John Connor's existence POLL

Discussion in 'Science Fiction & Fantasy' started by The Borgified Corpse, May 27, 2009.

?

Was there ever a timeline where John Connor was not fathered by Reese?

  1. Yes. John Connor cannot independently create himself. He had to come from somewhere.

    18 vote(s)
    20.9%
  2. No. The first film is a closed loop predestination paradox.

    68 vote(s)
    79.1%
  1. Scout101

    Scout101 Admiral Admiral

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    The original CAN'T have time travel in it, though, as the time travel event doesn't happen until 2018 (or insert date here). By definition, if the 1984 timeline has time travel in it, it's NOT the original timeline anymore. You can call it the first itteration of the closed loop if you like, but there has to be a situation that brings the time travel about in the first place. Easy to set up the closed loop once you begin it, but you have to get to 2018 without time travel in order to travel back in time...
     
  2. Arrqh

    Arrqh Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Why?

    1984 was just going along minding its own business when two time travelers appeared. What part of that makes it not the "original" timeline? Looking at it another way, if your definition of "original timeline" is "one where there is no time travel" then there was no original. Closed time loops don't have a start... that's part of their definition. They don't have a first iteration and they don't have a last one. The just are.

    One of the things with time travel is the effect preceeds the cause. Just because the cause happened in the future doesn't mean that there ever had to be a 1984 where the effect didn't happen. In the first movie, they didn't have a ripple effect or alternate timelines or anything... whatever happened, happened. And always happened. And always will happen. Going back in 2018 or whenever didn't change the past because that was already part of established events.
     
  3. Scout101

    Scout101 Admiral Admiral

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    It's not the original timeline because people from the future have arrived. Meaning that things have already progressed past that point in time, and someone is showing up from the future.

    All the rest of what is being argued makes perfect sense, but you have to have an original condition where someone in 2018 decides to time travel, or you can't get into the loop.

    it also makes the entire series fairly pointless. Neither Skynet nor Kyle would really care about the war, the future, or anything at this point, both would just be time travelling because they have to create John and Skynet. Not so either can win the war, but just so they can go back in time again.

    To take another crack at the "closed loop without an origin" argument: a problem in computer programing can create an infinite loop pretty easily, yes? You've gotta have code before that to set up something TO loop though, right? Can loop all you like once you reach that part of the code (the future, in the terminator example), but have to run the code to that point WITHOUT the later parts of the code interfering the first time through.

    The first time people from 2018 showed up in 1984, it was, by definition, the 2nd crack at things. You can close the loop right at that second, but logically, you've got to experience things from 1984-2018 once already before someone from 2018 can attempt to change the past. It has to have, well, past once already.
     
  4. JoeZhang

    JoeZhang Vice Admiral Admiral

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    But that's the whole point! it all happens because it happens - the loop is always complete and closed - it's not meant to be logically consistent, you aren't suppose to work out where the loop begins because you can't - it just is. It's an ontological paradox.
     
  5. Scout101

    Scout101 Admiral Admiral

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    If you just want to argue that it happens because of magic, and doesn't have to make any logical sense, why bother to argue your case at all? Just claim a wizard did it and be done with it. You can't "kinda" use the logic, though...

    The loop CAN'T always be complete and closed, because it would never exist at all that way. Like a skipping record, you have to play through to a certain point before you hit the skipping part. You can keep repeating those couple seconds of song all you want, but you had to play the song to that point to GET it to skip.

    Unless you want to change the argument to make this a random bubble of time, where nothing before 1984 or after 2018 exists, and it just loops on itself forever, created in that state? You're back to saying a wizard did it, though...
     
  6. Arrqh

    Arrqh Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Who said anything about not making logical sense? There's nothing about a closed time loop that is inherently illogical or inconsistent.

    This isn't the same as a skipping record or as your code loop that you said earlier. The reason is that any iteration of the loop depends on their being a previous iteration of the loop to feed into the next one. Again, what's going on is that the effect of an event is preceding the cause. And that effect is part of what's required for the cause in the first place. Everything is completely consistent and ultimately unchanging.
     
  7. Rowan Sjet

    Rowan Sjet Commodore Commodore

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    How then would it be a closed loop?
     
  8. Scout101

    Scout101 Admiral Admiral

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    Could look at the chicken and egg argument for closed loops, i guess. To get the egg, it has to be layed by a chicken, which has to hatch from an egg, and so forth. That functions as your closed loop. Still need the proto-chicken to lay the first chicken egg and get you started, though. I'm thinking of this timeline the same way: First time through, you got to 2018 with something similar, but not quite the timeline we're familiar with. They went back and spawned the current timeline, which is now self-sustaining and a nice little closed loop.

    Even in the examples you're using to argue against me, you're saying the same thing, really. You're talking about "the effect of an event is preceding the cause", but since the timeline had to progress to 2018 for the original event to take place, there WAS an itteration of 1984-2017ish without interference from the future. The event (timetravel) happened, and now there ARE effects of an event happening before the cause of the event.

    Still had to happen once without that occuring, though. You can't get to 2018 to time travel the first time without going through 1984. Once that has happened, the rest of the logic works fine, and you can loop all you want. Just can't travel from 2018 for the first time without an original 1984
     
  9. captcalhoun

    captcalhoun Admiral Admiral

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    people think of time as being a linear progression of cause and effect. but it's not. when observed from a non-linear, non-subjective viewpoint, it's more of a big ball of wibbly-wobbly timey-wimey stuff.
     
  10. hyzmarca

    hyzmarca Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    I see what the problem is here. You are, in your mind, and probably unintentionally, creating a second time dimension, so that you can represent non-linear time-travel as a linear function, which is easier for people to wrap their heads around.

    However, there is no second time dimension. Time defines the order of events. Kyle Reese appeared in 1984 first. Period. There are no future events before that. Though Kyle remembers these things, they haven't happened yet, from the point of view of an outside observer. The event that causes Kyle to be sent back happens after, from the point of view of the outside observer. This isn't illogical, because time only has one dimension. There is no such thing as a previous future or an original future.
     
  11. The Borgified Corpse

    The Borgified Corpse Admiral Admiral

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    ^That's kinda how I was going to put it.

    This reminds me of a bit in a (non-sci-fi) book I read recently. (It was one of the Robin Hudson mysteries by Sparkle Hayter, The Last Manly Man, I think.) In it, she says that time travel must be impossible, otherwise murderers of the future would realize that the past is a pretty good dumping ground for dead bodies and we would keep seeing all of these anachronistic corpses showing up. Not to mention, if timetravel were possible, why hasn't someone killed Hitler already?

    One of the things that makes The Terminator relatively unique is that it's a time travel story told from the perspective of observers in the past and not the travelers from the future.

    If we accept the inevitability of the existence of time travel, then it follows that the past would see the effects of future events. SOMEONE always traveled back in time. This individual then did things that helped to form the past & future that he already recognized. The present only happens once.

    Take a step back and look at events from the linear perspective of time.
    1.) On Thursday, May 12, 1984, Kyle Reese suddenly blinks into existence, seemingly from nothing.
    2.) Kyle Reese impregnates Sarah Connor, then dies.
    3.) John Connor is born.
    4.) Skynet declares nuclear war on all humanity. Judgment Day.
    5.) Kyle Reese is born.
    6.) In 2029, Skynet invents a time machine.
    7.) John Connor's human resistance takes control of the time machine. Kyle Reese suddenly blinks out of existence.

    This is all that ever happened. None of these events are changable. The universe doesn't care why Kyle Reese suddenly blinked into existence in 1984, he just did. The fact that this would ultimately create the circumstances that would lead to his getting sent back in time in the first place were inevitable.

    And here's another thing to consider. Why, of all dates, did Skynet choose May 12, 1984 to try to kill Sarah Connor? Why not try to kill John Connor at a later date, when it's less likely that their Terminator will cause collateral damage to the timeline that might endanger Skynet's own existence? It's because May 12, 1984 was the last date where Skynet could be reasonably sure of Sarah Connor's whereabouts. Why? Because that was the date that the T-800 started hunting her and forced her into hiding. Unbeknownst to Skynet, they were already constricted by their own mess.
     
  12. bigdaddy

    bigdaddy Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I went with yes because it reminds me of Futurama and Fry. "You're your own grandpa!!!" :lol:
     
  13. Base_Delta_Zero

    Base_Delta_Zero Commodore Commodore

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    Since the theme of this thread seems to be choosing the particular mechanics of fictional iterations of timetravel we like best and declaring them THE TRUTH, I choose this guy's:

    http://www.mjyoung.net/time/terminat.html

    While fairly complicated, this take makes the most sense to me and its also pretty cool, which is all the better. He only covers the first two films, but following his logic, both T3 and TS can be included. It also has implicatins for TSCC and how the shifting timelines were hinted at there. Hopefully he'll get to them all at some point. He dissects a whole bunch of other timetravel movies on the site, the latest being Deja Vu.

    Oh, and I voted yes, there was an original timeline where someone related to Sarah Connor was enough of a pain in something resembling Skynet's ass that it whipped out timetravel as a not too completely insane solution to the problem. Whackiness ensued.
     
  14. Scout101

    Scout101 Admiral Admiral

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    That writeup makes a good amount of sense, works for me.

    Has the added benefit of agreeing with most of what I was saying :)

    One of the better parts of what he does is describing how they can do the "terminator goes back, and then the good guy goes back" scenario. Terminator fails to kill John, but accomplishes something else that John doesn't like. John then sends the good guy back NOT to save him (he's alive, therefore doesn't need saving in the past), but to protect Sarah.

    Following his logic, T3 is still kinda tough to explain. In each case, Skynet has to fail at the main objectives, but still do something that John wants to prevent. In T3, what did the terminatrix accomplish that Brewster was trying to prevent? Has to be bad, but not so bad that it would wreck the rest of the future. Arnie is there to stop whatever that is, but could have screwed things up worse, because he tells John that he kills him prior to being sent back. Now John would be less likely to trust the T-800 that ended up killing him, so created another shitty loop where he DOESN'T get killed by Arnie, thus Brewster doesn't send him back, so he gets killed by Arnie, etc.

    T3 was pretty much crap anyway, so not so worried...
     
  15. Base_Delta_Zero

    Base_Delta_Zero Commodore Commodore

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    I liked all the Terminator films, myself. I'm sure this guy could figure it out, anyway.
     
  16. Ryan8bit

    Ryan8bit Commodore Commodore

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    The only problem is that there's no way Sarah would've ever gotten away from the Terminator without Kyle's help considering what we see in the movie. Plus, it clearly wasn't intended to be that way.

    MJ Young's theory has plenty of holes in it, and is mostly just an attempt for him to sell books. Notice he does say that T3 doesn't work with his theory. T4 wouldn't either, since the movie itself has very little to do with logic.
     
  17. Scout101

    Scout101 Admiral Admiral

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    Can't speak for T4 at the moment (haven't seen it yet), but he DOES have a page with follow-up for T3 that would pretty much work. I don't entirely get the motivation for Brewster to send Arnold back, but the rest more or less flows.

    His reasoning behind Sarah survivng without Kyle's help would be that in the itteration before Arnold came to kill her, Arnold's parts can't be found because they aren't there, so Skynet is created later in the timeline, and the terminator they sent the first time may have been less advanced. It looked like, in that timeline, she escapes the initial attack, and survives to give birth to a child before the Terminator catches up and kills her. That all seemed to mostly survive his explanation...
     
  18. TheArsenal

    TheArsenal Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    No. But there is a time line where Reese is sent back by someone other than John Connor because John Connor does not yet exist.
     
  19. Rowan Sjet

    Rowan Sjet Commodore Commodore

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    ^ Ah, so there is a timeline where John Connor isn't fathered by Reese, as John Connor was never fathered at all! :p

    But then, why would the Terminator be sent back, and how would this result in Reese getting jiggy with Sarah?
     
  20. TheArsenal

    TheArsenal Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    As I see it, in the First Time Line, Reese was sent back by some unknown person for some unknown reason which had nothing to do with Sarah. Or maybe it did. We can't know this. But we know it had nothing to do with protecting someone who didn't yet exist. In any case, Reese ends up with Sarah, John Connor is born, leads the Resistance, then the "protect Sarah/John" cycle of time lines begin.
     

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