Losira replicas in That Which Survives.
     
  11. Melakon

    Melakon Admiral Admiral

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    One of the problems with third season episodes was there often wasn't anyone around riding herd on the scripts to make sure they were consistent with earlier stories. The job often fell on the actors themselves (Nimoy in particular regarding Spock). Even Shatner argued with the director of "Turnabout Intruder" when he wanted Kirk to exit through a door in the briefing room that was never established as being there.
     
  12. LMFAOschwarz

    LMFAOschwarz Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    True. Might also explain Spock telling Zarabeth that he comes from a planet millions of light-years away! :wtf:
     
  13. BillJ

    BillJ Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Could be poetic license on Spock's part? Sitting five-thousand years in the past, in a frozen wasteland... the Vulcan he knew probably felt millions of light-years away.
     
  14. Corylea

    Corylea Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    I saw someone on another site come up with an explanation for Spock's behavior in this episode. This person suggested that Vulcans always have some tenuous telepathic awareness of other Vulcans. Nothing like a full mind-meld, of course, just a tenuous sense that they exist, with a bit of their general state filtering through.

    If this is so, then during the 23rd Century, each individual Vulcan is partly restrained by the collective restraint of all other Vulcans. No one Vulcan has that much effect, but the cumulative effect of a planetful of billions of them could be fairly powerful. During Spock's time in the past, then, his normal personal restraint isn't enough to overcome the telepathic effects of an entire planetful of UNrestrained, savage Vulcans.

    We know that Spock felt it when the 400 Vulcans on the Intrepid died (during "The Immunity Syndrome"), so we know that he has some telepathic awareness of other Vulcans at a distance under some circumstances. Whether he has any telepathic awareness of other Vulcans when they're not dying is something TOS doesn't make clear.

    As I said, this isn't my theory; I just read it somewhere. But I thought it was reasonably plausible, and I thought it took an explanation for Spock's behavior in this episode that seemed really stupid on the surface and turned it into something really interesting. If this person's theory were true, then going against Vulcan norms wouldn't be as easy as just deciding to do so, because there'd be all that telepathic influence. Something neat to think about.

    Of course, the fact that we get ANY explanation for Spock's out-of-character behavior in this episode is due to Mr. Nimoy's diligence. When he got the script, there wasn't any explanation at all, and when he asked the third-season producer why, Fred Freiberger hadn't realized that Spock wasn't supposed to do such things. The mind boggles! Nimoy told Freiberger that he couldn't play Spock with the script as written, Freiberger said there wasn't time to rewrite it, and they eventually compromised on the hand-waving explanation we got. It sucked as an explanation (unless the theory above is correct), but it was way better than no explanation at all.

    Why Roddenberry insisted on bringing Freiberger in as the third-season producer, instead of promoting the quite-deserving Bob Justman to lead producer is just one of the mysteries.
     
  15. T'Girl

    T'Girl Vice Admiral Admiral

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    It goes back to the event in The Immunity Syndrome where Spock knows that the four hundred Vulcans aboard the Intrepid just die, he "... could hear the death scream of four hundred Vulcan minds crying out over the distance between us."

    Spock was also aware that the crew of the Intrepid never knew what was killing them. All this while Spock was separated from them by multiple light years.

    Vulcans apparently share some kind of low level species consciousness, a group gestalt.

    Five thousand year before the 23rd century, Vulcans were warlike barbarians. Spock was picking up on this, it was influencing his thinking, his actions and his feelings.


    :)
     
  16. Nebusj

    Nebusj Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    The population's unspecified. There are some simple estimates that can be made, though; for example, that at the rate of one person a second (and without a break) it would take about 33 years to process a billion people. Presumably processing takes some time, but assuming the atavachron itself to be the bottleneck then that only needs a moment for each person. The selection of times and the preparation of bodies can be done in separate processes.

    It's not specified how many atavachrons there are; it would seem peculiar if there were just the one. Atoz does swear that he's seen to the safety of everyone on the planet, but that's in the context of trying to assure what he thinks are insanely reluctant stragglers that they need to get to safety.

    The New York City subway system is able to handle over a billion riders per year (in 2005 it came up just short of 1.5 billion); those are, obviously, mostly duplicates, but it suggests that a modestly-sized system could clear out a planet of ten billion people in under a decade of serious work.


    To catch stragglers, of course. That seems sufficient reason. If waiting a month (or whatnot) past the ``drop dead'' date saves a dozen more souls it doesn't require an extraordinary devotion to duty to wait at his post, especially when he has no reason to think he won't have the rest of his family's life to enjoy when he's done.


    Specifically, Spock says, ``I remember that name from the history tapes in the library''. He was looking at some of the discs; that's how the atavachron had anywhere particular to send him. That he encountered the name Zor Kahn while looking at a disc of someone who was punished by Zor Kahn is not an improbable bit of business.

    Zarabeth claims that Zor Kahn did not want it said he had her killed. Why this should be an important point to Zor Kahn is unclear, but then, we do not know Zor Kahn's precise personality, nor the circumstances of Zarabeth's family attempting to kill him, nor what political pressures were on Kahn or were protecting Zarabeth. It's hardly unknown for a leader to look for a humane, or a method that can be called humane, way of ridding himself of a troublesome person or a party that could be rallied around.
     
  17. Metryq

    Metryq Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Here's a fascinating thought: What if the seed of change in Vulcan history was due to all those other Vulcans picking up on Spock?

    "I feel a disturbance in the Force."
     
  18. LMFAOschwarz

    LMFAOschwarz Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Hmm, seems Atoz' dedication is the only part of my theory that holds up! :lol:


    I see what you're saying: so that he wouldn't create a martyr.

    Your point about Spock looking at the tapes escaped me. One thing I must do in the future is watch the episodes to verify details like that. In this case, I mostly listened to it. You'd think that after forty years such details would be burned into my retinas, but apparently not! :shrug:

    Wow..intriguing!
     
  19. Corylea

    Corylea Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    Wow. That's quite an idea!

    I guess it would depend on how many Vulcans there were 5000 years ago. I wouldn't think that a single mind would have much impact if there were millions or hundreds of thousands or even just thousands of Vulcans. It seems as if there'd have to be quite a small number of living Vulcans for a single mind -- even Spock's magnificent mind ;) -- to make that much difference.

    And of course, there's the whole but-that-would-be-circular argument.

    In spite of the fact that it seems unlikely to me, it's a really cool idea, though! Thanks for suggesting it. :beer:
     
  20. Metryq

    Metryq Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    From "Mirror, Mirror":

    SPOCK: One man cannot summon the future.
    KIRK: But one man can change the present.

    Perhaps those thousands or millions of Vulcans felt a brief moment of clarity, standing up out of their bathtubs and shouting, "Eureka" (which in Vulcan means "This bath water is too hot!") After that, they directed their energies towards finding out what had triggered it in everyone.

    I'm not suggesting the change happened instantly. Who knows how long it took the Vulcans to establish their philosophy of total logic? And we don't know how long they'd been practicing it when TOS rolled around.

    Reflexive causality is perfectly legit. The Enterprise was part of the history they were sent to observe in "Assignment Earth."

    I've thought that a neat twist to the last BACK TO THE FUTURE movie would have been to take 1955 Doc back to 1885 to rescue 1985 Doc. (Which would be a pair 'o' Docs.) After the mission was over, they'd return 1955 Doc, first, but accidentally arrive a week too early at Doc's favorite red letter date in the history of science. The "BOOM" of the Outatime arriving would startle Doc, who was inside the house standing on a toilet while hanging a clock... (They'd realize they were too early and jump forward a week to drop off 1955 Doc.)