Free Will vs. Determinism
"I thought free will had to do with sin."
I think about this, "No", I say, "why should free will be limited to right and wrong? I mean, you just decided, of your own free will, to take off your shoes. It doesn't matter, nobody cares if you wear shoes or not, and it's not sinful, or virtuous, and it doesn't affect the future, but you've exercised your free will."
Clare shrugs. "But sometimes you tell me something and I feel like the future is already there, you know? Like my future has happened in the past and I can't do anything about it."
"That's called determinism," I tell her. "It haunts my dreams." (Niffenegger p. 75)
Arguments between free will and determinism have always intrigued me. It seems as if Clare has the power of free will. She is able to do what she wants, when she wants to do it. She has the power to decide if she wants to meet Henry or not. Yet, it seems as if her determinism is controlled by Henry. Because he is able to go back and forth in time, I would conclude that he is the events that determine her future. The actions that take place in the future are determining the things that take place in the current life she is living. Because Henry seems to be a constant in both times in her life, I would say that he is the chain of events controlling her. The idea of determinism is based on the idea that control of the future is directly related to the past and the present. Henry talks about how he cannot change anything, yet he does, in my opinion. He is changing everyday what Clare does in her young life, because she does things for him. If he stayed in the future, she would not be doing these things. Now, when it comes down to free will and Henry, I think it is safe to say that he does not really have any. He is not able to come and go as he pleases, or always do what he wants. This is because he does not know when he will time travel again. He says that determinism haunts him, and I can see how this is. While he is often not able to change the future or the past, he knows what will happen. He cannot change what is already determined, again because he does not have the free will to control his time travel.