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After watching Arrival yesterday I'm naturally curious about the implications of the plot in universe.

I would like to ask a question about what exactly these implications are (speculative or backed by quotes from screen writers, the original book source, etc) but fear it will be considered to be more a discussion than a proper QA entry.


The question itself should target what the implications of the events of the movie are on a philosophical level.

More precisely, if the revelation that you can perceive time as non-linear and basically "as a whole" mean that everybody that learns the language will realize that "all that will happen already happened" - thus realizing that the universe of the movie is a "closed loop", i.e. complete determinism (which is my interpretation).


My original thought was to ask something along the lines of "Is the universe of Arrival a closed time loop? So, as Louise realizes that her future is set in stone, can she even have free will?" etc.

How can I formulate the question in a way that will

  • be answerable and acceptable according to (SciFi.)SE standards
  • nonetheless invite and accept speculative answers that incite thought

Question Draft

Below is a draft of the question I would like to ask on the main site.


[Introductory Things]

[Explaining of Plot "Twist"]

Considering this revelation, I wonder: Does it imply that "all that will happen has already happened"?

My interpretation is such that because Louise experiences Past, Present and Future (or rather; lack thereof) simultaneously, the audience is lead to believe that her future has already happened.

It appears as if she can experience all of her time at once. By that logic it would also mean that her mind is more or less "outside" of time, making her... immortal?

And; If that was true, does this mean by knowing the universal language gifted by the Heptapods, you will become immortal, as you will be able to experience your life all at once - basically jumping in time to wherever you want?

Is this a valid interpretation or am missing something? Does the book reveal more of how this universe works or is there any "canon" defined by the screenwriter, director, etc.?


I posted the question now, as there were no oppositions within a week. Should this change, I'll edit it accordingly.

  • 1
    How about you add your proposed question here, as an answer to this question (cw if you feel like it), so we can all see what you have in mind and try to refine it if necessary. – SQB Dec 1 '16 at 9:04
  • @SQB Good idea - i posted a rough draft of what I want to ask / discuss – Florian Peschka Dec 1 '16 at 9:23
  • @SQB What would you say is an appropriate time to wait before I will just post the question as is if there is no response in this question? – Florian Peschka Dec 5 '16 at 12:05
  • I'm tempted to say this is more like a Philosophy.SE question than a SciFi.SE question, but I'm not familiar with the quality standards on that other site. – Ixrec Dec 10 '16 at 22:34

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