Part 1: illusion of sufficiency (Dark explained away)
>> Part 2: what does work (Deus Ex Machina)
Part 3: what doesn’t work (bootstrap paradox)

Circular family tree, and its unraveling

I’m not going to explain here the things the show explains well (in the sense that the show’s explanation is fine), there are so many websites and videos that do that job, showing how so much is actually really well made and meticulously put together. Lots of small details, references, links between characters. The overall picture is indeed daunting and impressive, awe-inspiring in its complexity, an overall masterful construction. Like clockwork, opening it and seeing all the small parts precisely built and arranged.

The one that works better for me is the circular shape, and concept, of the family tree at the end of the third season. There’s especially a chart on the wikipedia that is well arranged.

At the end of the second season the biggest revelation was the Charlotte-Elisabeth-Charlotte paradox, but with the third season we realize instead this is not some weird feature happening on the side, it’s the actual CORE.

It creates the concept of a ball of yarn, linking the family trees and the events. With the finale, and the removal of time travel, it’s like pulling one end and see this ball of yarn unravel… almost completely. You realize a number of characters will simply vanish, not just Jonas and Martha.

Part of the implied journey of Claudia would be exactly this: find out who’s “real” and who’s created by the time anomaly. When she realizes that a great number of people are “spurious”, and especially having found out that who she cares about (herself and Regina) are outside this mess, she decides to erase this current reality through the solution that we see happen.

(see me here crossing all those that I think are certainly gone)

At its core this is just a pure Donnie Darko: the current time travel knot is seen as some sort of evil corruption that needs to be eradicated to make things wholesome again. In Donnie Darko, Donnie is eventually “instructed” to sacrifice himself in order to resolve the anomaly. In Dark… Claudia is the bunny (even if moved by more egoistical motivations). She instructs Adam to do what Donnie does. A sacrifice to fix the timeline and make things “normal” again (they aren’t normal, but we’ll see this later).

I’ll examine this more in detail, but I appreciate this construction. The elegant unraveling of the ball of yarn, the way the family tree(s) was all connected, forming this overall giant loop that links all the families together. That’s rather well executed.

Claudia, as a logical and functioning Deus Ex Machina

Here we get to the real deal (and, if you scroll, you see this part being unreasonably long). It’s a mess. It’s a mess not because it’s especially dense, but because it’s made of two parts, and this is what created ripples all over the internet.

The two parts, when fused, become: the bootstrap paradox.

The bootstrap paradox is the meta-narrative knot. Because it doesn’t just represents the time-knot within the show, but it’s also the knot of the discussion here.

ALL OF US who have watched Dark to its end get split into two groups: those who think that the bootstrap paradox needs to have an explanation, otherwise the whole plot has no rational motivation to exist and makes no sense at all, and those who think the explanation of the bootstrap paradox is that… it’s a paradox. The foundation of Dark establishes this is the nature of time, that this paradox is real, and so there’s nothing to explain.

In the previous part I wrote that Dark gives a sufficient feel of depth because someone who studied a bit of philosophy, epistemology and ontology KNOWS that paradoxes do not exist. They do not exist and they cannot be found, without unraveling the whole concept of human consciousness. Human mind, and reality, isn’t compatible with the concept of paradoxes. Yet we use the concept and the word commonly in our daily life. And that’s why Dark can get away with it. It’s a common concept. But it works, for us, because the concept depends on the nature of representation, not reality.

More simply: paradoxes exist within models and representations, not reality. Paradoxes surface to point where our framework isn’t sufficient to correctly represent reality. When we have simplified and abstracted too much.

That’s why when you produce and find a (apparent) paradox that’s a sign you’ve made a mistake. It’s not the signal you’ve discovered something spooky and weird, it’s the signal you’ve messed up.

But this isn’t a philosophical treatise where I demonstrate paradoxes cannot exist and why, the purpose is to show that the bootstrap paradox specifically cannot exist within the context and rules Dark itself has established. It doesn’t work. This one paradox, not paradoxes in general.

One step back, I said all of us divide into those who accept the paradox and those who reject it, but this is also the mess I’ve pointed at: Dark uses two types of bootstrap paradoxes. It’s Dark itself that produces one form of bootstrap paradox that is inexcusable, illogical and self-contradicting, and then another whose solution exists, and is entirely logical and coherent with the given rules. Dark itself shows that the bootstrap paradox CAN be explained, if you do your job well.

In this first part I’ll re-explain what’s essentially an hypothesis about Dark’s finale. Why it can work logically, and why it can work ONLY this one way. It’s still an hypothesis because it’s merely coherent with all Dark established, but still speculation since what I’m going to say… hasn’t been shown. What I say is going to be COMPATIBLE with canon, but is not canonical. Because not explicitly shown.

Since we’ll deal with convoluted stuff, let’s spoil it from the beginning. Dark’s concept of time is like “solid determinism.” It means that time is fixed, and no character within this structure has “free will”, in the sense that every action is already inscribed in. Nothing can be altered.

There’s only one (logical) way to break this cycle: external intervention. This isn’t just one trick we have to break the cycle. It’s the ONLY trick. And it works. That determinism is very easily disrupted the moment you can create an interference. Something coming from the outside that slips in. Chaos theory, on complex systems (reality is of course a complex system), says that even a super-small variable introduced can trigger LARGE upsets all over the surface of the system. One tiny nudge and that fancy determinism goes ALL to shit.

Back to Dark: we need external intervention, even to create the POSSIBILITY of variation…

Let’s stop here a moment for a small sidetrack. In Dark time doesn’t cycle. Even if the canon tells you, again and again, that time DOES cycle. This is just utterly stupid and it’s worth clarifying. If something cycles identically, then there’s no point “ahead” of the cycle. Something doesn’t move onward if it’s always identically the same. Identity opposes variation. There is no motion, no distinction. If we observe a wheel turning identically, we measure these cycles because we reference the movement of the wheel with our external point of reference of time. We know the time, we know the position of the wheel. But in Dark there isn’t any meta-time tracking the progress of time. Time is one thing. We know that when the knot is formed (the two dimensions of Adam and Eva), it forms ALL AT ONCE, already incorporating ALL the actions of ALL characters. Characters within, perceive time linearly, but time itself appears in existence all at once. Without meta-time to track progress, and without progress because rules establish that nothing is different and everything is perfectly immutable, it means that nothing can fucking cycle. To determine a cycle you need at least two distinct points. It needs to move to cycle. But you cannot have two points of a thing that is fixed and identical. This is VERY important because it allows to then find WHEN the thing is kicked onward and the actual cycle happens. Sidetrack over.

Let’s start collecting these basic concepts. We have this universe, that is deterministic and fixed, it DOESN’T cycle. It’s called block-universe, in the sense that it’s fully formed and self-consistent. A syllogism: if we know the block universe is fixed, and the characters inside part of this universe, then no character will have even the hypothetical option to produce a change. How can this block universe be disrupted then? We already know: external intervention.

Here I go for a little story I’ve created to explain how time-travel works. It will feel like over-explanining, but I like to wrestle complex things to make them as simple and plain as possible. You either have patience and enjoy this journey, or not. It will be useful because we will set all the rules, then we’ll play the game.

Let’s use an arbitrary cycle-block of years. It starts in 1950 and ends in 2000. Exactly 50 years. The theory of the “loop” wants that in the year 2000 there’s an apocalypse that resets time to 1950, and then it keeps cycling endlessly.

Let’s take any person who DOESN’T time travel, still part of this loop. Let’s say this guy in 1950 is 20 years old. Then in the 2000 year he’ll be 70 (his initial 20 + 50 of the cycle). At that point, from year 2000 we go back to 1950, but everything resets (this person doesn’t time travel), so he’s back as his 20 years old self, with no memory of the previous cycle (and the reason why we already know that nothing actually cycles, but it’s not important here). This is the standard: when the entire cycle loops memories don’t carry over to the next cycle. It’s a clean wipe.

Now let’s use a time traveler. Take a traveler, with a time machine, whose journey is set like this: a minute before the apocalypse he opens a gate and time travels back to 1990. Let’s also say that, before time-traveling, the traveler is 20 years old in 1990.

At the first go, the traveler is 20 years old in 1990, lives to 30 when we get to 2000. Goes through the first portal back to 1990. Lives again normally from 1990 to 2000, then travels back, always the same.

That means that every time he hits the 2000s he’s 10 years older, because he keeps going through the 1900 -> 2000 segment, over and over again.

It also means that a time traveler can perform “infinite” time jumps, that aren’t strictly infinite, because he keeps linearly aging. So he can only travel and experience the world as long he doesn’t die of age. As long his own personal linear time lasts. A finite amount.

This type of time travel allows the traveler to retain all his memories. All the information he gathers by going around the timeline is information that accumulates. Because these are internal jumps, and are of a different type from the overall 2000 -> 1950 world-time-loop we established above.

Internal time loops let travelers build information, general loops instead wipe that information and restart clean.

Explaining it better in the context of Dark: let’s say that whenever our traveler jumps back to 1990 he meets his younger self. Let’s also say that the traveler, before dying of old age, performs 7 jumps in total (so he gets to 90 years old). Since all these jumps are “internal”, the traveler will meet, already at the first jump as at the last, seven copies of himself at the same time. All of them being there at once. Each 10 years older than the other. Because these are internal jumps and so all coexistent and part of the same overall cycle.

From this we can deduce some general rules: it’s not possible to transfer knowledge from an overall cycle to another. When someone dies, his own memories are wiped with the cycle. But instead as long he lives he can jump internally and retain all he finds out.

(here I start using some conventions. “Alpha” defines Adam’s dimension, “Beta” defines Eva’s dimension. Won’t be used here, but I’ll also use Z1 as the original world and Z2 as the output of the finale)

All this, exactly as written, applies to the character of Adam in Dark. Adam/Jonas is a time traveler, within Alpha, who gathers knowledge by jumping around internally while he ages in his linear time. Of course he cannot send this knowledge to the NEXT overall cycle, because all memories are wiped and nothing carries over.

…But there’s another type of traveler in Dark: the meta-traveler.

A meta-traveler is Eva-Martha. From Eva’s Beta-dimension she INVADES Adam’s Alpha dimension, and “kidnaps” Jonas. She doesn’t simply travel internally within her native Beta, but she crosses over to Alpha.

Another meta-traveler is Claudia. She works for Eva, who entrusts her for the technology to travel to Alpha, and collaborate (or spy) with the other Claudia in Alpha.

Meanwhile in Alpha we have Adam, who between all these three is the only one who doesn’t know about this meta-traveling. In fact that’s why his plan to kill Martha and the “Origin” ultimately fizzles: because he’s not aware of the Beta world and so he doesn’t know there’s another Martha going around and still preserving the knot. He’s only aware of one half of the thing, and so his plan doesn’t add up.

…The other two, Eva/Martha and Claudia, not only travel internally, but also externally between dimensions.

This meta-traveling creates the premise for the “loophole.” We established above that to change this fixed cycle there’s only one way possible, external intervention. Well, meta-traveling IS external intervention. In principle.

Bingo? Nope. What we find out is that this meta-traveling isn’t external, it’s instead… delusional. This is what causes many headaches for a lot of people watching Dark, because they face a contradiction: we see through the first two seasons that some characters (like Ulrich) try to break the cycle only to *produce* what they tried to cancel. Yet we see Eva, as another blatant example, who actively works to PRESERVE the cycle, as if the cycle needed active intervention or risk going off the rails.

The solution to this apparent contradiction is that Eva is just as delusional as Adam (not really, but a complete explanation needs more pieces). what Eva does is PRODUCE the cycle. Because the cycle is not what it seems. We’re led to believe there’s an Alpha-Adam world with its cycle, and a “parallel universe” Beta-Eva, where Jonas normally doesn’t exist, with its own separate cycle. This is false. What we have is instead a Moebius strip (the “8” symbol of infinity). One half is Alpha, the second half is Beta. The actual cycle is Alpha and Beta as ONE cycle made of two parts, fused together as one. That’s why, for example, Eva sends that creature of pure evil that is her son to produce the incident in the nuclear plant, in BOTH worlds. She’s the hidden hand between many important events. She isn’t preserving the cycle, she creates it as it is.

Therefore, meta-traveling between Alpha and Beta cannot count as actual “meta”. It LOOKS LIKE it’s external, because it’s either external to Alpha or Beta (interference in Alpha created by something that arrives from Beta, breaking Alpha’s stillness). But now we know the cycle is the FUSION of Alpha and Beta, so what comes in Alpha from Beta comes still from WITHIN the overall cycle. It doesn’t break any fucking pattern. It IS the pattern. Eva ends up just as caged as everyone else.

So? How’s the finale is possible (since it is logically possible, this is the conclusion I’m driving toward)? If we need external intervention and meta-traveling isn’t it, from where does it come from?

Well… Claudia. Claudia? Claudia is just internal to the loop as everyone else. So logically she’s just as trapped. What gives Claudia an utterly magical status that lets her steps out of the thing, give it a kick, and send it onto a wholly new course? Well, it’s the fun part. It’s also the part that Dark doesn’t show, so we have to speculate, staying within the rules we’re given.

To explain this I’m going to create some premises. These premises might appear arbitrary, but trust me, I only use them to simplify the solution, and they aren’t necessary.

The first premise is to set up the context. In the original world Tannhauser feels sad, this motivates him to create the device that eventually produces the mess as we know it, by succeeding essentially. So we assume that the moment Tannhauser’s machine is activated, Tannhauser’s dimension ceases to exist. Gone. In the part above we assumed (within Dark’s concept) that when a dimension is created, that dimension is created as fully formed all at once. It’s not built linearly, it’s built at once even if its logic still is compatible with a linear perception.

So, Z1, the original world of Tannhauser, ceases to exist. Is immediately replaced by what we identify as the “knot”, or the fusion of Alpha and Beta. You can think the knot as a cycle, but we know this is a superficial perception, the knot appears into existence as fully formed, and it’s stable, static. It doesn’t really cycle because time doesn’t move. The linear flow of time is trapped in there, and we know the only disruption possible needs to come from outside. But outside there’s no disruption because Tannhauser’s world is gone. When the knot is created, that’s the ONLY world/dimension that exists. Outside there’s only the void of emptiness. And so it looks like a dead end: we need intervention from outside, but the set-up establishes there’s nothing outside.

It’s like a locked-room mystery where it’s simply impossible to have a solution. There’s just no leverage.

But we have a Claudia, and we have a loophole.

What Adam believes, is plausible and legitimate. An Alpha dimension, that loops on itself. He just happens to be wrong because there’s this loop, but it’s built by the fusion of Alpha and Beta. Eva knows this, but she wants to PRESERVE this cycle, apparently happy enough of how things turn out. Who’s not happy at all, is Claudia, who knows what Eva’s doing, knows this knot being built of Alpha and Beta. Through her own travels back and forth Claudia also puts together the overall family tree, to find out that both herself and her daughter aren’t caught in that messy web. And that’s why she decides to unravel it… who cares about everyone else if both her and her daughter end up in a better place? She’s just another player of the game who’s been served a lucky hand.

Up to this point I’ve explained why characters do what they do, but I haven’t explained HOW Claudia does what she tries to. So let’s move to examine the loophole.

We know there’s a loophole, because I’ve introduced it above, the meta-travel. Eva can travel to Alpha and kidnap Jonas, creating the knot itself. The knot is created through the loophole that Eva uses. Traveling between Alpha and Beta. But Eva uses the loophole to preserve the knot. Eva then entrusts Claudia to perform various activities, without realizing that Claudia eventually finds out she’s outside the monstrous family tree and there’s a possible alternate dimension where both her and her daughter are much happier. Adam doesn’t know the loophole, Eva knows it, but uses it to preserve it, Claudia knows it, through Eva, who carelessly trusts her, but eventually Claudia has her own wishes, and decides to use the loophole to BREAK the cycle. She is in that unique position because she knows how (the loophole) and wants to (because she’s researched the family tree and understood its anomaly, and that it can be unraveled, returning to her “normal”).

Here we find the first of the two keys needed to open the lock of the locked room. The loophole creates alternative universes. This is an exception to the rules of Dark. We had established that time is fixed, solid, no change possible unless from outside. But during season three we know there’s ONE EXCEPTION: the loophole. The use of the loophole splits dimensions, because it creates real change. Beta is split from Alpha. Adam, who didn’t know of the loophole, was logically believing in Alpha being autonomous. But there’s Beta. Beta is a divergence. An actual change. This is THE FRAUD, the key. Eva could have used the loophole to produce change, but she didn’t merely because she willed the cycle. She worked to produce it. But the loophole doesn’t HAVE TO produce a cycle. The dimensions can be split. Eva split them to then forcefully bend both Alpha and Beta to be fused, but all this isn’t mandatory in the rules, it’s simply produced by her personal will.

Claudia, who’s entrusted to this knowledge by Eva, betrays Eva to develop her own agenda and pursue her own goal. Her own goal being to weed out this time travel mess, because she knows she has a better alternative. She CAN use the loophole TO bring change. Because that’s what the loophole does as it was defined: produce change. Unless that change is produced by an Eva, that simply uses it to generate a larger mess. It could have been just an Alpha looping, like Adam believed, or Alpha + Beta, aka the knot. Or maybe 16 dimensions all entangled together into a giant mess, even if that’s quite hard to motivate.

What I mean is that there isn’t anything mandatory that says there needs to be one dimension looping, or two, or twenty. We just happen to have two, the knot. And then have a Claudia that doesn’t like it, and has reasons to disrupt all of it.

We know what Claudia wants to do and why, but HOW can she escape the loop?

We established above that when an entire cycle loops (the overall fusion of Alpha and Beta, in this case) all the memories the characters have, are wiped. This means there’s no way for Claudia to pass over information to the next cycle, so that 100, or 2000 cycles later she might find out something new. In fact we know that when the second cycle starts, everyone is hammered down into the same roles. So, the second cycle is going to be identical to the 2.000.000 cycle, and so on.

The trigger is the first. And here we obtain the second key, that is already enough to open the lock and explain what we see.

We know that when we are at the second cycle, we’re already locked in. But that leaves a door open in the very first cycle.

Yet, canon wants that when Claudia reaches Adam she tells him that the cycle has gone on and on, and yet again she also tells him it’s the very first time they met at that point. I’ll try to stay within this.

Claudia needs to act at the very first cycle. So she does know (has to) about the loophole before the first cycle closes. And she has to use it, before this cycle closes. What she could do, but isn’t shown, is to use the loophole to do something else rather than immediately go to Adam to close the thing. She needs to know more, first.

So… during the very first cycle, Claudia of the Eva world goes to Claudia in Alpha, collaborates, shares information, including the information about the loophole coming from Eva. She doesn’t need to understand everything at this point, just knowledge of the loophole. As I said, the distinction from Eva is that Claudia can use the loophole for different ends, rather than simply preserve the knot as Eva does.

Claudia takes the meta-travel device, and uses it as information-transfering device. This sounds completely weird, so I’ll explain it better. Before the first knot closes (she would be trapped if she doesn’t act before the end of the first cycle) she uses the device to travel to another dimension, lets call this “Gamma.” This is possible, it’s what Eva does when invades Alpha from Beta, to then fuse the two. But Claudia doesn’t want to fuse anything. When her old self at the end of the first cycle travels, she travels to her younger self, to tell her EVERYTHING SHE LEARNED. Pay attention here. This isn’t time-travel to a younger self. She isn’t doing this through the time travel machine. She’s using the golden ball, and she travels to a younger Claudia of ANOTHER DIMENSION. Because, as we see in the split of Alpha and Beta, this type of travel and loophole creates a discrepancy. The younger Claudia, with all the information revealed to her by an older Claudia, is divergent from a younger Claudia that doesn’t know anything.

What happens at this precise point, when Claudia meta-travels, is that she creates an alternate dimension that copies IDENTICALLY the knot. The (A+B). She creates an alternate dimension where everything is exactly the same, with one single exception: Claudia. She obtains a Claudia that knows all the stuff that the older Claudia told her. Now she’s young, she has another ENTIRE LIFE to go around and learn shit. At the end of the cycle, when she gets old, she uses the devices, makes a new copy and transfers the new knowledge to a younger self. OVER AND OVER, until she’s tired of this shit.

She acquired god-like power, became a literal (and logical) Deus Ex Machina, since she’s external to the machine. Every time she copies the world, she has freedom to act independently (the external intervention I introduced at the beginning).

This world is copied identically as long she takes care to replicate the actions that her older self made, in a similar way as Eva was doing. Trying to preserve the cycle, essentially. But only so that she could continue to gather information, and eventually find out the optimal solution to tear it apart. When(ever) she will find that solution, she will use the device to go to Adam, hand him the mystery ball and tell him: “Take this, and go end this shit.” Game over.

Consider the detail: she HAS to preserve the knot. This isn’t like the other cases where the knot is automatically preserved no matter what people do. The difference is that the world is copied identically with one exception: Claudia. And because this is a wholly different copy, it isn’t locked into a pattern. Claudia is external. If she doesn’t work to preserve the knot she can have all sort of major repercussions coming from her own divergent actions. In fact she’s in the position to create INFINITE divergent worlds. RADICALLY divergent. Totally new timelines. That’s what the loophole does, creating divergences every time it’s used. Claudia just happens to believe and desire that her best choice is going back to the “normal” (the “new normal” since Tannhauser’s son isn’t dead and talks about his vision of angels).

In fact it’s a “new normal” because it’s not a return to the origin world, that’s completely false. The origin world is gone. What is created is a copy of the origin world where Tannhauser’s son is alive. Claudia simply decided this was the best choice among infinite options.

In the end Claudia was the ONLY player, since she has been the only one to find a way out before the first cycle ended. The only player on the field. Adam knew jack shit. Eva did, but worked to fuse the worlds and remain happily trapped within, Claudia is the only one who was handed the keys for the lock by a clueless, unsuspecting Eva. She found herself as the director of the show.

Again, the loophole creates divergences. We ended up with the (A+B) knot merely because Eva wanted to save both worlds at the same time, and the fusion was the only way to keep both, so used the loophole for that end (there’s a lot of silly handwaving, but Eva needed Alpha fused with Beta, since Jonas doesn’t exist in Beta natively). But with the device in the hands of Claudia the loophole doesn’t create anymore convoluted artificial knots, it creates new realities. And Claudia has free reign. She can change everything.

Super-summary: Dark gives us a concept of time as a fixed and immutable structure, including internal time travel loops than cannot alter what happens in any way. It’s all fixed and deterministic. But during the third season an exception is introduced, a loophole. The use of this loophole, at a precise moment, can introduce a discrepancy, a real change. And it does so in the classic time travel way of creating an alternate dimension where things take a different path (the classic “Back to the Future” canon). Only two characters know and use this loophole, Eva and Claudia. But Eva actively works to save both worlds and fuse them together, a Moebius strip, making them dependent on each other and creating this A+B “knot.” Claudia instead decides to use it for her own ends and, eventually, to unravel that knot. It is mandatory that the loophole has to be used BEFORE the first cycle completes, otherwise the characters would be already caged in. Therefore the loophole is either used every time, or never. Eva uses the loophole every cycle, to re-create and preserve the knot, with no other possibility to alter its course beyond what it is. Claudia instead can use the loophole first to “copy” the (A+B) knot, and then study it through a number of different cycles, because she can use the loophole to keep everything the same with one exception: herself. She uses it at the first cycle to become external to the loop and seize her agency, repeats this through an unknown number of following cycles/dimensions, then uses it one last time after she’s completed her plan, to instruct Adam and send him to destroy the knot. The finale we see.

We’re far from a complete solution though. This whole ordeal explains the ending, and explains how Claudia can become Deus Ex Machina. It explains how it was possible to break free of the knot, and how to return to the origin. It also explains why the return to the origin ISN’T a bootstrap paradox. It’s just a new divergent reality that begins from a convenient starting point. Aka: before the time travel mess, to prevent it. And it can prevent it, instead of causing it as everything that happened before, because Claudia (and then Adam) didn’t time travel, but meta-traveled using the loophole. If she simply time traveled to save Tannhauser’s son, she would have caused the incident (because time travel is an internal loop, so it cannot produce any real change). And that’s why, again, Jonas and Martha DO NOT cause the incident, as many people instead expected: it’s a divergent word, produced through the loophole, through meta-travel.

In Tannhauser’s true original world, his son is dead. In the “new” world the son is alive. They aren’t the same world. We aren’t back to the origin. This is the same that happens in Donnie Darko: a time anomaly is created, during its development Donnie is trained by the bunny to be an instrument to the solution of the anomaly, and Donnie’s sacrifice “fixes” the anomaly, returning the world back to how it was. But it’s not the same world, because Donnie’s gone. In Dark and Donnie Darko both, the anomaly left a faint trace. It existed, developed, was resolved, and with its resolution it “fell off” subjective perception. As if time was like a tree branch, then a “leaf” develops, is bent around and closes on itself, to eventually excise itself and “fall off”, leaving a faint trace, while the branch continues on its path… slightly altered. A faint trace.

If Claudia didn’t find a way to escape the cycle during its first loop, then time would have hit a “cul-de-sac”, an inescapable dead end. Either continuing forever, or deteriorating as in Donnie Darko (where time collapses if not fixed).

And yet again, we’re far from a complete solution. I’ve said at the beginning the problem is having this part of the bootstrap paradox that can be explained logically, and another that doesn’t work at all. This part I’ve examined here works because it deals competently with the fundamental distinction: perception and reality. The bootstrap paradox APPEARS in perception, but doesn’t exist in reality. It is the limited subjective point of view that creates the illusion of a paradox.

If “characters” are trapped within their own dimension of experience, then they have a limited “cone” of subjectivity and information. Limited knowledge. That’s why things that “magically” appear can do so. A meta-traveler is a traveler from outside. He can step-in unseen and create interference. He can transform reality, because while he operates within reality, he still operates outside the limited perception.

If the rules of TIME AND PHYSICS are the rules of reality, then they can play around perception. Like a toy. A paradox can appear within limited perception, but can also be explained in reality.

A bootstrap paradox can be EXPLAINED by imagining what is there but that isn’t seen. Something that has to exist but wasn’t perceived. We see a paradox, but we see only the limit of our vision. Always the same core concept of Bakker’s Blind Brain Theory.

Now we know that yes, bootstrap paradoxes can be explained logically. No, paradoxes don’t exist in reality. They exist in conscious perception. The paradox is in the map, not the territory, especially when the map (perception and representation) isn’t correctly modeling the territory (reality). We’ve seen Dark creating a bootstrap paradox that can be explained through these patterns, that can be solved. And yet it’s a trainwreck. Because the main paradox is left unexplained and not explainable, with the canon telling us that paradoxes just exist and don’t need a logical motivation.

People confuse this as a problem of cause and effect. A cycle of cause and effect that links past and future, in a loop. Accepting this circular paradoxical pattern. But that’s not how it works. Dark has a serious and deep philosophical problem with ontology. Ontology is about existence, not function. The cause-effect loop of a bootstrap paradox tells us these objects can FUNCTION, but it doesn’t tell us that they can EXIST. This is what I’m going to write in the next part.

2 Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. […] 1: illusion of sufficiency (Dark explained away) Part 2: what does work (Deus Ex Machina) Part 3: what doesn’t work (bootstrap […]

  2. […] 1: illusion of sufficiency (Dark explained away) Part 2: what does work (Deus Ex Machina) Part 3: what doesn’t work (bootstrap […]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *