Monday, October 5, 2015

That's So Raven and Fatalism

Okay, I'm sure everyone's seen (and loved) "That's So Raven". When I was a high-schooler, Iris asked that by knowing the prophecies, people ensured their fate. She wondered if the same thing would have happened even if Oedipus and Jocasta didn't know their fates. In "That's So Raven", Raven would spend the episode trying to avoid a terrible premonition, but her actions to avoid the future was what caused the future. The fatalism of the show however is very inconsistent. Raven sometimes does change the future. This reminds me of the show I'm watching now called "Continuum". Unlike Oedipus and "That's So Raven", the future is not determined by visions and prophecies but by time travelers. The protagonist is sent back in time with no way to get home. Some of the events she remembered in the future (that she tried to change for the better) such as a terrorist attack, were caused by the terrorist group that came back with her. That indicated that it was their fate to be in that time. This fatalism again is inconsistent. The protagonist uses her knowledge of the future to stop a serial killer before he could finish killing 38 people. Now the protagonist has changed the future.

5 comments:

Ross said...

I agree with you when you say that sometimes fatalism is a little off its mark. Take, for example, the events that happen in Phil of the Future. Phil and his family, his Philmily if you will, end up in 2004 when their family (Philmily) vacation goes wrong. Now that Phil is in the past (he is originally from 2121) his enhanced knowledge about tech whose-whatsits changes the present and sometimes even the whole timeline. But I guess fatalism might actually be a thing considering everything goes back to normal by the end of each episode and nothing bad happens to the time line. Maybe Phil and his Philmily were meant to end up in the past and fate decided that their silly adventures would (or would not) affect the timeline altogether. I wouldn't know though, for I am a simple college student living off ramen noodles and pizza.

Abbey said...

Wow, Hari, go back to college!

But this post makes a very good point about the concept of fatalism. Humans have to interpret the god's messages in Greek tragedy just like Raven has to interpret her own visions. Sometimes she is right when doing this and things end up working out in her favor, but other times she is very wrong and situations often become chaotic. Like you said, her most of her actions to avoid the future is typically what causes the future. Because she is not entirely aware of what the consequences of her actions will be, she experiments with different outcomes and has to accept what ensues. Similarly, the characters in Oedipus, for example, are constantly trying to escape their fate and prevent prophecies; but they can't and things come full circle in the end with all the prophecies coming true. They try to do everything they can to avoid responsibility, but it catches up to them and they must live with their choices.

Iris makes a very interesting comment and it can be argued both ways. I would like to think this story wouldn't have happened if Oedipus and Jocasta knew their fates. It is the fear of their fates that causes them to act the way they do. For instance, the only reason Oedipus left Corinth in the first place was because he was told he would kill his father and sleep with his mother, thinking his real parents were Polybus and Merope. Had he stayed, though, he would've never met or killed Laius (his real father) on the way to Thebes. So if he stayed, it is possible that the gods would intervene later and cause him to leave Corinth for different reasons, but for now, we do not know that this could've happened so we can't assume it.

Iris Mire said...

I miss y'all so much! College is great (freakin' fantastic, actually) but I really miss our Humanities squad (including our fearless leaders) <3

Jack Zheng said...

When I read the lines "because she is not entirely aware of what the consequences of her actions will be, she experiments with different outcomes and has to accept what ensues," I immediately thought of Kundera's ideas of fate, chance, and einmal ist keinmal. Even if we knew what will end up happening in the future, we still can't experiment with different actions to see what the results will be, but if we could truly see a fate that will, by definition, happen no matter what (and not just time travel back into the past knowing what will happen if you act in a specific way), then there would be absolutely no escape from it.

msking said...

Ross, I'm so glad you're still reading and posting to the blog! I miss you all and hope you're doing splendidly. Please keep me posted in terms of what classes you're all taking, how you're doing, and how much fun you're having. We should try to have a Humanities lunch when y'all are all home for Christmas break.