Friday, February 29, 2008

pre-destination & free will in Star Wars (Episode 3)

One more thought from seeing Episode 3 this evening...

The key plot device is the prophesied death of Padme during childbirth (as envisioned by Anakin and later encouraged by the Chancellor). But as Padme is preparing to give birth, we realize that it is Anakin who is largely responsible for her death. Through his remarkable turn to remarkable evil, he "takes away" her will to live. (In the film, we are told that "she has lost the will to live".) In this sense, her death is an odd type of self-fulfilled prophecy-- instead of bringing an event on oneself, it is brought upon one by another.

This leads to all sorts of mind-bending thoughts about the interactions of free will and pre-destination. Hollywood occasionally picks up this question-- with relatively recent (and enjoyable) movies such as Minority Report, The Truman Show, and Stranger than Fiction.


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