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Episode Discussion (Spoiler Free) => Season 3 => Episode 3x17 => Topic started by: puff6962 on April 19, 2007, 01:41:01 AM

Title: Take me down to paradox city
Post by: puff6962 on April 19, 2007, 01:41:01 AM
Sorry, I'm not always crazy about the little bugga. 

But, Desmond's attempts to make the sequence of events fit his vision had already changed the reality thread.  For one thing, Desmond did not forsee the backpack and sat phone.  This stop caused a delay in their trek and the dialogue between Hurley and Charlie is altered.

Finally, when Charlie steps on the trip wire, he completes his sentence....Might as well fit Superman with kryptonite ballerina slippers.

The Hawthorne effect....Observation is Intervention.  Desmond, by simply having some knowledge of the future, alters the future.  Furthermore, since some of the losties have recognized this talent....they change their behaviors and the future is again divergent. 

(It's kinda like when Warren Buffet invests in a company.  Just that vote of confidence changes the nature of the business.  Buy railroad stock in about 3 months).

The question I have is whether Desmond's gift can EVER be useful in making long term predictions?  Also, is Desmond's knowledge of his powers, his altered behavior due to what he has seen, and his intervention factored into the vision in the first place? 

Title: Re: Take me down to paradox city
Post by: this is some crazy stuff on April 19, 2007, 01:47:38 AM
You think to much sometimes.

He said before that he sees flashes like a puzzle he doesnt know where they go and he doesnt see the whole story.

So at the beginning of the show we saw one of his puzzle pieces and just didnt see all of it.
Title: Re: Take me down to paradox city
Post by: puff6962 on April 19, 2007, 01:57:16 AM
Ya, I know.  I guess the point of the post, before I got sidetracked, was that Desmond's fear was of altering the course of events that led to the desired outcome.  Now we presume that this issue will center upon Charlie's death.  Not so.  The simple awareness of the possible future alters Desmond's actions and therefore the final result.  Desmond continually trying to make reality fit his vision had already altered the course of events before the crossbow fired. 
Title: Re: Take me down to paradox city
Post by: this is some crazy stuff on April 19, 2007, 02:04:41 AM
yea I kind of thought the same thing too.

Like if he saw all that in his vision why wouldnt he just sit back and let it all happen the way it supposed to happen.  Except save Charlie of course
Title: Re: Take me down to paradox city
Post by: xrayeck on April 19, 2007, 08:12:00 AM
Several people have touched on this in other threads, but is this the episode's real Catch-22:

If he hadn't seen the flashes, Desmond never would have trekked into the jungle to find the parachutist, but if he'd never trekked into the jungle to find the parachutist, then where did the flashes come from?

If you subscribe to the time manipulation theory (and I know many of you do not), I think this provides a giant clue because it's only a paradox if you think of time in linear terms. Puffy pointed out elsewhere that the dialogue between Hurley and Charlie is slightly different between Desmond's "flash" and the "reality" we saw later. This has to be intentional (otherwise they'd have just shot the scene once and used it twice). I think Desmond's situation is sort of similar to Scrooge's in "A Christmas Carol." By witnessing one possible future, his actions in the present can change it.
Title: Re: Take me down to paradox city
Post by: eelpie62 on April 19, 2007, 08:46:14 AM
He did manage to keep the pub tender from getting whacked with the cricket bat, so he can obviously have some effect.
That's some catch, that catch 22.
Title: Re: Take me down to paradox city
Post by: MaxsDad on April 19, 2007, 09:53:40 AM
I wish I had read this earlier!  Good point xrayeck, I brought this up on another thread! But you said it better! Our future is not written in stone. Its what we make of it!
Title: Re: Take me down to paradox city
Post by: JBRam on April 19, 2007, 10:58:48 AM
The conversation is identical up to a point where it gets longer. Des only saw a part of the conversation...

The question still stands, tho... how would Des ever have gotten out there? I can understand him seeing the beacon from the Losties Beach (possibly) and heading out from there, but not from where the cable is.
Title: Re: Take me down to paradox city
Post by: kkehoe5 on April 19, 2007, 11:48:00 AM

If he hadn't seen the flashes, Desmond never would have trekked into the jungle to find the parachutist, but if he'd never trekked into the jungle to find the parachutist, then where did the flashes come from?

I had the same problem with Minority Report. If he never saw the murder, there would be no murder, so there would be no murder to see.
Title: Re: Take me down to paradox city
Post by: WG?JIFFY on April 19, 2007, 12:30:51 PM
That is probably part of the "catch 22."  I'm not sure but how does visions of the future work?  Isn't this how you would think that seeing the future would work?  You see it then it happens, right?  Not, you see it then make it happen and it turns out different.  Then you didn't see the future you saw something happen the way you wanted it to happen!  They aren't always the same.  My mother used to say want in one hand and .....  Well you know what I mean.
They just aren't always the same.
Title: Re: Take me down to paradox city
Post by: Creflo on April 19, 2007, 02:14:18 PM
Quote
Also, is Desmond's knowledge of his powers, his altered behavior due to what he has seen, and his intervention factored into the vision in the first place?

This is the key question.


My feeling is that in the real world where no one truly sees the future, predictions are essentially guesses made based on most likely outcomes.  On the island, those who have a connection with its power are able to tap into information that is above and beyond these guesses.

What would've happened regardless of Desmond's "flash-forwards" (for lack of a better term) are:

- the beacon
- the crash
- the hanging pilot

What could've been changed by his actions:

- who goes camping (needed enough people to catch her with the chute, carry her back)
- what time of day they come upon certain areas
- Charlie gets a laryngectomy
- other pointless details such as the Flash vs Superman convo
- the pilot could've hung around undiscovered and died


I see no paradox if The Island is causing Desmond to see the events in order to ensure that the pilot is discovered in time.
Title: Re: Take me down to paradox city
Post by: T Mack on April 19, 2007, 02:54:37 PM
That is probably part of the "catch 22."  I'm not sure but how does visions of the future work?  Isn't this how you would think that seeing the future would work?  You see it then it happens, right?  Not, you see it then make it happen and it turns out different.  Then you didn't see the future you saw something happen the way you wanted it to happen!  They aren't always the same.  My mother used to say want in one hand and .....  Well you know what I mean.They just aren't always the same.

But it isn't just Desmond affecting the future.  Charlie caused the future to happen as Des 'saw' it- by not agreeing to go search for the parachutist that night.  Charlie demanded to wait until the morning to go, thereby ensuring his own death if the same events had been followed and Desmond had not intervened and tackled him at the last second.

Desmond tried to change events by suggesting they go look for the parachutist that same night, thereby ensuring that the whole sequence of events- from the trek through the jungle, to the superman conversation, to the tripping of the guy wire for the snare- would never happen.  Charlie's own persistence at 'waiting until first light' before heading out caused the future flash that Desmond saw.

So Desmond can intervene, and even multiple times, in a sequence of events to keep it from happening the way that he saw it.  I think the "Catch-22" is simple, to intervene or not intervene.  It can't be more complicatd than that.   

I think Desmond is torn between intervening when certain events may hold a desirable outcome for him or the Losties, even at the expense of Charlie dying.  For instance, the parachutist ("someone's coming? rescue? Penny?) holds the promise of being rescued and him seeing Penny but at the same time if they don't find the parachutist (satellite phone and all), they don't go on the jungle trek and therefore Charlie doesn't get skewered.  So Desmond struggles to find a way to let the parachutist event happen- and all the hope that that brings with it- and saving Charlie at the last second.  He gets to have his cake and eat it too.

So when people ask why didn't he just not form the campout group and not go on the jungle trek so that Charlies life would never be in danger in the first place, the answer is because if he didn't, then the parachutist event would not have happend (or they woudn't have seen it), the parachutist would die or never be seen, and their chance at rescue would be eliminated.

One thing I'm not so sure about is that if by intervening does it really affect the overall outcome- the parachutist landing on the island? I'm not convinced it was ever supposed to be Penny in that flight suit.
Title: Re: Take me down to paradox city
Post by: puff6962 on April 19, 2007, 04:57:07 PM
The clear division in the two threads of realities occurred when Desmond saves Charlie instead of watching him die.  This delay in their search for the parachutist would have probably spelled her death or allowed the Others to find her first.  In any event, it may be this outcome (in addition to what Charlie may now do or what the other survivors would have done as a result of his death) that will alter the "picture on the box" that Demond foresaw.
Title: Re: Take me down to paradox city
Post by: T Mack on April 19, 2007, 05:09:03 PM
The clear division in the two threads of realities occurred when Desmond saves Charlie instead of watching him die.  This delay in their search for the parachutist would have probably spelled her death or allowed the Others to find her first.  In any event, it may be this outcome (in addition to what Charlie may now do or what the other survivors would have done as a result of his death) that will alter the "picture on the box" that Demond foresaw.

True but even prior to that, Charlie had to postpone the trip until the next morning.  If they had gone that night at Des's instistence, that would have altered the timeline sufficiently such that Charlie's life would never have been in danger and the parachutist was promptly rescued.
Title: Re: Take me down to paradox city
Post by: puff6962 on April 19, 2007, 05:23:32 PM
Maybe the parachutist was not supposed to be rescued....
Title: Re: Take me down to paradox city
Post by: lili517 on April 19, 2007, 06:24:32 PM
Maybe the parachutist was not supposed to be rescued....

No matter what they did, stuck to what Des saw in the vision or not, unless they waited an extra day or something, the parachutist would be rescued

What I am wondering is how diffrent would the outcome have been if Des didn't save Charlie?  They still got to the parachutist.  And if Des would have let Charlie die AND not help him b/c he is in a hurry, wouldnt people on the island get very upset since they know he knew what would happen and wouldnt that be an even worse outcome? 
Title: Re: Take me down to paradox city
Post by: The Professor on April 19, 2007, 07:59:27 PM
So is the catch-22 let Charlie die and ensure that Desmond finds what he is looking for or save Charlie and risk losing what he thought at the time was Penny?  I think that is what the Catch-22 of the episode is, at least on the surface...
Title: Re: Take me down to paradox city
Post by: LouE68 on April 19, 2007, 09:49:18 PM
Sorry, I'm not always crazy about the little bugga. 

But, Desmond's attempts to make the sequence of events fit his vision had already changed the reality thread.  For one thing, Desmond did not forsee the backpack and sat phone.  This stop caused a delay in their trek and the dialogue between Hurley and Charlie is altered.

Finally, when Charlie steps on the trip wire, he completes his sentence....Might as well fit Superman with kryptonite ballerina slippers.

The Hawthorne effect....Observation is Intervention.  Desmond, by simply having some knowledge of the future, alters the future.  Furthermore, since some of the losties have recognized this talent....they change their behaviors and the future is again divergent. 

(It's kinda like when Warren Buffet invests in a company.  Just that vote of confidence changes the nature of the business.  Buy railroad stock in about 3 months).

The question I have is whether Desmond's gift can EVER be useful in making long term predictions?  Also, is Desmond's knowledge of his powers, his altered behavior due to what he has seen, and his intervention factored into the vision in the first place? 


Why do you say it's a gift? Seems more of a curse.
Title: Re: Take me down to paradox city
Post by: jillybean4u on April 20, 2007, 04:23:48 PM
I have nothing to add, but wow, may I applaud all of you.  This is the most intelligent, thought out & interesting thread I have read in some time!!
Title: Re: Take me down to paradox city
Post by: puff6962 on April 20, 2007, 04:32:30 PM
Some gifts are, in fact, curses.  In Viet Nam, there is a curse that translates....may you live in interesting times.  So, maybe we are cursed as well.  

Again, the Hawthorne Effect.  Observation is Intervention.  We see the same thing in quantum mechanics.  But, my question is whether, if Desmond had never enlisted Hurley and the crew to come with him, then would they have got the idea on their own to take the outing?  Would there have been some other inspiration for the four to go out on a trek?

The paradox of having visions of the future, when such visions are depedent upon you actions based upon these visions, is apparent.  Did I say that right?

It is the classic fortune teller, O. Henry, twist....you get your future told, you do everything you can to escape the bad and capture the good, but those actions lead only to the bad that was foretold.  (I hate to say this, but watch the movie, 'Premonition').

Observation is intervention, so if one gets a glimpse of the future, is one's reactions to that glimpse already factored into the content of the glimpse?

Ha. I managed to say that twice in different ways.
Title: Re: Take me down to paradox city
Post by: LouE68 on April 20, 2007, 04:42:12 PM
Some gifts are, in fact, curses.  In Viet Nam, there is a curse that translates....may you live in interesting times.  So, maybe we are cursed as well.  

Again, the Hawthorne Effect.  Observation is Intervention.  We see the same thing in quantum mechanics.  But, my question is whether, if Desmond had never enlisted Hurley and the crew to come with him, then would they have got the idea on their own to take the outing?  Would there have been some other inspiration for the four to go out on a trek?

The paradox of having visions of the future, when such visions are depedent upon you actions based upon these visions, is apparent.  Did I say that right?

It is the classic fortune teller, O. Henry, twist....you get your future told, you do everything you can to escape the bad and capture the good, but those actions lead only to the bad that was foretold.  (I hate to say this, but watch the movie, 'Premonition').

Observation is intervention, so if one gets a glimpse of the future, is one's reactions to that glimpse already factored into the content of the glimpse?

Ha. I managed to say that twice in different ways.
those are two different definitions of gift....
Title: Re: Take me down to paradox city
Post by: puff6962 on April 20, 2007, 04:45:35 PM
sorry, I should have consulted wikipedia.
Title: Re: Take me down to paradox city
Post by: LouE68 on April 20, 2007, 04:53:50 PM
sorry, I should have consulted wikipedia.
try Webster ;)
Title: Re: Take me down to paradox city
Post by: Creflo on April 20, 2007, 04:57:07 PM
I think I have an analogy that will help some folks understand what is happening here, because there is a clear distinction between the events that we have control over and those we do not. 

If someone has Desmond's gift/curse, it is like getting travel directions from some nitwit, not like knowing the way or even having a map.

Directions are something like this:

Quote
Go along the beach until you see a wire.  Turn left at the beacon.  Pass the arrow through the throat and stop when you get to the hanging Naomi

While this is more useful than having no knowledge at all, it is no substitute for a map or a thorough understanding of the terrain.  And, I'm not just talking about physical landmarks here.  Desmond's landmarks are visions of events in time, not just locations.

As we all know from following flawed or incomplete directions i.r.l., once you make a wrong turn, your whole journey could be thrown off.  If you have a map you can get back on course, but in this discussion about time journeys, all roads are one-way and sometimes "you can't get there from here".


What I think folks are missing is that some things are out of Desmond's control.  If a pilot falls in the woods and no one is around to hear it...it DOES still happen.  It is one of the landmarks.  If Desmond "drives" the wrong way because he missed a "turn" and got on the wrong path, Naomi would just hang there.

Certain things are destined to happen, and Desmond happens to have glimpses of some of the ways in which they could happen.  "Difficult to see is the future...always in motion", says Yoda.  Some things can be interfered with and some things you can rely on to happen regardless of your meddling.  For example, let's say that I take my precog to the casino.  I foresee the shooter on the craps table will throw a seven, so I bet accordingly.  However, the action of me placing a bet causes a slight delay in the shooter's roll so now he throws something different.  On the other hand, if I head to the Roulette table and the ball is already in motion, I can reliably bet according to my vision because it will not affect the outcome in any way.

This distinction I point out in my above post:

Quote
What would've happened regardless of Desmond's "flash-forwards" (for lack of a better term) are:

- the beacon
- the crash
- the hanging pilot

What could've been changed by his actions:

- who goes camping (needed enough people to catch her with the chute, carry her back)
- what time of day they come upon certain areas
- Charlie gets a laryngectomy
- other pointless details such as the Flash vs Superman convo
- the pilot could've hung around undiscovered and died


Sorry, I just quoted myself.


In conclusion, Desmond has some scatter-brained directions...not a map.  If he follows them carefully, he can arrive at his destination.

btw, here's the map I'm referring to:

(http://static.flickr.com/39/77304344_41ec14a3b9_o.jpg)
Title: Re: Take me down to paradox city
Post by: Chefpyro on April 20, 2007, 11:58:13 PM
Desmond asked Jack for the first aid kit, so that he could pull out the arrow, i guess, anyway that first action started the whole chain of events off in a way that wasn't consistent with the vision, therefore starting a whole new sequence of events.
<------Pyro[move]
Title: Re: Take me down to paradox city
Post by: puff6962 on April 21, 2007, 12:40:14 PM
I have to restate a question.....

If the crux of the episode is "Catch-22," and we are led to believe that the catch-22 involved Charlie, then how did Charlie's fate effect any outcome?

Charlie lived, and they still found the parachutist, but she was a black female and not Penny.  How would this have changed if Charlie had died?  In other words, what's different now? 

How could Charlie's death effected an event that had already occurred (the parachutist had already landed)?

Additionally, they had already found the backpack, the Sat phone, and the book/picture prior to Charlie's event....so that is unchanged.

Only one thing is different.  The group was not meant to find this lady alive!  They would have been delayed by Charlie's dying and all, had to take him back to camp, and give a eulogy for the little garden hopper.  Eventually, they would set out, find Naomi's body, hypothesize who she was and put her in the sand.

So, the next conclusion to be drawn is that this Naomi babe will lead the Losties in a direction away from Desmond being reunited with Penny.  Perhaps, if she had died, another attempt to cross onto the island would have been made.  Likely, nobody else in Penny's team would have attempted it (no matter how much money she paid them) and Penny would have had to do it herself.

Further, Penny's team may now assume that Naomi made it onto the island and are awaiting information.  During this time, something bad may happen to the endeavor.

Finally, the wierd possibilites....Desmond is really with Penny now, Naomi is Bizarro Penny, Penny is dead, Penny is an Other (and Naomi is a plant), blah blah blah.

So, watch out for this Naomi girl because the island/fate was telling Desmond that she is a little dangerous.

Title: Re: Take me down to paradox city
Post by: Austruck on April 21, 2007, 08:22:01 PM
It seems to me that Desmond desperately tried to avoid Charlie's larygectomy (LOL, love that word) by suggesting they go at night. Charlie, who sometimes doesn't trust Desmond now that he knows what's going on, insists they wait till it's light out, which is safer. (And Charlie's all about safety these days!)

Desmond challenges him at first but then realizes he's not going to change Charlie's mind and so he relents.

But now Desmond has to instead pull off another of his heroic "interventions" to save Charlie's life.

I don't think it has anything to do with Desmond WANTING Charlie to die. He's never wanted Charlie to die before. And he's had good end results despite having intervened before, so he knows that's possible.

I think it's as simple as Plan A (go into the jungle at night to change the flash timeline), or Plan B (relent to Charlie's request and then just save him at the very last minute in order to preserve as much of the flash timeline as possible).

Did I mention lately that I love this show?   ;D
Title: Re: Take me down to paradox city
Post by: Chefpyro on April 23, 2007, 09:26:45 PM
or C, let everything happen the way it's supposed to.
<------Pyro[move]
Title: Re: Take me down to paradox city
Post by: puff6962 on April 23, 2007, 10:58:17 PM
Realize that Abraham was very old, and Isaac an adult, at the time of the sacrifice.  Isaac, it would seem to me, was tested even more than Abraham as he was required to not only have faith in God but also in his father's judgement. 

In this scenario, Charlie will be required to sacrifice himself and then all will be made clear.  The little bugga's goin to do something heroic all in the name of the greater good.
Title: Re: Take me down to paradox city
Post by: T Mack on April 24, 2007, 01:52:56 PM

I
Quote
have to restate a question.....

If the crux of the episode is "Catch-22," and we are led to believe that the catch-22 involved Charlie, then how did Charlie's fate effect any outcome?

Charlie lived, and they still found the parachutist, but she was a black female and not Penny.  How would this have changed if Charlie had died?  In other words, what's different now? 


Because it wasn't a real "Catch-22", it was an imagined one.  Desmond thought that the parachutist was to be Penny, but she was never Penny.  The Catch -22 in his mind (wrongly) was whether or not to save Charlie, or see Penny.  In the end, Desmond tried to compensate by saving Charlie and then still going to find the parachutist- in effect getting both Charlie saved and seeing Penny, but since he was wrong on the Penny part of the vision, he found Naomi instead.

Letting Charlie die would have actually potentially 'not saved' the parachutist because then they would have had to stop to deal with Charlie's death, and the parachutist may not have lived.  But Desmond's misinterpretation of that vision was that if he changed any events in the timeline (i.e., saving Charlie) it would change the outcome (i.e., no Penny).  But since he did change events and there was no Penny anyway (there never was intended to be), it is revealed that he can change certain events and still get the same outcome.
Title: Re: Take me down to paradox city
Post by: Wishbone on April 25, 2007, 03:35:51 PM
Desmond is inadvertently changing things by making them follow the same path - if his visions are real visions into the future then he wouldn't have needed to gather the right people together and take them to the cable etc.... All of these things would have happenned anyway so I think his interference is unnecessary really. Either he doesn't grasp this or he's trying to change the future. His behaviour does kind of confuse me.

Title: Re: Take me down to paradox city
Post by: Creflo on April 25, 2007, 05:09:06 PM
No one (even in fiction) can have a "vision of the future".  By that I mean that these characters could only see likely outcomes based on events outside of their influence.  Accurate visions of the past?  Sure.  But if someone sees something coming that they can change, it's not a vision of the future.

The parachutist was coming, and Desmond saw one possible way that he could find her.

Also, it's not a Catch-22 per se.  The episode has the title because the featured book has the title.  She probably was reading the book because it pertains to pilots and not because it would have some significance to her mission and I don't think it was placed in there by TPTB as an allusion to Desmond's dilemma.

Also, people are misunderstanding the meaning of a "Catch 22".  It's not so much a damned-if-you-do-damned-if-you-don't situation.  It's more of a circular logic predicament.

From the book:
Quote
There was only one catch and that was Catch-22, which specified that a concern for one's safety in the face of dangers that were real and immediate was the process of a rational mind. Orr was crazy and could be grounded. All he had to do was ask; and as soon as he did, he would no longer be crazy and would have to fly more missions. Orr would be crazy to fly more missions and sane if he didn't, but if he was sane he had to fly them. If he flew them he was crazy and didn't have to; but if he didn't want to he was sane and had to.

Not Catch-22:
- Charlie has to die for the party to get "rescued"

potential made-up Catch-22:
- For an Other to leave The Island he must have his mind right and completed his training.  Having his mind right means knowing that The Island is where he belongs and he should never leave.  If he asks to leave, his training must not be complete so he's sent to Room 23 for reprogramming.

Title: Re: Take me down to paradox city
Post by: puff6962 on April 25, 2007, 05:23:55 PM
Let's assume that what Desmond is seeing is not "visions" at all, but instructions from the island.  Desmond doesn't really know what to do with the things he sees....

Assume first that what the Ring lady said was true....the universe is course correcting.  So, the little mushroom sitter (Charlie) is going to die anyway.  If that's the case, then why even waste Desmond's time with the vision?

I would offer another take on the whole Catch-22 and Abraham metaphors.  Desmond receives the visions as a form of instruction.  The island is asking him to do something.  That something is to delay the death of Charlie (hold back the tide of the universe) until Charlie's death serves a greater purpose.

Title: Re: Take me down to paradox city
Post by: Cardacct on June 29, 2007, 08:44:14 PM

If he hadn't seen the flashes, Desmond never would have trekked into the jungle to find the parachutist, but if he'd never trekked into the jungle to find the parachutist, then where did the flashes come from?

I had the same problem with Minority Report. If he never saw the murder, there would be no murder, so there would be no murder to see.

Amen and amen to that.  That was my problem, too.

I suppose that Desmond is only seeing the possible future and not the actual future.  I just have to forget about my own inhibitions with all the crappy time manipulation in TV and movies and just go with the story.