Up@dawn 2.0

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Rick and Morty Play With Free Will

Roland Phan
Section 4
Dr. Oliver

                                         Rick and Morty Play With Free Will

The thought of a show on Adult Swim dealing with the crude reality of Free Will and doing well would have been a joke four years ago had it not been for Rick and Morty. With all of their absurd shorts and Family Guy reruns, this would be the last place to seek out what our true role in this universe is. As ridiculous and crude as Adult Swim allows it to be, the show will always make their audience rethink their place within this world, whether it be in a small town somewhere in the United States or on some planet's moon within an arcade living someone else's life for thirty minutes even though it felt like seventy years to you. Though, that's for another post.

The episode "The Ricks Must Be Crazy" is a wonderful example of how much Free Will we may really have in all of our lives. The episode starts out with Rick, Morty and his sister Summer in different version of their earth, within the multiverse. After watching a questionably rated film at a theater, Rick decides to take them to get the best ice cream in the multiverse in his tiny spacecraft which has just stopped working. Rick's spacecraft is fueled by a Microverse battery that was the cause of ship not starting. In this moment, Rick pulls Morty out and into the Microverse battery with him and leaving Summer to stay safely in the ship.

It is in this new and tiny world where Free Will becomes questioned by the viewers. The source of Rick's ship's electricity is from a universe within the battery whose only purpose as a species is to create electricity for a ship. Instead of finding the population at work doing their daily jobs to power the battery, Rick finds them doing the exact opposite and living life. Then he and Morty discover that that same civilization has just produced a Microverse themselves to power their electrical needs. The same thing happens again when this civilization loses their power as well due to the same issue arising within theirs.

Before all of this, though, the different universes had absolutely no idea that they were being used for the sole purpose of powering a small and dinged up car-like spacecraft. The philosopher St. Augustine, if possible, would likely see this as an interesting metaphor for his opinions on Free Will and to what extent it has. St. Augustine believed that Free Will was real and true but did not deny that God did not have his own plans as well. To St. Augustine, just because our moves were predetermined by God does not make those moves or choices any less free.

Now with St. Augustine's philosophy in mind and back to the show, Rick can now be seen as that Microuniverse's God. Does that Microverse actually have Free Will if their whole reason for existence and way of life was predetermined for the sole purpose of powering a spacecraft? So since Rick is their creator and basically "God," does St. Augustine's philosophy work here as well? They are a civilization that go about doing what any normal version of Earth would be doing at any given time, just with the added fact that all of their jobs are to essentially produce electricity, unbeknownst to them that it is for Rick.

Comparing the mad scientist that is Rick to the All-Powerful God might be a little much, but the parallels between this part of the  episode and our lives might be a little closer than we might think. Who is to say that there is or is not a a bigger picture out there that we just do not see at the moment simply because we cannot comprehend it?

St. Augustine was also a big fan of the idea that it was because we had Free Will that there is evil in the world. If his idea is true, does that make Rick's tiny universe of energy evil or wrong or was that just another piece of a plan that nobody can see nor understand fully yet?

1 comment:

  1. "To St. Augustine, just because our moves were predetermined by God does not make those moves or choices any less free." Please explain.

    "Who is to say that there is or is not a a bigger picture out there" - logically, that there "is or is not" is undeniable...

    "a plan that nobody can see nor understand" could still be evil, no?