Last night's episode of FlashForward was pretty awesome.I actually got weepy at the end of it. Last week it was Dollhouse that made me weepy. One of the episodes of SGU made me weepy. Science fiction has gotten so emotional lately!
I was watching a Fringe video podcast and they included a clip about the Two Slit Experiment mentioned by Simon in FlashForward and I started thinking about it on the way to work this morning...
(Watch the clip first if you're not familiar with the experiment)
What if in the context of FlashForward the two slit experiment as an analogy for life, where the electrons represent people? Without observation, the electrons form an interference pattern and end up covering a lot of the screen. This represents people having a wide open future. Your destiny is unknown.
However, when the electrons are observed with an instrument, they only go through one of the slits or the other and there's no interference pattern. In FlashForward, the blackout brings about the situation where people are all "forced" to observe their path at one moment in time. The spot the electron ends up represents the person's flash forward, and the screen represents the point in time 6 months in the future when the flash forward occurs. Where before they could have ended up almost anywhere, now they're focused on one specific spot. People are both the electrons and the instrument of observation at the same time.
This is in line with Simon's explanation to the woman on the train that "you" (meaning mankind in general) are responsible for the flash forwards. People are the instrument observing themselves, causing them to end up in a specific spot (their flash forward) instead of their future not being determined yet.
There's a few things from last night's episode where events deviate from or are inconsistent with people's flash forwards. The most obvious is when Al kills himself, clearly contradicting his flash forward, where he's alive. And Demetri "sees" himself dead (assuming that not seeing anything means death) but Zoe sees him at the wedding (I think she doesn't actually say she SEES him there - she says she knows he's there, or something along those lines - but let's say that there's no trickery involved and in her vision Demetri really is there) so their flash forwards contradict.
I think the difference here is that people have free will, unlike electrons (as far as I know). And they are both electrons AND the observers in my analogy, so perhaps they can still exert an influence on their fate after the artificially induced moment of observation. Instead of having to be a discrete spot on the screen, they could be the interference pattern instead. This is sort of what Zoe says when she says to choose to believe in her flash forward.
This is perhaps taking the "two" part of the two slit experiment too literally, but maybe Demetri the electron goes through one slit and Zoe the electron goes through the other, causing them to land on two different bands on the screen, i.e. different futures in six months.
I usually don't do much speculation and theorizing about shows. I like listening to podcasts where other people do it, but I usually don't have any thoughts at all. :P But this was actually fun and interesting to think about.