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Christopher Nolan's science-fiction epic starring Matthew McConaughey, Anne Hathaway, Michael Caine and Jessica Chastain.

Interstellar: That annoying Paradox

Posts: 2
Firstly I enjoyed the movie very much. I loved the use of the science of relativity and the human nature aspects that were explored in the movie. I have a few issues though.

The biggest problem for me with the movie is the time travel paradox. It is revealed that 'They' who sent the messages to the room that resulted in Cooper heading off to NASA was actually Cooper from the future. But how can Cooper be in that position in that black hole to send the information if him being in that black hole required him to know to go to NASA in the first place. A chicken cannot send the egg from which it will hatch back in time.

I also thought the start of the movie was weak. I thought the fact that Cooper can go from a dude on an adventure with his daughter and accidentally trespassing on NASA property to abandoning his family and actually going up into space for the rest of his life (possibly) is just so ludicrous. I think the start should have been rewritten to have Cooper get into space in a more believable way.

Finally Cooper surviving a trip into a black hole is impossible through the laws of science, but I will let that one pass for the sake of artistic liberty.
Posts: 221
Ron Burgundy wrote:Firstly I enjoyed the movie very much. I loved the use of the science of relativity and the human nature aspects that were explored in the movie. I have 2 small and 3 big issues though.

The biggest problem for me with the movie is the time travel paradox. It is revealed that 'They' who sent the messages to the room that resulted in Cooper heading off to NASA was actually Cooper from the future. But how can Cooper be in that position in that black hole to send the information if him being in that black hole required him to know to go to NASA in the first place. A chicken cannot send the egg from which it will hatch back in time.

I also thought the start of the movie was weak. I thought the fact that Cooper can go from a dude on an adventure with his daughter and accidentally trespassing on NASA property to abandoning his family and actually going up into space for the rest of his life (possibly) is just so ludicrous. I think the start should have been rewritten to have Cooper get into space in a more believable way.

Finally Cooper surviving a trip into a black hole is impossible through the laws of science, but I will let that one pass for the sake of artistic liberty.


Addressing part 1: it is only a paradox if you consider time to be linear. In a five dimensional universe, time is a physical dimension. This implies that everything that has ever happend and will ever happen lies along a single dimension that can be traversed and manipulated. You cannot apply our four dimensional understanding of the linearity of time to resolve this.

Addressing part 3: there are some physicists that postulate that the singularity at the center of a black hole can act as a wormhole or something similar. The movie riffs on that idea by saying the future beings use the black hole to transport Coop and set up the Tesseract simulation for him. Nobody knows exactly what happens inside of a black hole as a singularity is not resolvable through current understanding of physics, so this artistic license simply making use of that mystery.

There are other threads to discuss this. I would direct you there.
Posts: 126
Ron Burgundy wrote:Firstly I enjoyed the movie very much. I loved the use of the science of relativity and the human nature aspects that were explored in the movie. I have a few issues though.

The biggest problem for me with the movie is the time travel paradox. It is revealed that 'They' who sent the messages to the room that resulted in Cooper heading off to NASA was actually Cooper from the future. But how can Cooper be in that position in that black hole to send the information if him being in that black hole required him to know to go to NASA in the first place. A chicken cannot send the egg from which it will hatch back in time.

I also thought the start of the movie was weak. I thought the fact that Cooper can go from a dude on an adventure with his daughter and accidentally trespassing on NASA property to abandoning his family and actually going up into space for the rest of his life (possibly) is just so ludicrous. I think the start should have been rewritten to have Cooper get into space in a more believable way.

Finally Cooper surviving a trip into a black hole is impossible through the laws of science, but I will let that one pass for the sake of artistic liberty.



so he should just sit tight and keep living under the knowledge that his children will starved and suffocated to death(Brand sr told him) even he has a chance to change that fate?

and that is not so ludicrous? yeah sure
Last edited by rickfox on November 9th, 2014, 5:45 am, edited 3 times in total.
Posts: 933
Ron Burgundy wrote:Firstly I enjoyed the movie very much. I loved the use of the science of relativity and the human nature aspects that were explored in the movie. I have a few issues though.

The biggest problem for me with the movie is the time travel paradox. It is revealed that 'They' who sent the messages to the room that resulted in Cooper heading off to NASA was actually Cooper from the future. But how can Cooper be in that position in that black hole to send the information if him being in that black hole required him to know to go to NASA in the first place. A chicken cannot send the egg from which it will hatch back in time.

I also thought the start of the movie was weak. I thought the fact that Cooper can go from a dude on an adventure with his daughter and accidentally trespassing on NASA property to abandoning his family and actually going up into space for the rest of his life (possibly) is just so ludicrous. I think the start should have been rewritten to have Cooper get into space in a more believable way.

Finally Cooper surviving a trip into a black hole is impossible through the laws of science, but I will let that one pass for the sake of artistic liberty.

I really dislike time travel paradoxes as well, but I found this interesting possible explanation on ScreenRant which would make it a little easier to stomach...

nolanjholana 1 day ago
A possible explanation of the circularity/loop/paradox related to time.
I think there is a circularity in the time”line”, and it is hard for us to accept a circularity/loop in time because we perceive time as 1 dimensional. We try to find out which happened first (Which came first, the chicken or the egg type question). We try to find out which event happened first, Cooper+Amelia going into the wormhole or Cooper/Amelia placing the wormhole there. Or how Cooper can instruct himself to go to NASA, or STAY, how two forms of Cooper can exist at the same “time”. But all these questions have the underlying assumption that time is 1 dimensional, and we can order the events in a time”line”. But what if time is a plane. You cannot order two points on a plane. This story does not have a time”line”, it has a time”plane”. This is why 5th dimension is important, 3 dimensions of space + 2 dimensions of time. In a time”plane” a circularity in time is absolutely possible. Also, two different points on the same plane can have exact same projection on a straight line. This is how the future Cooper and past Cooper can be at the same projection point on time”line” where future Cooper would instruct past Cooper to STAY/go to NASA. But they are actually at two distinct points on the time plane. I think the circularity/loop/paradox related to the time”line”, can be explained by the introduction of time”plane”.
Posts: 40
Ron Burgundy wrote:Firstly I enjoyed the movie very much. I loved the use of the science of relativity and the human nature aspects that were explored in the movie. I have 2 small and 3 big issues though.

The biggest problem for me with the movie is the time travel paradox. It is revealed that 'They' who sent the messages to the room that resulted in Cooper heading off to NASA was actually Cooper from the future. But how can Cooper be in that position in that black hole to send the information if him being in that black hole required him to know to go to NASA in the first place. A chicken cannot send the egg from which it will hatch back in time.

I also thought the start of the movie was weak. I thought the fact that Cooper can go from a dude on an adventure with his daughter and accidentally trespassing on NASA property to abandoning his family and actually going up into space for the rest of his life (possibly) is just so ludicrous. I think the start should have been rewritten to have Cooper get into space in a more believable way.

Finally Cooper surviving a trip into a black hole is impossible through the laws of science, but I will let that one pass for the sake of artistic liberty.


No.

This annoys me immensely, because when I heard that Interstellar was being compared to Back to the Future, all I wanted was to come here and beg someone to assure me that Interstellar (unlike BttF) followed Novikov's Self Consistency Principle. I was extremely delighted that it did (like Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban and Cronocrimenes, the only two other movies I can remember that tried to). So it is extremely strange to me that people call this a paradox.

A paradox is a logically inconsistent event.
A paradox would be Cooper traveling back in time and telling himself not to go on the mission. That would make Cooper not go on the mission which would stop Cooper from going back in time and telling himself not to go on the mission. This would create an eternally repeating iterative process that was happening simultanously with itself. That's a paradox.

Cooper going back in time and not changing any of the past but find out he contributed to it is NOT a paradox. It is in itself logically consistent, since every event has a causal percursor.

It rings false because it is circular causality. And since we're used to linear causality in our three dimensional universe, I get that people find it confusing. But the movie went to a lot of trouble to make you think in 5 dimensions and you're still trying to solve it in 3. Because in 5 dimensions, what is our time dimension would just be another spatial dimension, and every moment would be just like a different page in a book. What Cooper did is exactly like writing a book or a script and you type the ending scene first, then the rest. It's not logically inconsistent, it only seems that way if you're living inside the script.


lcbaseball22 wrote:
Ron Burgundy wrote:Firstly I enjoyed the movie very much. I loved the use of the science of relativity and the human nature aspects that were explored in the movie. I have a few issues though.

The biggest problem for me with the movie is the time travel paradox. It is revealed that 'They' who sent the messages to the room that resulted in Cooper heading off to NASA was actually Cooper from the future. But how can Cooper be in that position in that black hole to send the information if him being in that black hole required him to know to go to NASA in the first place. A chicken cannot send the egg from which it will hatch back in time.

I also thought the start of the movie was weak. I thought the fact that Cooper can go from a dude on an adventure with his daughter and accidentally trespassing on NASA property to abandoning his family and actually going up into space for the rest of his life (possibly) is just so ludicrous. I think the start should have been rewritten to have Cooper get into space in a more believable way.

Finally Cooper surviving a trip into a black hole is impossible through the laws of science, but I will let that one pass for the sake of artistic liberty.

I really dislike time travel paradoxes as well, but I found this interesting possible explanation on ScreenRant which would make it a little easier to stomach...

nolanjholana 1 day ago
A possible explanation of the circularity/loop/paradox related to time.
I think there is a circularity in the time”line”, and it is hard for us to accept a circularity/loop in time because we perceive time as 1 dimensional. We try to find out which happened first (Which came first, the chicken or the egg type question). We try to find out which event happened first, Cooper+Amelia going into the wormhole or Cooper/Amelia placing the wormhole there. Or how Cooper can instruct himself to go to NASA, or STAY, how two forms of Cooper can exist at the same “time”. But all these questions have the underlying assumption that time is 1 dimensional, and we can order the events in a time”line”. But what if time is a plane. You cannot order two points on a plane. This story does not have a time”line”, it has a time”plane”. This is why 5th dimension is important, 3 dimensions of space + 2 dimensions of time. In a time”plane” a circularity in time is absolutely possible. Also, two different points on the same plane can have exact same projection on a straight line. This is how the future Cooper and past Cooper can be at the same projection point on time”line” where future Cooper would instruct past Cooper to STAY/go to NASA. But they are actually at two distinct points on the time plane. I think the circularity/loop/paradox related to the time”line”, can be explained by the introduction of time”plane”.


You don't need to make so many jumps. A line can be bent. The problem is that you're trying to find out which came first. But "first" implies time. And in 5 dimensions, you're outside of time. So what came first (as in, earlier in time) was the gravitational anomaly. Cooper creating the gravitational anomaly happened outside of our time dimension, so it doesn't make sense to place it before or after the events that happened in our timeline.
Last edited by gervasium on November 9th, 2014, 5:06 am, edited 1 time in total.
Posts: 933
gervasium wrote:
Ron Burgundy wrote:Firstly I enjoyed the movie very much. I loved the use of the science of relativity and the human nature aspects that were explored in the movie. I have 2 small and 3 big issues though.

The biggest problem for me with the movie is the time travel paradox. It is revealed that 'They' who sent the messages to the room that resulted in Cooper heading off to NASA was actually Cooper from the future. But how can Cooper be in that position in that black hole to send the information if him being in that black hole required him to know to go to NASA in the first place. A chicken cannot send the egg from which it will hatch back in time.

I also thought the start of the movie was weak. I thought the fact that Cooper can go from a dude on an adventure with his daughter and accidentally trespassing on NASA property to abandoning his family and actually going up into space for the rest of his life (possibly) is just so ludicrous. I think the start should have been rewritten to have Cooper get into space in a more believable way.

Finally Cooper surviving a trip into a black hole is impossible through the laws of science, but I will let that one pass for the sake of artistic liberty.


No.

This annoys me immensely, because when I heard that Interstellar was being compared to Back to the Future, all I wanted was to come here and beg someone to assure me that Interstellar (unlike BttF) followed Novikov's Self Consistency Principle. I was extremely delighted that it did (like Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban and Cronocrimenes, the only two other movies I can remember that tried to). So it is extremely strange to me that people call this a paradox.

Perhaps paradox is the incorrect term, but it's still maddening. As fanstastic as the time turner sequence in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban is, it still annoys me that Harry and Sirius are somehow saved by co-existing Harry that can't possibly exist in the past if Harry doesn't have any means to survive in the first place. Does that make sense? :lol: I hate time travel plots because they are so illogical for my logically thinking brain to wrap around. Star Trek (2009) is another I still tangle with...
Last edited by lcbaseball22 on November 9th, 2014, 5:09 am, edited 3 times in total.
Posts: 2
Thanx for the replies people. Having considered your multiple dimensions explanations it makes more sense. All I can say is that this movie lives up to Christopher 'mindfuck' Nolan's reputation of making movies that are absolute mindfucks.
Posts: 40
lcbaseball22 wrote:
gervasium wrote:
Ron Burgundy wrote:Firstly I enjoyed the movie very much. I loved the use of the science of relativity and the human nature aspects that were explored in the movie. I have 2 small and 3 big issues though.

The biggest problem for me with the movie is the time travel paradox. It is revealed that 'They' who sent the messages to the room that resulted in Cooper heading off to NASA was actually Cooper from the future. But how can Cooper be in that position in that black hole to send the information if him being in that black hole required him to know to go to NASA in the first place. A chicken cannot send the egg from which it will hatch back in time.

I also thought the start of the movie was weak. I thought the fact that Cooper can go from a dude on an adventure with his daughter and accidentally trespassing on NASA property to abandoning his family and actually going up into space for the rest of his life (possibly) is just so ludicrous. I think the start should have been rewritten to have Cooper get into space in a more believable way.

Finally Cooper surviving a trip into a black hole is impossible through the laws of science, but I will let that one pass for the sake of artistic liberty.


No.

This annoys me immensely, because when I heard that Interstellar was being compared to Back to the Future, all I wanted was to come here and beg someone to assure me that Interstellar (unlike BttF) followed Novikov's Self Consistency Principle. I was extremely delighted that it did (like Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban and Cronocrimenes, the only two other movies I can remember that tried to). So it is extremely strange to me that people call this a paradox.

Perhaps paradox is the incorrect term, but it's still maddening. As fanstastic as the time turner sequence in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban is, it still annoys me that Harry and Sirius are somehow saved by co-existing Harry that can't possibly exist in the past if Harry doesn't have any means to survive in the first place...


And I get it. It feels strange for me. And it feels even stranger for me because I try to find a logical flaw but can't find it. You feel it has to be wrong but there isn't any part of the loop that individually seems wrong. I think if you haven't, you should definitely watch Cronocrimenes. It will annoy you more than Harry Potter and Interstellar combined, because it purposely takes the weirdness of the event and takes it up to eleven.
Posts: 1049
As a few people have pointed out, no, there's no paradox.
Posts: 4381
Location: Romania
Cronocrimes and Prisoner of Azkaban did the same. The character finds out that he was the one that did that to him but he knows now that if he didn't keep the past as it was (Coop going to the base) he wouldn't be there in the future (Coop in the tesseract) and humanity wouldn't have left the Earth (plan A). He must sacrifice his presence near his daughter to save humanity.

What I found interesting in Cronocrimes is that you can't change the past. You trying to change it in something else (than what happened) results in you solidifing that past.

There is this theory - only in fiction, I guess? - that the past resist changes, that how much you try it stays the same.
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