How could someone know the future and not change it? How could someone let bad things happen?
In fact, it's actually quite zen. Well, I'm not sure if it is really, but let's pretend being aware, accepting, and recognising the beauty/rightness in every moment is zen.
And this ties back to the light path and minimisation. When you have that awareness of simultaneity maybe all your possible paths/options must naturally collapse into that beautiful sequence that you have no need or desire to alter.
Now how this simultaneity of awareness coexists with mortality, well that is a head scratcher.
If you believe that you have the ability to influence how to feel/react about something, then you must also believe you have the ability to influence the thing itself. Which would make a "zen" attitude negligent.
If you believe that you have no ability to influence either an event or the way you feel about it, then the idea of trying to respond in a zen way is as meaningless as trying to influence the event itself.
Now, you might, in fact, respond in a way an outside observer would categorise as "zen". But, within any personal, self-consistent philosophical system, wherein there is no free will, then you cannot categorise your reaction as such or as an "attempt" to do anything.
The part about performative language counters this objection. Yes, attempting to respond with equamnity - and succeeding, or failing - is all part of the script. But the performance of it is the thing itself.
From that perspective, framing action as "performative" is at best hand-wavy. You can reduce the claim to, "An individual can know the future without creating a paradox by choosing not to alter it." But you either have the ability to make decisions or you don't; you can't solve the paradox by introducing a phenomenon that in effect surrenders choice while holding on to the ability to make a choice.
That, like every argument of compatibilism I've seen, attempts to "have one's cake and eat it too" in an incoherent manner. When you reduce the dressings down to the base premises and conclusion, it's a matter of redefining terminology for a semantical victory. That's exactly like the sort of thing Wittgenstein used to criticize, because the conclusions aren't meaningful.
What would it actually mean for someone to somehow have the ability to know the future with certainty, while also retaining the ability to change the future? The ability to express that idea grammatically and to create a compelling narrative revolving around it doesn't make it logically coherent. Simply having the ability in principle means that there is a logical paradox.
That said, I deeply enjoyed the story. I just interpreted it as a story about humans being exposed to the reality of determinism and the process of coming to peace with it over generations, starting with Louise.
> What would it actually mean for someone to somehow have the ability to know the future with certainty, while also retaining the ability to change the future? The ability to express that idea grammatically and to create a compelling narrative revolving around it doesn't make it logically coherent. Simply having the ability in principle means that there is a logical paradox.
I've never understood the non-compatibilist view. The laws of physics are mechanistic almost by definition; the only question is whether they are deterministic or randomized, but the idea that one's decisions could be partly random doesn't seem to make them any more consciously controlled than if they're deterministic.
The thing that I've always found incoherent is the very idea of "free will". What would it actually mean to have free will? How could we distinguish between someone who has it and someone who doesn't?
The closest I can get to it while remaining coherent is the idea that there's some pattern that's "me", and that to the extent to which this pattern is causally entangled with events, I'm exerting my will on those events. Knowing the future wouldn't change that.
It would make a good pairing with many-worlds immortality, another ramification of physics known for it's unsettling qualities.
Like Fermat's principle of least time, it's really just an interpretation that falls naturally out of the best mathematics we have for predicting experiments.