Lit Flow-walking

Discussion in 'Literature' started by TheNewEmpire, Dec 28, 2012.

  1. JackG Force Ghost

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    Flow-walking, mind melding and the over use of Stealth-Xs made me really unable to read LotF the first time I tried, to be honest; it did not feel like SW at all.
  2. SiouxFan Jedi Grand Master

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    It can't be (b), and here's why: It is possible to also travel forward in time at specific point, (As Jacen did in Joiner King) which means that there are no memories to pull together because you are seeing everything in an accelerated 'present'.

    'Flow-walking', to me, means that you are able to separate part of yourself from the present and join the 'space-time continuum' (to borrow a 'Back to the Future' phrase, and 'flow' back and forth along this continuum. Using Thrawn's Celebration on Endor, someone 'flow-walking' to it WOULD have been seen if they weren't careful, and this is why they would have been remembered. Lando, Han, etc, would remember seeing this person because they DID see this person, just like Luke and Leia saw Obi-Wan, Yoda, and Anakin. These Force ghosts are not manipulating anyone's memories, why do we thing flow-walking does?

    No. Their two time lines run like any other intersecting lines, they only intersect at one point. Leia was unaware of Jacen being back until she saw his apparition and nothing he said to her could change the past she'd had up to that point. Did she change his present? Perhaps. Everything we do changes our present.
    Last edited by SiouxFan, Dec 29, 2012
  3. Lt.Cmdr.Thrawn The Other Saga Moderator

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    So do we then suppose that the apparition(s) "always" were there or that the presence of a flow-walker can actually change "the past"? Why haven't important historical events been swarmed by flow-walkers (such walkers would be increasingly difficult to conceal, given their numbers, if they really are visible to people present in that actual timeline), given the vast (infinite?) future in which potential flow-walkers might live?
  4. SiouxFan Jedi Grand Master

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    I'm not sure what you mean by 'always' there. I think that everyone is trying to read more into this than there is. If you walk into a room and somebody sees you, are you 'always' there? To an outside observer, they would just see you 'flow-walk' into the room and then walk out again. If one is merely observing an event, are they chaging it? If I watch the SuperBowl this year, does that change the outcome? No.

    As to the second question, I can only speculate. Perhaps the technique is hard to learn, perhaps the Ang-tii only teach it to people who they think are worthy of the skill, perhaps most realize that it is pretty archaic and not all that useful. And whose to say they haven't: maybe other 'flow-walkers' pick places where they know they won't be seen. Maybe it is like other Force techniques: We know that Luke and Jaina know how to use the 'Shatterpoint' techinique, and they don't use it on a routine basis. Why? Who knows?
  5. Lt.Cmdr.Thrawn The Other Saga Moderator

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    But if you are at the Super Bowl, and you happen to yell at a particular point, or you're wearing something eye-catching, and you distract a player at just the right moment, that might change the outcome. But what if it's last year's Super Bowl? You flow-walk back and happen to distract a player, and his team loses because of it. In the grand scheme of the universe, were you "always" present at that game? Or did the game happen one way with you not present, with time progressing afterward, which led to you flow-walking, which led to the outcome changing? Is the original outcome overwritten by the changed one, or do the two coexist in a multiverse?

    It's like how Fry travels back, kills his supposed-grandfather, and becomes his own actual grandfather - which turns out to have "always" been the case, even if no one knew it until after he did it. Fry had always actually been his own grandfather, though he had believed otherwise to be the case. If one flow-walks back to an event - the duel in the carbon-freezing chamber - was one's presence "always" present there, or does the action of flow-walking create an alternate "flow," as it were?

    If the flow-walker could only observe and was not her/himself observable, this wouldn't be a problem. But as others have described the flow-walking passages in the books (which again, I've not read), it sounds as if the flow-walker can indeed be seen by people at the place and time she/he has walked to. That creates the possibility of interaction with the past (one might even say necessitates it, given chaos theory). If there is interaction with the past, something is changed. Does it overwrite the "older" timeline? Or is the change not really a change at all, but rather "what always happened"?
    Last edited by Lt.Cmdr.Thrawn, Dec 30, 2012
  6. SiouxFan Jedi Grand Master

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    Lt Cmdr,
    Dude, you are reading wa-ay more into this than there is. You are suggesting that if I wouldn't have watched last year's Super Bowl, then the Patriots would have won; but because I did watch, the Giants won.

    Does being seen at an event (and Jacen was seen on the Tachyon Flier), change the event? No. It was still on fire, and Raynar was escaping the wreckage. What 'changed'? Only that Raynar saw Jacen. In this case, your last sentence is correct, the change is 'what always happened.' Raynar has no way of knowing that the apparition wasn't always there.

    Furthermore, because there is only ONE timeline, if something DID change, how would we know?
  7. FatSmel Jedi Grand Master

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    i don't think it is possible to completely define flow-walking if you are looking at all the EU sources it's involved in, because how it was introduced in Dark Nest is not reconcilable with how it was retconned to be in later series. And like all retcons i guess we just accept what has been said is canon, such as Vergere being a sith and Flow -walking not actually being able to change the past, just the memory of it.
  8. Sinrebirth SWC and EUC Forum Moderator

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    I really want StealthXs to be gone. So much suck.
  9. Lt.Cmdr.Thrawn The Other Saga Moderator

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    It's the Observer Effect. The mere act of observing can change things on a quantum level (which can snowball into observable effects), and being observed can definitely change things (as below).

    The fact that he saw Jacen might cause him to behave differently than he otherwise would - this is the interaction between the future and past. Even if in that one situation no behaviors were changed, the potential for that to happen must exist, no?

    It could also be that the apparition was always there - in which case, we might say that Jacen was predestined to use flow-walking to go back and observe those events. If flow-walking truly is dealing with time travel, even if it's just the mind doing the travelling, this is the sort of question that must arise. Again, if the observer couldn't be observed by the people present at the destination time/location, it wouldn't be a problem, and it also wouldn't be a problem if the character was said to be reading some "memory bank" of the Force, or having an "always in motion" type vision of the past. But from the description it sounds like there can be, and is, actual interaction between future flow-walkers and past inhabitants.

    What if someone flow-walked back to Palpatine's office while holding a sign that said "don't do it Anakin, he's lying!"?
    Last edited by Lt.Cmdr.Thrawn, Dec 30, 2012
  10. SiouxFan Jedi Grand Master

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    I'm not sure I agree with the 'observer effect'. I just finished watching tonight's Sunday Night Football game; if I hadn't have watched, does that mean that the result would have changed? I have my doubts.

    I see what you mean with the predestination idea, but then we have to believe that ALL acts are preordained, and I have trouble believing that. You might be better off and simply reading the scene in question in the Joiner King. It's not a very long scene, three or four pages tops, and is in the first third of the book. Take a read and tell me what you think it means.
  11. Vialco Force Ghost

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    1. The flow-walker would be totally unable to change the past. So no matter what a flow-walker did in Palpatine's office, the normal course of events would continue. Also, the flow-walker would risk getting blasted by Sidious's lightning and all the phantom pain it would bring.

    2. The flow-walker might be able to change the memories of the individuals there, and Anakin and Palpatine might remember someone being there, but seeing as they're both dead, it wouldn't make a difference.
  12. Lt.Cmdr.Thrawn The Other Saga Moderator

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    But since you're watching on TV, you're pretty well undetectable to the players. Someone in the stadium, or better yet on the field, would have a chance of affecting player behavior. That's what it sounds like is happening.

    Personally the only way I can understand reality in a consistent way is if all acts are preordained (after all, our brains are made of matter), but that things feel like we choose them both because we naturally attribute actions to the bodies (and minds) associated with them. We don't have total freedom to choose because our brains are matter, and because we can never have perfect knowledge of past or future possibilities and outcomes.

    All that aside, I'll have to check out the book. I'm on vacation currently, so I won't necessarily have a chance to find it anytime particularly soon, but I'll try to remember to at some point.
    Last edited by Lt.Cmdr.Thrawn, Dec 30, 2012
  13. SiouxFan Jedi Grand Master

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    I agree with your first statement, but I still fail to see how a flow-walker is 'changing' memories. That implies that a person has a previous memory of an event that is currently happening. Because this is impossible, it is likewise impossible to 'change' the memory of this event.
    I finally see what you are getting at, and I agree that where you observe an event matters to a certain extent (on the field, for example), but the act of merely observing still does not factor in to the event. Whether I had gone to FedEx field to watch the game or merely watched it at home; the Redskins STILL would have won. But, getting back to the example in Joiner King, Jacen is NOT on the 'field of play' as it were; he was merely standing off in a corner of the ship, a corner from which he did NOT think he would be seen.

    I'll have to agree to disagree about predestination. The chemistry that we use to run our brain is NOT sentient and has no vested interest in whether we do 'x' or 'y'. If we are truly preordained, than there is no such thing as free will.
  14. Lt.Cmdr.Thrawn The Other Saga Moderator

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    I am not sure if they're changing memories, myself. It seems like if a flow-walker travels back in time (from t=20 to t=5, let's say) and is seen by someone, that someone, at t=10, had either (a) the memory of seeing the flow walker even though the flow walker hasn't left their own frame of reference yet OR (b) didn't have the memory yet, and the memory "appeared" in their head at t=20 when the flow-walker successfully left on their flow-walking adventure.

    But regardless, seeing him (or any other flow-walker) could in principle affect the behavior of the person doing the seeing. So a flow-walker could affect the past... the question is still out as to whether that means that the events happened once, and then were changed retroactively, or if the flow walking was predestined. I don't know that there is an answer to this; it's something that comes up in all time travel stories, I think.

    I'm not sure what you mean by the 'brain chemistry' sentence, but I'll agree that as far as I can tell there is no truly free will. Our wills are constrained in a multitude of ways. We can do things that seem to make sense to us at the time (or sometimes things that don't), but we have no control over the situations and memories that shaped our minds such that those choices either make sense or not. There is no little homunculus driving the boat from somewhere outside of causality. This doesn't mean that people are unaccountable, but it does mean that what's done is done, and the best we can do is try to make things better in the future, to the extent that our limited knowledge and ability to project repercussions allows. Of course, "I" use "we" here loosely, because it's this kind of knowledge that leads to recognizing that each person (and everything else) is really just a seemingly-localized corner of the whole that is the universe. Very Traitorous thinking. But Stover was right.


    EDIT. Notwithstanding the free will stuff, all of the time travel issues could be avoided if flow-walking was simply a vision of the past, as Yoda even mentions in ESB. "Through the Force, things you will see. Other places... the future, the past. Old friends, long gone."
    Last edited by Lt.Cmdr.Thrawn, Dec 30, 2012
  15. ILNP Jedi Master

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    To quote you "No he didn't." They had to physically go to the location where the worldship was. In the book, they make mention that Jacen and Tahiri are in spacesuits. Why would they need to be in spacesuits if their in Jacen's office on Coruscant?
    Last edited by ILNP, Dec 31, 2012
  16. SiouxFan Jedi Grand Master

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    Okay, I concede that it has been forever since I've read...whatever book that was (Exile?). Did they actually go aboard the Vong worldship?
  17. Sinrebirth SWC and EUC Forum Moderator

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    Inferno. They hovered where the world ship had been.
  18. SiouxFan Jedi Grand Master

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    Okay, but being where the ship was, is not the same as being on the ship itself. Time for that ship ends when it is destroyed, therefore the 'time continuum' for the ship no longer exists and there is nothing to use to 'flow' back to. Remember, Jacen had to physically touch the Tachyon Flier to flow back; here there is nothing to touch, so this whole plot device should have been impossible. Ditto with his 'flow' to see Anakin Skywalker.

    As an aside, he didn't keep returning to Myrkr with Tahiri did he?
  19. Lt.Cmdr.Thrawn The Other Saga Moderator

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    This gets into more philosophical problems. What if the ship was destroyed, but someone put the pieces back together? Not to mention that all the particles that currently make up any object were originally part of other objects/matter, and before that, supernovae. What's the lower limit on what is required for flow-walking?

    Also, what if the ship's constituent parts were replaced, one by one, until none of the original hardware remained, but the ship was still called the same thing? (Ship of Theseus) Would flow-walking be possible in these cases?

    Also also, if everything is constantly in motion (the crusts of planets in slow motion, planets with respect to stars, stars with respect to galaxies, galaxies with respect to each other and to space itself, which is expanding anyway), how could one ever return to the exact area where something happened, without a material marker? Does the Force leave a type of physical imprint that is persistent (and interacts with matter - for example, the 'dark spot' orbiting Endor from HTTE), even as the universe changes around it?
    Last edited by Lt.Cmdr.Thrawn, Jan 1, 2013
  20. Zorrixor Chosen One

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    This is making flow-walking basically sound like a version of psychometry, with going to a location just a geographical version of someone having to hold the object to see into said object's past.
    Last edited by Zorrixor, Jan 1, 2013
  21. SiouxFan Jedi Grand Master

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    Or future. But yes, that is the way I read the scene from Joiner King. It is also why I never understood all of the controversy it caused; IMO, it is a bit like Mace's Shatterpoint technique: useful, but only in limited roles.
    As to the ship, I suppose it would be possible, assuming you used the same parts. The lower limit? Beats the heck out of me...

    I would argue that it IS impossible to return to an exact area without a material marker. Is that not why we use landmarks, to navigate to a friend's house? Is that not why we have a coordinated grid system? Even in-universe uses a coordinated grid, so that they have a reference cube to navigate off of.

    I've never understood the 'dark spot' around Endor; Dagobah I get, there the surrounding swamp has absorbed the dark energy that was given off by..whomever it was. But Endor? Can the vacuum of space absorb Force energy? I'm skeptical.
  22. Lt.Cmdr.Thrawn The Other Saga Moderator

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    Even with a grid - everything is constantly moving and exchanging particles with the surrounding area (such that all the atoms are replaced in some amount of time), space itself is constantly changing and expanding, etc. Change is constant, so any coherence must be only temporary and apparent.

    No idea, but the Force being apparently incorporeal, it presumably plays by different rules. Not to mention that empty space isn't truly empty anyway (zero point energy). One answer would be that the Force, like humans, conceptually particularizes matter and space into objects and locations. How it decides what counts as which is obviously totally unknown. Perhaps that's tied to the types of minds that have already been subsumed into the Force.
    Last edited by Lt.Cmdr.Thrawn, Jan 2, 2013