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. xman

    xman Commander Red Shirt

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    hm ... and John Connor's message to Sarah that "The future is not set" should be disregarded, how?

    X
     
  2. hyzmarca

    hyzmarca Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    It was a lie, a white lie meant to inspire both Sarah and Kyle, and most likely one that he told because Sarah told him that that's what he told Kyle to tell her.
     
  3. xman

    xman Commander Red Shirt

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    Evidenced by ... ?
     
  4. Ryan

    Ryan Commodore Commodore

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    Because John couldn't possibly know if Judgment Day is preventable from a position where it's already (and always has) happened.

    He's just repeating what he was told by his mother. Connor knows full well how it's already played out. It's the entire reason he gives Reese the photo of Sarah (why give a random teenage kid a picture of your mother?).
     
  5. xman

    xman Commander Red Shirt

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    NOT a "random" kid and that might make sense, BUT it's not evidence. It's an unsupported postulation. AND he could very easily know that JD is preventable by the different future time travelers that make it back to his time from differing futures. That too is an unsupported postulation.

    X
     
  6. Ryan

    Ryan Commodore Commodore

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    That doesn't even make sense.
     
  7. Mr. Laser Beam

    Mr. Laser Beam Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Especially since in the first film, that doesn't even happen.
     
  8. xman

    xman Commander Red Shirt

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    It doesn't happen anywhere, but if you stop to think about it it makes more sense than, "John lied". Skynet would first send information at least if not an agent back to John Connor's time of The Resistance to tell its past self that General Connor will imminently defeat itself and that he must be removed. Cue the hybrid. Only when that fails will they go back to remove his mother. There is greater danger to altering the time line too much even at this point and especially beyond. Disregarding this, my own unsubstantiated theory, there is nothing which leads us to assume that John lied to Kyle and thus to Sarah. In fact the report from the T-850 informs John and us that Sarah and John were successful (if only partly) in changing the future when they stopped Skynet in the 90's. Is Kate lying now? How many lies must be told to support this very thin notion that time is immutable, something that all movies and the TV series have stated and demonstrated to be true? But wait, we're only dealing with the intention of T1 before it got corrupted by T2-T4. So what do we have to go on? The facts of T1. You may choose to disbelieve John, but in truth you have no reason to except to validate some pet theory about how time travel 'really' works. Well, it doesn't 'really' happen and it is extremely! unlikely to ever even be possible so let's discard that and deal with the story as it has been told:

    "Thank you, Sarah, for your courage through the dark years. I can't help you with what you must soon face, except to say that the future is not set. You must be stronger than you imagine you can be. You must survive, or I will never exist."

    X
     
    Last edited: Jun 6, 2009
  9. Ryan

    Ryan Commodore Commodore

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    Remember, the other part of that speech is Connor trying to preserve himself. "You must survive, or I will never exist." That he would try to give Sarah hope and strength for the horror to come isn't exactly a surprise.

    Whether John was fulfilling history, just repeating what his mother always told him, telling Sarah (and Reese) a lie to keep her alive, or simply wrong is inconsequential. The speech is really for the audience. There's no tension if we don't think the terminator can actually succeed. A more accurate message like "Sarah, you will survive so don't worry" would pretty much ruin the film.

    The movie has dialog discussing and dismissing that.

    Thematically the Terminator films all take different approaches to time travel. T1 is a closed loop predestination paradox, T2 is "no fate", and T3 is "Judgment Day is inevitable".

    I usually look at the first film as a stand alone but even if we do include the sequels there's nothing to suggest Judgment Day can be avoided (as it's always happened in every one; no one would even be traveling back if it didn't). T3 in fact says it's unavoidable.

    hyzmarca was the one saying that. I defintely never claimed to know how time travel "really" works. In fact, I'm pretty sure it doesn't work at all.

    That doesn't mean the predestination theme in T1 isn't very clear. There's a reason they make a point of showing the photo of Sarah in 1984 and Reese with it in ~2029. To ignore that you have to make up several time lines that existed before T1 and aren't even hinted at in the movie.
     
  10. xman

    xman Commander Red Shirt

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    Well throw me a bone here what is it and where in the movie?
     
  11. Ryan

    Ryan Commodore Commodore

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    It's during Reese's police interrogation.

    Dr. Silberman: So why go through all this trouble with time travel? Why not just kill Connor in the future?
    Kyle Reese: It had no choice. Their defense grid was smashed. We’d won. Taking out Connor then would make no difference. Skynet had to wipe out his entire existence.
     
  12. DWF

    DWF Admiral Admiral

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    James Cameron kind of changed his own rules with T2 so there's alot of things that don't quite fit.

    http://www.sydfield.com/featured_jamescameron2.htm

     
  13. xman

    xman Commander Red Shirt

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    This is not necessarily contradictory to my suggestion. And the previous post also supports my interpretation of events, but that's concerning T2? Anyhow ... "...the future is NOT set." I'm sticking to that until I see something more definitive.

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  14. Ryan

    Ryan Commodore Commodore

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    Reese also said only he and the terminator went back and the time displacement chamber would be blown after he went through. Seriously, rewatch T1. The interrogation scene blows your entire hypothesis out of the water.
     
  15. Checkmate

    Checkmate Commodore

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    Of course there was a timeline without John Connor. His father was from the friggin' future. You can't be the same person if half of your DNA is coming from someone else.

    Hell, there's not even a guarantee that the creation of the first John Connor, or the first time jump, had anything to do with a Skynet or future war. Anything could have sparked it off.

    For example, maybe the scientist who created the first time machine goes back in time and tries to make himself rich/speed up technological advancement by introducing futuretech... which, eventually, creates Skynet. Then in that altered timeline, humanity discovers that their losing and come across/invent time travel and use it with some guy named Kyle Reese going back to try and stop Skynet's creation. In the process, he bangs some hot waitress chick who ends up giving birth to the first John Connor. The future arrives, Connor leads the human rebellion, time travel is discovered again and Connor sends back the guy he realizes is his father to try and stop it again/give birth to him. Skynet finds out about it and sends a Terminator. Reese defeats the Terminator, bangs the waitress, Connor leads humanity, but this time Skynet discovers time travel first and sends a Terminator back to try and kill Connor. Connor finds out, sends his father back, and the loop we see in the first movie is created.

    Or any other countless possibilities. There's no way it could have started all on its own. If Sarah did pop out a kid and happened to name him John, that still wouldn't have been the John Connor we saw. Even if he did end up leading humanity against Skynet. The paradox required Reese to be the father and Sarah to be the mother.
     
  16. xman

    xman Commander Red Shirt

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    Not out of the water, just altered. So we can either assume that the chamber was not blown after Kyle went through or, more likely another was built. I'm sure watching T2 would clear that up, but that takes us away from looking at T1 as a stand alone story. Anyway. I rewatched T1 and it does throw deep doubts on some of my speculations, but strongly supports my core premise.

    Shortly after Kyle saves Sarah from the Terminator the first time in the club:
    From the police interrogation scene:
    Nothing there contradicts a mutable timeline.

    And even from a deleted scene before the night in the motel where sarah is trying to convince Kyle to help her destroy Cyberdine Systems:
    For those who don't know, I'm a professional actor. We have a saying in the theatre. 'If it's not on the page, it's not on the stage'.

    I must still conclude that the future is mutable or that multiple timelines are possible in T1 alone.

    X
     
  17. Checkmate

    Checkmate Commodore

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    Yeah. All that means is in that particular incarnation of the loop, it was just the two of them because the time machine was destroyed. But we know for a fact that this is changed by the events in that loop, else T2, T3, the series, etc. wouldn't exist.

    Not the best argument in the world considering we already know things change.
     
  18. The Borgified Corpse

    The Borgified Corpse Admiral Admiral

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    Well, by the fact that, despite all of Kyle Reese's talk about how the timeline might change, everything we see in the movie ultimately creates the future that Kyle Reese describes rather than changing it. Sarah Connor survives, John Connor is conceived, the little Mexican kid takes the exact photo of Sarah that Kyle Reese had in the future, and one of the deleted scenes shows that the T-800 very well may have given Cyberdine Systems the idea to create Skynet in the first place. What we are shown of a predestination theory of time travel is far more compelling than what Kyle Reese tells us of the possibilities of changing the future.

    But then, like I've said before, while the (first) movie demonstrates a predestination theory of time travel, there's probably no way of knowing that those are the time travel rules that apply to the universe until you actually try to break them. While changing the past may be physically impossible, the possibility was at least theoretically plausible enough that Skynet thought it was worth a try. And if Skynet thought it was possible, it makes sense that Kyle Reese & John Connor would consider it possible too, even if it really wasn't.
     
  19. The Borgified Corpse

    The Borgified Corpse Admiral Admiral

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    Interesting. I'm not sure I understand all of that.:eek: Let me see if I've got it kinda right.

    So you're saying that quantum probability only applies to very small sub-atomic/photonic events. Meanwhile, larger stuff like me eating a cheeseburger tonight, a meteor impacting the Earth, or Kyle Reese impregnating Sarah Connor can only occur one way and occurs the same way even in all of the small, variated universes that might be created by the different outcomes occurring on the quantum level. Am I on the right track here?

    What about totally independent parallel universes slowly branching off through small different outcomes? In essence, could the Mirror Universe from Star Trek exist parallel to our own, even if it is inaccessible to us? Or is that just wild fantasy?

    Agreed. Although the tone of T2 is generally optimistic, there is some ambiguity there and we never learn for certain (within the confines of T2) whether Sarah, John, & the T-800 were successful in changing the future or if Miles Dyson's lab was always meant to be destroyed. (Although we wouldn't have this ambiguity to argue over had James Cameron included the deleted future coda ending.)

    As for T3, I think that the only real tripping point here is that T2 gave a date for Judgment Day in 1997 and Jonathan Mostow was making a new Terminator movie in 2003. Time warping was the only excuse they could come up with to explain why Judgment Day was now occurring in 2004 instead of 1997 like they had said in the previous film. Had T2 not given an exact date or given a later date or had T3 been made 6 years earlier, we wouldn't have this problem. The changes in the timeline in T3 were the results of production realities, not well thought out story decisions. (With a little grout & spackle, I think we can smooth right over it.)

    Terminator Salvation tries to remain somewhat agnostic. It doesn't muck up the timeline any more than T3 already did. It also refrains from giving an exact date to Judgment Day, merely saying "the early 21st century." This way, you can assume Judgment Day occurred in 2004 (concurring with T3), 2011 (concurring with The Sarah Connor Chronicles), or any other date you like between now & 2018 when the movie takes place. Furthermore...
    ...the date given for Marcus Wright's execution is 2003, which makes it wholly consistent with T3 but also not inconsistent with The Sarah Connor Chronicles.
    I guess my point is that, so long as we can smooth over the few date inconsistencies between T2 & T3, Terminator Salvation fits in perfectly with our immutable timeline started in The Terminator.

    The Sarah Connor Chronicles doesn't fit in at all but it was never meant to. The writers seemed to go out of their way to invalidate as much of T3 as possible. Plus, that show just enjoys warping shit and making things complicated.;)

    We wouldn't be fools for caring. We still have free will, which is the purpose of living. It's just that, whatever our intentions, the ultimate outcome must occur. Whether you do something or do nothing, the end result of that action or inaction is what causes what already happened to happen, although you often may not know HOW it happened.
    This is why it could have been VERY interesting had Terminator Salvation gone with its original ending where John Connor dies and Marcus Wright assumes his identity.
     
  20. hyzmarca

    hyzmarca Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Not exactly. The Many Worlds interpretation denies the reality of waveform collapse and replaces it with the mechanism of decoherence. Take the Schrodinger's cat thought experiment, in which a poison will kill a cat based on the state of a quantum probabilistic event. Without the MWI, the cat is said to be alive and dead simultaneously until waveform collapse. In MWI, it is said to remain simultaneously alive and dead after decoherence, we just only interact with one state or the other.

    In regards to time travel and consistency, the best example is the billiard ball through a wormhole example. Lets say we have a lone billiard ball sitting on a pool table and a wormhole opens up for no apparent reason. Out of this wormhole comes the billiard ball's future self, which strikes it causing it to fall into the wormhole and strike itself in the past.

    When the wormhole opens up initially, there are an infinite number of trajectories that the future billiard ball could have when it comes out, and an infinite number of trajectories would allow it to hit it's past self into the wormhole in such a way as to create a stable loop. The Many Worlds Interpretation says that each of those probable trajectories for the future billiard ball continue to exist side-by-side after decoherence.

    The important thing is that decoherence occurs when the ball comes out of the wormhole in the past, not when it enters the wormhole in the future.

    This means that there are an infinite number of ways that the time travel incident could play out. All of these ways exist simultaneously, and all are self-consistent and none interact with any of the others. You can't create a new worldline by going back in time because the decoherence caused by your appearing in the past has already occurred. The new worldlines already exist, you're just unaware of them.

    In the case of T1, there are an infinite number of self-consistent ways that the time travel could have resolved itself. Most of these would likely involve Reese impregnating Sarah, probably all of them, though the details could be wildly different. There could, for example, be a timeline in which Kyle survives and raised John with Sarah. There could even be one where Kyle isn't John's father. But, and this is a big but, we didn't see any of those other timelines. There might even be a timeline in which no one time travels at all, but that can't be said to the the original timeline, because no one from it's future ever steps into a time machine.

    When most people try to use Many Worlds to reconcile time travel, they make the mistake of thinking in hypertime. They reason that traveler from A goes back and caused B to branch off, and continues on in B. There is no hypertime.

    What happens is that a time bubble appears in 1984, at some spot. The exact spot where the bubble will appear is determined by quantum probability, though self-consistency demands that it appear close enough to Sarah Connor for the time traveler to rescue her from the Terminator (whose on time bubble has already appeared at a spot also determined by quantum probability). For every possible spot that the time bubble could appear, a timeline comes into being and a traveler from that timeline's future comes through. Most of those are Kyle Reese, probably all, though some may not be, and all are playing their part in a self-consistent predestination paradox. Some of futures are similar to the one we know, others may be radically different. This doesn't matter, because all these timelines are segregated from each other by quantum decoherence, and time travelers from one are not crossing over into another. Each has it's own self-consistent timeloop, determined by where the time bubble appeared when it came into existence in 1984, with was determined by quantum probability.

    The key is that although the timeliness do not have to be the same, they don't have to be even remotely similar, they must all be self-consistent.

    That's pretty much what the MWI is about, though it isn't exactly parallel universes. The MWI describes a quantum superposition of states that always exists, it's just that deconherence only allows us to be aware of one. It's all one universe, with all the same matter and energy, just in a different state.

    Exactly how much these states can diverge is a rather important question, and one that is up in the air. Quantum probabilities are additive, which suggests infinite potential divergence on a quantum level. However, most probabilistic quantum events have little effect on the macroscopic world, and they tend to occur in such great numbers that they all even out.
    It is unknown exactly what effects quantum events have on human thought processes. It could be significant, or it could be none at all. If probabilistic quantum events did effect human thoughts and decision making in a significant manner, then thus would eventually lead to extreme divergence, possibily of the mirror universe type.