We begin with time by reducing it to causality. In various forms of logic, this can be reduced to the equation ‘if p, then q‘. Yet, this is known to be problematic as there is no proof for p, it is always assumed. The quest for p is an old one. Perhaps the most famous resolution is that attributed to Aquinas: there must be a first step that is uncaused (which he then attributes to God). Generalising on these, time becomes a linear progression from God through innumberable events to p which finally causes q. Of course, the reply to Aquinas has been made, what caused God? The answer to this, however, is lacking: God caused God.
To follow the critique of Aquinas, we can go on to infinity and never find an original cause without assuming one of two things: either the first cause is itself uncaused or self-caused (a la Aquinas) or there is no first cause (e.g. ‘turtles all the way down’). However, there is a third option: to reject the logic of time. To do this, we must first resurrect the time paradox of chicken or egg. In turning to science fiction, we can find that this paradox is not one at all because time is a play of nonsense.
In the series finale of Star Trek: The Next Generation (‘All Good Things’), the time paradox is realised by Captain Picard while he is trying to understand what he is experiencing (thanks to the almighty Q). Picard’s answer to the time paradox is that the past is caused by the future. Similarly, in at least one serial of Doctor Who (‘Terminus’), it is discovered that Event One (i.e. the big bang) was caused by a starship freighter caught in the far future in a vortex at the centre of the universe ejecting its fuel reserves as an attempt to escape that vortex. In both cases here, the future directly causes the past and even time itself to exist. It is here that the paradox of time foils the notion of linear and logical time. Yet, how can we understand time?
It is through a reading of Deleuze’s syntheses of time and Nietzsche’s amor fati that time itself can be understood. Here, destiny is not the determination of future events nor the divination of future events in the past. Destiny is the interpretation of the past such that the present has become inescapable. It is a synthesis of the past in the future and a recreation of the future in the past simultaneously. I was destined to write this, not because some thing (be it God or otherwise) declared it so millenia ago (or even ‘beyond time’). Nor was I destined to write this because a fortune teller saw me doing so months ago. I was destined to write it because, as I write this, my past has been altered such that past events lead to my writing here and now. In other words, destiny is not an act of future determination but of past possibilities. It is this kind of destiny that Nietzsche called Fate and embraced.
Yet, now what of the paradox of time? Was the big bang caused by a starship unloading its fuel reserves? Probably not. However, it is also not necessary to presuppose that the uncaused God caused everything. There is no logic to time, and either we impose our own creation over time (i.e. we cause our own destinies) or we accept that we exist. In either case, existence does not need a reason to exist.