Twelve Monkeys: repetition
Actors & Acting

Untangling time

Following our re-watch of Twelve Monkeys, I thought there would be interest in getting some insight into theories of time. This question will come up again when we screen Arrival (2016).

One thing to think about now is whether any of the these theories are helpful in making sense of the narrative in Twelve Monkeys.

First, here is a Guardian science podcast that features a conversation with different physicists about their, often competing, theories of time. The podcast is just under 35 minutes.

Second, this interview with physicist Carlo Rovelli about his new book, The Order of Time, addresses his view that time is simply a way of expressing how humans experience the universe. What makes this interesting in the context of Twelve Monkeys is that he argues that time is always a story we tell ourselves, and not just when we might be "mentally divergent."


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Becky Bond

The article about the order of time was really fascinating. It wasn't as obscure as I was anticipating and actually seemed reasonable. Humans just use time in order to process what's happening around them.


The article brings up an interesting concept, one that tie in with arrival pretty well. The human understanding of a time is really just a way of dealing with the world.

Garret Adams

Very fascinating and intriguing article about the concept of time and how it can be per sieved differently. Like Linnea pointed out, the human understanding of the concept of time and space could really be just a way of dealing with the world that we live in.

Jesus Hernandez

The article was very interesting, I have heard of the difference in time when a clock is on the ground compared to a skyscraper. The article compared time difference in a mountain top to sea level. One thing i found intriguing from the article was how we see time through a telescope, even though we believe what we are seeing is our present the light we see can be 4 years old. Makes me wonder about time theories.

Blake Bauer

I come from a mathematical background and have spent some time thinking about time so here are my 2 cents. My view on it is similar to Rovelli's but I think of it a bit differently. I think of it as a fourth dimension to our world so we see in 3 dimensions and then we use time to perceive the fourth. Think about this in 2D. If you draw a stick guy walking around on several sheets of paper and then stack them on top of each other then you've essentially taken your 2D drawings and turned them into a 3D space by representing the third dimension as time. The only issue I've come across about thinking this way is it wouldn't really allow for changes or decisions to be made. Which actually means it fits with both Twelve Monkeys and Arrival.

Ryan Giles

I thought the article was really interesting. It discusses the order of time and goes into detail of how humans use the time to know and tell whats happening around them. it gives them a good perspective of things happening around the world.

Caleb Kuhl

I still think that our conversation on when the WWI photo existed, is for in favor of the students point of view about the photo existing before Cole went back in time.

Time is a big ball of wibbly wobbly timey whimey stuff (Doctor Who, Weeping Angles). Time is not linear like we think, and there are many different intersections through time that can effect the rest of the timeline. But time doesn't influence a single person's life, it effects everyone at the same time.

But then again, time depends on the person's point of view and their knowledge and experience that have acquired about time travel.

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