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Free will (spoilers) 
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Post Free will (spoilers)
***spoilers***

I didn't find a lot of things to discuss from the book, but the notion of free will (and how the author deals with it) is kind of interesting.

On page 46, "Things happen the way they happened, once and only once. I'm not a proponent of splitting universes."

On page 57, "There is only free will when you are in time, in the present."

On Page 76, Henry and Clare discuss some different possibilities:
Determinism or block universe: Past, present, and future all coexist simultaneously and everything has already happened.
Choas: Anything can happen and nothing can be predicted because we can't know all the variables.
Christian Universe: God made everything and it's all here for a purpose, but we have free will.

"Work like you don't need the money. Love like you've never been hurt. Dance like nobody is watching." -- Keller Williams




Tue Jun 27, 2006 6:44 pm


Post Re: Free will (spoilers)
As I mentioned in another thread, I wish Henry or Clare would have experimented a little with free will. I guess the fact that they didn't, allows us to make our own judgements on what would have happened. Henry says when traveling to the past, we can only do what we did, and we can only be here (in our present) if we were there (in the past). So, if it is a block universe (determinism), with no God, and no free will, what (magical?) force could affect one to act in a certain way? What force ensured that things happened exactly the way that they did? If it was a chaotic or christian universe, Henry would have been able to have free will.

my thoughts.

"Work like you don't need the money. Love like you've never been hurt. Dance like nobody is watching." -- Keller Williams




Tue Jun 27, 2006 6:58 pm
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I'm not sure if this is quite the right answer or response to your question but...

It was my understanding, at least in some respect, that at least when things came to Clare, Henry did what he already knew he had done because it was what would lead him to her continually. He chose her so why would be behave differently?

Also (it's been a little while since I've read it so my memory may be hazy), wasn't this partly explained in Henry's visits to his mother's death? I thought he *had* tried to change things and to stop her from dying but failed every time.

Though maybe those circumstances were a little too different...

Anyway, I guess what I'm saying is that I saw Henry as having free will and Clare as having free will and that throughout the novel they continually choose each other and choose to be together which is why they rely on the "past" each is familiar with: it's just another way of choosing each other.

I'm not sure if that makes a WHOLE lot of sense, but I'd love to hear other people's thoughts on this!



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Post Re: Free will (spoilers)
I just stumbled across this and it made me think back to a play I'm currently studying called "Agnes of God" by John Pielmier.
A quote from it:
"two thousand years ago some people believe a man was born without a father. Now today no intelligent person accepts that without question. We want answers, yes, that's the nature of science, but look at the answers we provide.. An angel came to the women in a shaft of light, hysterical parthenogenisis. If those are the answers the answers are crazy. If those are the answers, no wonder people like you don't believe in miracles."

I'm not a particularly religious person, I guess I'd call myself Agnostic. However I believe that Claire and Henry could have come together by a very divine miracle. Or perhaps something in her childhood led her to Henry.. Perhaps she was never actually meant to meet Henry? After all ... Henry had these moments of time travel as a boy before he met Claire. So in some ways it could be suggested that Claire meeting Henry could have been avoided?
So Claire is the stimulus, the anchor for the story if you like.. Or .. its been such a long time since I read the book! :P Was it said what she was doing? Just outside playing?
:) but I agree, the topic of free-will in this novel is interesting.. I do associate it with miracles somewhat though.


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