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calendar   Thursday - April 12, 2007

Through The Looking Glass

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“Tralfamador”

The Traflamadorian world provided Billy Pilgrim with the escape that he needed from his guilt. The Traflamadorian people are not locked in a three dimensional realm. They are not locked in the frames of time to which the human world is forced to live in. Traflamadorians can “shift” through time as seamlessly as humans can walk towards a point. This ability allows them to focus on the pleasant moments in the history of the Universe and ignore the aspects of time they dislike.

The Tralfamadorians are real to Billy because without them he cannot live with himself. Billy believes that he was taken by a Tralfamdorian ship to be an exhibit of a human being in a Tralfamdorian Zoo. On Tralfamador, Billy is exposed to an entire new way of thinking which neutralizes the “Why me?” question. In the Tralfamdorian view of the Universe, guilt does not exist because in their view one is not responsible for one’s actions. Whatever will, or has happened will always happen and did always happen. There is no way to change the course of events. Everything is predetermined. Billy is told by the Tralfamadores (regarding Tralfamador) that:

“Today we do (have peace). On other days we have wars as horrible as any you’ve ever seen or read about. There isn’t anything we can do about them, so we simply don’t look at them. We ignore them. We spend eternity looking at pleasant moments.”

The Tralfamadorians even now question as to when and who will destroy the Universe, yet they make no attempt to stop it because in their eyes it cannot be stopped. Billy, by accepting the Tralfamadorian view, frees himself from the guilt which one feels when one is locked in time and responsible for one’s actions. Billy Pilgrim grasps the Tralfamadorian philosophy and insists the Tralfamadorian world exists because it eliminates the “Why me?” question. Guilt is a feeling of responsibility or remorse for some offense, crime wrong; a feeling of culpability.

For example if one steals a hundred dollars, one would feel remorse over that action and wish one had not done it. Under the Tralfamadorian outlook Billy Pilgrim does not have to feel remorse for being saved because that is how it was and always will happen. He does not have to feel guilt or remorse because there is no reason to. There is nothing that can be done about war and death, “they are as easy to stop as glaciers.” The death of all those innocent people could not be stopped, it was predetermined by some unknown force just as the destruction of the Universe, by a Tralfamadorian testing a new fuel, is also predetermined and unstoppable.

-- Kurt Vonnegut, “Slaughterhouse Five”


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Posted by The Skipper   United States  on 04/12/2007 at 04:16 PM   
Filed Under: • Art-PhotographyLiterature •  
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Oh, and here's some kind of visitor flag counter thingy. Hey, all the cool blogs have one, so I should too. The Visitors Online thingy up at the top doesn't count anything, but it looks neat. It had better, since I paid actual money for it.
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