In the movie, The Adjustment Bureau, based on the book by Philip K. Dick, two strangers find themselves drawn together by the will of the universe. Others may refer to that as simple fate. I was surprised and then won over by The Adjustment Bureau, with its deep themes about our existence, free will and fate. How much power exactly do the agents of fate hold over someone’s life? Can free will ever win over fate? And is it free will or fate that orchestrates action? These are the questions that come to mind throughout George Nolfi’s newest film, “The Adjustment Bureau,” based on the short story by Philip K.
Dick. “The intention of this film is to raise questions-that’s what art should do,” commented Nolfi about this soon-to-be-released motion picture at a Pasadena screening. I definitely agree that this film raised many questions. I don’t think you can create an equivalency of this film to Christian theology or Scripture. (Internet Encyclopedia) This is a film that deals with all kinds of forms of thinking about these issues. Is there one plan? How do I find the plan? What if I get off the plan? (Zakarin) The character David Norris, on the eve of his election night, by chance, meets Elisa Sellas.
She is a beautiful contemporary ballet dancer who is unlike any woman he has ever known. And chance, it seems, continues to bring them together, despite what the men in grey suits and hats-the agents of fate- have got to say about it. The men of the Adjustment Bureau will do everything in their considerable power to prevent Norris and Sellas from being together. Why? We are not really sure either….. but we know it has something to do with ultimate plans, inflection points, and a never-to-be-seen mysterious “Chairman. Throughout the movie, the agents continually try to detour Norris from running into Sellas again, and again. They actually succeed for a duration of three years. The two characters went about their lives, having failed relationships and always left wondering what happened to one another. In the end, they reunite one again. Could it be fate? Or is it the free will of how humans are?
To have a philosophical understanding of one’s fate, to defy fate with philosophy, appears to be the usual and obvious to answer to the question, as to the relation between fate and philosophy. Fate vs. free will) Since the day of the Greeks, it has been considered the task of philosophy to give its followers the power to resist fate; to be a philosopher means to adopt an attitude that is superior to fate. In the movie, Norris truly believed that even though the “Chairman” and the agents continually disrupted every encounter he and Elise had together; they were meant to be together. The three years that they spent apart, he rode a bus that took the same exact route every day, hoping to see her again. It was fate that eventually brought them back together again.
Fate is the transcendent necessity in which freedom is entangled. (Fate vs. free will) This involves three things: first, fate is related to freedom. Where there is no freedom, there is no fate; there is simple necessity. If a higher power is trying to stop, or change a path that one is walking, fate may be interrupted. Second, fate signifies that freedom is subjected to necessity. It puts freedom into an embracing frame of reference. Only one whose freedom was absolute would have no fate. If the agents in the movie were to incarcerate or erase the memory of an individual, their fate would not exist.
Their fate would never be able to be found. I find that a very sad situation. If I was pre-determined to meet the man of my dreams, I would do everything in my power to search for him until I found him! If someone was holding me back, I would fight with every ounce of my being to make sure I stayed on the path I have chosen. Third, fate signifies that freedom and necessity are not separated but that, in every fateful event, freedom and necessity interpenetrate each other. Are we victims of inescapable fate, or do we have the power to create our own destiny?
I believe that certain choices we make can absolutely change the way we walk down our given path. (The Protestant Era) This world, and this lifetime, has infinite possibilities; yet you will travel one path. How are you supposed to know if this path is right for you? Norris, in The Adjustment Bureau, believed he and Elise were destined to be together. But would he have known this if the agents were not caught in their act? How often in life are we confronted with our own free will? At times such as these when we feel the weight of destiny in our hands, can we really doubt hat we truly possess freedom of the will? Perhaps the simple essence of humankind knows better than science. We as students were told we had to watch the movie The Adjustment Bureau, during one of our scheduled classes. Did we choose to watch this movie on our own? Or was there some greater force that had this planned out so that some long series of events—a butterfly effect—could be triggered? Free will vs. fate. It is a question that has baffled some of our greatest philosophers, possibly impossible to answer—unless you have seen behind the curtain. Or rather, the door.