Monday, April 20, 2009
Whatever happened, happened
Not only is that the past tense of Jordan Catalano's "philosophy," it's also the title of a recent episode of Lost, a brilliant but NOT canceled television show. On Lost, characters have found themselves traveling through time, leaving a handful of them stuck in 1977. Miles has come into contact with his baby self. Anyway, the idea of "whatever happened, happened" is that the future can't be altered. The past is the past, and anything before "now" cannot be changed.
This is all very vague terminology. As it applies to "Lost," the vagueness adds to the mystery of the show and gives its writers some wiggle room. But really, the past is constantly being altered by the present and the future. We revisit the past, and we revise the past based on our current understandings and beliefs. Yes, we continue to learn more through research and scholarship, and that alters our understandings, but we also reinterpret the past to fit our narratives.
I could pull this out more, but my head is fried after two straight days of hanging out at the airport and trying to go overseas, only to have the planes fill with just enough people to lock me and my brother out. It hasn't been bad, really - the uncertainty was the hardest part - and we'll try again another time. Besides, a full, arching rainbow stretched over the terminal so that we could see where it began and where it ended. Paris en ete!