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Loki Variants & Metaphysics

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If you have yet to see the first episode of Disney’s Loki series, this essay contains spoilers. This episode lays out some of the key metaphysics of the MCU: there were numerous timeline branches (alternate realities) that engaged in war with each other. This was addressed by the Time Keepers pruning all the branches until only one timeline remained. To ensure that the timeline does not split, the TVA (time cops) exists to police problems. Among these problems are variants; people who somehow deviate from the sacred time stream. Loki is, obviously, the main character of Loki. In fact, he is two main characters: the anti-hero Loki and the hero-anti Loki (the villain). Since the metaphysics of the MCU allows for time travel, this entails that the same person can be at different places at the same time. They can, for example, even fight. While this is a metaphysical mess, this means that time travel can be used as a multiplier: a person can time it right so that different versions of themselves all arrive at the same place at the same time. So, for example, Loki could show up to fight an enemy at a set time and arrange for himself to go back or forwards in time ten times and end up with eleven of himself to overwhelm the foe. This, of course, leads to the usual paradoxes and problems. A future Loki could tell a distant past Loki about things that a middle past Loki did not know, but then the middle past Loki would know it. While this is even more of a mess, the time travelling Lokis could remain there in that time and start their own lives or perhaps travel back to a more distant past over and over to create a vast army of Lokis that meet up at a future time to do whatever it is that his character arc directs him to do. Such time travel has various other problems. One common point brought up in time travel tales is the importance of not changing the past. Some sci-fi stories do allow a change in the past to somehow change the future, other stories simply make it so. . .

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News source: A Philosopher's Blog

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