I recently watched Predestination (2014) and could not help but think about the esoteric meaning to it. In a nutshell, the movie explores the paradox of a closed time loop. Time travel may be done to death through the sepia-tinted lenses of tinsel town but rarely we come across a story that appeals viscerally and logically as well as inspires intuitive understanding.
Predestination literally means everything is predetermined in the long run and raises the age-old debate of fate vs free will but this is really where the film (original story written by the dean of science fiction, Robert Heinlein) reconciles the paradox. In fact it goes further to draw a parallel with the scriptural interpretation around the nature of creation and metaphysical notion of time. On a lighter note the film proves the adage- the more a thing changes, more it remains the same!
In a closed time loop, you can have infinite permutations and combinations of the same event with no starting point or a first or initial cause/effect so each point in the circle can be taken as a starting point to unfolding events (that successively show a marked cause and effect).
This is important to grasp as we usually find a cause/effect in life and have no reason to suspect otherwise yet scriptures have long maintained that ‘time goes in a circle around an eternal now’. In other words, cause/effect may be a given in the physical universe and through choice or free will, we go on creating our reality or a parallel realities ad-infinitum, each moment as self-help authors and quantum physicists claim and yet in the final analysis, what comes to pass is whatever was meant to be…
This is not a fatalistic statement but a deeper reality suggested by saints and seers who unanimously agree, the universe is not just illusory or made up of mind-stuff…on a different level, everything happens simultaneously and that the goal of creation is to become self-aware of the fact, it is ultimately self-created. It is as if our perfect reality is already destined, but we are struggling in a dream and going through myriad life-times of experiences to finally awaken to realize who we are in the first place.
Perhaps this movie can help us appreciate that we are predestined to have free will within a closed time loop or cycles of creation and also a positive or benevolent fate outside of it, provided we go ahead and apply free will judiciously (as it shows we are often stuck in limited patterns and need to break out of it) to receive a kinder fate…Therefore, methinks the movie could have played out differently, had the character (without giving away too many spoilers) followed his/her own sage advice of loving oneself!
Bhaskar Dutta is a self-help author and IT specialist based in London.