You must have heard of Boostrap Paraodox if you are a fan of Dark
(on Netflix) and there is a lot more to be explored.
Also known as the Ontological Paradox, the Bootstrap paradox is a key piece within the theories about time travel and, therefore, within the universe of this German series.
It is linked to theoretical physics and the possible existence of so-called “wormholes” capable of making “curves” through space and time, through which it would be possible to travel to the future or the past.
So how does that occur and how does it function? Let’s find out.
The Bootstrap paradox occurs when an object or piece of information is sent back in time to influence its own creation and is trapped in a cause-and-effect time loop.
Thus, it becomes impossible to determine the point of origin or end of said object: it simply exists in a closed time curve.
One of the clearest examples occurs when asking which came first, the cнιcκen or the egg. A hen had to lay the egg but that egg had to come from the hen.
Where did it start?
Although it may seem like a fairly recent concept, the truth is that the idea of travelling to the past has been present in literature since the 19th century, with the novels The Anachronópete of 1881 and The Time Machine by HG Wells of 1895.
However, both novels considered travel to the past and future, respectively, but only on a parallel timeline (kind of what happens in Avengers: Endgame).
The idea of the time loop popularized in 1941 under the name Bootstrap Paradox. Thanks to the book By His Bootstraps by science fiction writer Robert A. Heinlein.
In it, a man named Bob Wilson travelled back in time and his future self gave him a book. The protagonist then used the information in the book to become a dictator.
How is it different from the predestination paradox?
Although they might sound the same, and both belong to the “closed” temporal paradoxes, the Bootstrap Paradox and the Predestination Paradox have a small but important difference.
And it is that while the Bootsrap paradox refers to objects or pieces of information, the predestination paradox is related to actions.
A paradox of predestination occurs when the actions of a person who travels back in time become a fundamental part of the events that will take place in the future. Creating, like Bootsrap, a closed cause-effect loop.
So Event 1 (past) influences Event 2 (future) and vice versa. In such a way that any attempt to change the course will be a failure and will end up triggering them in the same way.
Both the Bootstrap Paradox and the Predestination Paradox fall into the category of ontological paradoxes. According to that, the past, present and future are not defined.
Everything and everyone simply exists in an infinite loop, with no origin or end.
There are a lot of theories around the bootstrap paradox if you are interested. It will help you take a deeper dive into it. Let this be the first step towards it.