Neill Blomkamp Talks About Eternal Recurrence

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Neill Blomkamp

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Neill Blomkamp is a film director, producer, screenwriter, and animator. His latest film, "Demonic," is in theaters and video on demand now.

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My own point of view with thinking that, you know, extravagant is that I think I'm a complete solipsist. I think everything around me is some sort of holographic thing that I'm dropped into for the duration of my life, and when I die, it all disappears. Really? Yeah, I kind of do think so. I also think that there's everything that is going to happen has already happened, and there's a paradox where free will also exists. So I think that I have the ability to go around and act with free will. I don't think that things are completely deterministic. But I think the free will is informed by the biological programming we were talking about before. But I'm still choosing within a given set of what I'm allowed to choose from. But the paradox is also that I think that I'm probably on my deathbed if you collapse time down and look at it as like a linear thing. If you just observe it, it's like, Neil's death is here, his birth is here, these are these other events. Theoretically with free will, as you move through that three-dimensional map, these other events should change, right? Each day with choices you make, all of these other outcomes should move. And somehow I don't think they do. I think that they're kind of locked in place. Nietzsche speaks about that, he calls it eternal recurrence. And it's like eternal recurrence was something that I got quite interested in because it felt true to me. How so felt true? Well, he says that what happens is that your life is set and all of the events within your life not only are set, but they will also recur infinitely through time. So instead of the idea of reincarnation, it's almost like the idea of reincarnation into your own life, eternally. And so someone else from a different point of view would be able to see this event of like Joe Rogan's life and see you make these choices and then they would see you begin and make these choices again. And he kind of used it as a thought experiment where he said that if I went to most people out in the world and I said to them that your life is going to repeat exactly like this forever, he said it was a burden that would be too heavy for most people to be able to deal with. Their life is that they don't want to live their life over the way that they've lived it enough that it would be literally the worst burden that they could be given. I've pondered this before and I've heard this brought up before. In fact, Elio Gracie is a famous Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu guy who was a he's the he's the patriarch of like the greatest martial arts clan ever. He believed that he believed you will live your life over and over again until you get it right. Yeah. Niece is saying that you don't get the chance to do it right. It's locked in place. It's locked in place exactly the same way forever. Yeah. But why? Why would he believe that? Because you can but if you believe in free will, that's the paradox. Yeah. So if you believe, I think you make the same choices over and over. But why? Because you're not learning each time you go back. You're not. It's not a different version of you. It's the same version of you. But why haven't you learned from the past? To us, the birth and the death is one event. But if you are having the same life experience over and over and over again, what is you? If that's you having the same... Is it new versions of you or is it you? No, it's just one person. It's just you. And why don't you learn? Well, what he... Because from a three-dimensional standpoint in that linear timeline, when you die, that feels like the end of the play. From a fourth-dimensional different observational standpoint, you can watch it repeating. But his point was with free will inside of that linear timeline. You should live your life in a way that you would want it to go on forever. It was sort of a thought experiment. But what I was getting at was the feeling that to me, it feels like things are set in place. And because this comes from the solipsistic thing that we were talking about where I think that it's all in the person... It's in the observer's eyes. And I also think time is an illusion as well. So by the time you get to the end of your life and you're lying on your deathbed, all of these events could have been a dream. It could just be a fever dream. So they weren't because free will exists and you acted on them. But time compresses down to this moment. And that's the only thing that's there, is this present moment that you're living inside of. But it's being committed to this idea that all these things are playing out. Is that comforting? Is that why you're willing to embrace it that way? That there's no getting around this and that this is what it is? No, I mean, I don't act like I don't have free will. And I don't act like things are set in place. I just, on a very, very deep subconscious level, I feel like they are. So you feel like fate is real in some ways? In some ways it is, yeah. I do think there's a paradox though. I think there's a definite paradox. Do you think about that when you're making films? Do you think like... Because the creative process of writing and then, I'm sure I've never edited a film, but I would imagine editing and filming it and choosing the angles. You're visualizing this creation and you're putting it together and then ultimately you get a final product and that's what people go to see. It's similar to people's lives. I mean, you could say, right? The choices that you're making, because there's infinite possible outcomes and you're collapsing that down. You're collapsing the wave function into one outcome. And so that's what I think is happening. I think that we are given infinite numbers of options and we have the ability to act on those. We choose a path and in the action of choosing, we collapse all possibility to one outcome and the tree is crushed down.