Groundhog Day: Escaping the loops of our lives
Groundhog Day: Escaping the loops of our lives
By Roland Michel Tremblay
“Every day is exactly the same”, (Trent Reznor, Nine Inch Nails). The thought of being trapped in some sort of loop, doing over and over again the same actions, is a worrying thought, as who would want to be condemned to repeat the same tasks and events for eternity? And yet, when we look at our destiny, at history, loops are everywhere, even when our life is not characterized by stagnation. Is there a way out?
There are four sorts of loops I can think of. The first one is the routine loop which includes a lot of repetitive tasks, the second is the destiny loop, what destiny can throw in our path, when it seems that similar events keep re-occurring in our life, giving us the sensation of being stuck at the same place forever. The third type can be described as a mind loop, where you would repeat in your mind a specific or a series of events over and over again, almost like if you were trying to find an escape, or a better way to reach another outcome, helping you get out of the mind loop. The last loop is déjà vu, which seems more like a problem related to the laws of physics, or once again it could be a mind loop as it is often described in psychology.
It seems to me that we are repeating a lot of the same stuff most of the time, and I believe that even though many people love to be stuck in time loops and routine, others like me are desperately trying to get out, to move on, to free themselves from anything related to a loop.
As if this was not enough, we have many reports of ghosts being trapped in time loops, repeating strong events of their life over and over again, as if loops were so intrinsically linked to humans, that even after death we would be continuing these loops forever. Can this be the sole consequence of having a conscience, trying to get it right eventually, or is there more to this?
Loops are also reflected in the motion of the universe, you could call them universal loops. The planets are revolving around the Sun like time clock, the moons are revolving around the planets, the solar system is revolving around other celestial objects, other solar systems all whirling in these rotating galaxies. And these galaxies are all sort of rotating in loops around each other, to the point where one could wonder if there is any evolution and if it is leading somewhere, a Big Crunch, or eventually some sort of big crash with other celestial objects, an explosion which will put an end to the endless loops.
Just like when we die and we decompose. It could be seen as a Big Crunch of our inside universe. Then if we become ghosts repeating the same events, it does not necessarily has to be a mind without a body event, but more like a recording of what was, as nothing really dies or disappears for good, or does it?
Looking for loopholes in which you could escape your numerous loops might be something worth pursuing, it is in my case. There is nothing suggesting that we need to escape loops, however it seems a sensible thing to do if you do not wish to be trapped forever in the same events or problems, especially if you haven’t found happiness yet.
Being stuck in a loop of happiness or love might be another kettle of fish, and then it might be acceptable to have some sort of routine, but then, it might not feel like you are in a loop, and perhaps you wouldn’t see a problem with that. If however you are stuck in an unhappy place, how should you proceed in order to find loopholes and free yourself?
Let’s first talk about the routine loop and find the routine loopholes. I have always been really afraid of any sort of routine, which might explain why I changed countries so many times, and jobs as soon as I could, as if I never wanted to be stuck in any sort of unpleasant situation for too long. You come to understand though that switching countries or jobs does not eliminate the routine, as you get caught in the same situations over and over again, whatever the country you’re in, whatever your daily tasks, and whatever people you are working with. You find everywhere the same people and the same jobs and the same routine.
How does someone get out of this habit? When you have to commute every morning, being squeezed every day in these packed trains, seeing the same people every morning at the exact same time, going to the corner shop or restaurant and they recognize you and know exactly what you want, and you know exactly how much it will cost you… oh dear, you’re in trouble.
Another example, you have to process files, enter numbers into a computer, and you could believe you might get out of this routine if you get on top of it and process all your files and data, but then you turn around and there are a few thousands more to be processed and you need to start all over again. You can change job, but a similar sort of loop will assuredly be facing you, and in the end all these loops are equivalent, it does not take long before you start suffering from the routine.
Is there any solution? I long thought that if I could live by being creative for a living, bringing to life some sort of art, I might escape that sort of loop, because then how could the day before be the same as today, when at least there is some new creation added to the world?
Having children is another good example of beating this schedule. Days might all look the same, but after a while the children grow and then you enter different phases of their existence which cannot fail to wake you up to new realities. Without growing children or bringing to life other creations, we might more easily see this endless routine and question the relevance of this existence.
So perhaps it is not so evident, and yet, it is there and we all suffer from it. It is maybe less evident when we are not miserable, but when we are, dear me, the routine is a killer that requires a lot of creativity to escape.
Solutions I’m afraid might be on a small scale, as I believe only through many changes in your life can you forget that the day before was the same as today. Doing crazy or unexpected things as a matter of normality, get away for a day somewhere you have never been, take a different route home, avoid anything you feel you might have to repeat on a daily basis.
Or you can be more radical, like I am. Always be ready to find a new job, change country, be curious about everything existence has to offer and always try to reach out for the next mountain. It is unlikely there will be something different there, but you never know.
I have been quite successful at preventing myself from being stuck at the same place for too long, and yet it seems I have been writing the same book year after year, without any sort of real evolution, having failed to learn anything new or extraordinary. But it works to a certain degree, it takes me a while to wake up one morning and wonder: what day is this, have I not done that yesterday, and the day before, or the month and year before? Am I not getting tired of always doing the same thing every day?
When you reach the point when you are at work and you cannot distinguish between Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, and it could have been all three days merged into one without any significant difference, you know it is time to act.
What about the destiny loops? How can we find destiny loopholes to evade going through the same horrible events over and over again? By destiny loops I mean for example going through a divorce for the third time, or more likely adding another failed relationship to your vast love experience. It is more remarkable for example if an important and marking event in your life happens for a second or third time, and then you tell yourself: not again, I’m not sure if I can go through this all over once more.
Like an exam you failed twice already and this time you have to pass it, or else you’re gonna start killing people, because then life would no longer be worth living. Driving test? I have three driving licenses, a Canadian, a British and a Californian one, I failed every time. I’m sorry, but I won’t go through this again in France, the day I retire there. I guess I’ll just have to retire in Cornwall, or take the bus, a cab or walk miles and miles.
There are many religions and philosophies out there who will teach you that you have reached some sort of stagnation in your life because you failed to learn the hard lessons of life. And once you gain that experience, once you figure out the problem and find the solution, then you will move on to other things and your life could potentially change radically.
I have experienced that a lot myself. I guess it was obvious, if so many religions picked up on it. There are always a lot of obstacles in the way, and learning to see them in a different light, like for example learning to like something you hate, might help get these obstacles out of the way.
One has to wonder how the mechanics of this existence could be setup in order to bring about the same harsh events to your door once more, so you have to experience it all again, until you have learned your lesson. Could there really be certain laws of nature being applied to permit such a thing?
Sometimes you would tend to think so, since, how could the same damn horrible event happen once more for you to confront? And once you have finally gone through it, and for once felt you learnt something new, learnt to see all of this in a different light, and perhaps from a different perspective, it never happens again.
This kind of stuff could make you believe in God or some other mechanics which have been carefully thought of for your own benefit, as if life was merely a testing ground, for you to learn some curriculum, and until you pass all the tests, you will not die. If you pass them all, or a certain percentage, then you are allowed to die. And if you fail completely, well, you will then be hit by a truck or a double-decker bus next time you go out. Because then, do you feel your life has had any real meaning?
If there are such mechanics to our existence, if truly nothing is random and everything has been planned to the last detail, just like when you play a graphic adventure game, then you do not necessarily have to involve God or some computer programmer writing your existence. As if truly this world is more virtual than real, then you could have planned your existence yourself, devise those experiences you thought you would need to learn and go through. But then, what would be the point of this? Why would you need to go through three divorces to finally understand that you need to make it work this time around, learn to compromise and love that horrible monster you’re married to?
At the end of the day, who cares about learning to love the next moron you meet, learn the have some faith in something, in humankind, learn to bring some justice and peace to this world? Learning how you can cause suffering, because then, when you find yourself in that same situation where some people bully you, then you get it, then you won’t bully anyone anymore, then you would defend the victims of bullying wherever you go. You never really give a thought to all the starving children in the world until you starve yourself for a while. Then you become Mother Teresa.
Come on, is this really what this existence is all about? Seems very useless compared with everything else there is in this universe. And yet, for whatever reason, or the source for this mechanic, it does appear that life could be about learning things. And if you fail, then it will be right back to hit you in the ass, giving you the sensation of some sort of loop. And then the only loophole is to learn something, try to see everything in a different light, study and pass the damn test so you can finally move on with your life. Stagnation is not acceptable. Don’t marry again, you won’t have to go through a second divorce.
In the end, there is no need for anything supernatural like God or a computer programmer living outside the fabric of space, planning all the little events of your life. It stands to logic that if you perceive something as an obstacle, stop right there to engulf all your energy into that little problem, then of course nothing else is moving on in your life.
The day you finally find the solution, then the obstacle disappears, you find some peace of mind. And if ever you are to encounter that problem again, you perhaps don’t realize, because you know the answer. Like a computer program constantly going into subroutines. The next time it has learned, it bypasses the subroutines and it continues on its way. Or does it? There is always a bug down there somewhere, it is human nature, we never learn, we are always stuck in all those subroutines.
Now for the mind loops and the mind loopholes. The best example I can find is something that most of us are all very familiar with, and yet I believe we fail to fully comprehend the real consequences of such acts, and we sometimes even enjoy imposing it on others.
You’re at work and somehow found a way to get yourself into trouble. Might be something you did, something you said, or sometimes, just for being yourself, which could be perceived as insufficient by your managers and human resources department. Most often it is their fault, and yet, so easily they forget what they previously said.
They call you in the office for a little chat, can I have a minute please. And there they have their little talk and listen to your endless justifications, which most of the time they don’t want to hear. Things need to change or else here are a series of possible consequences for you to consider: warnings, gross misconduct, instant dismissal. However, for this example, we don’t need to go that far. Threats don’t need to become so serious. The slightest little problem, and a nice little chat without any fear for you to lose your job, could do the trick.
What they don’t realize, is that whatever they could say will always have a huge impact on you. Because what happens then is that you get stuck in a loop, you will repeat to yourself in your mind everything that has been said, everything you answered back in your defense, all your justifications you have stated, and the ones you wish now you had stated. And these loops could go on for days, completely incapacitating you, rendering you incapable of concentrating on anything else, let alone your job.
This is perhaps the most dangerous loop to get stuck into, and probably the most common. You then become your own tormentor and, if you’re not careful, you can easily alienate yourself and the rest of your family in the process. I know, I live with someone completely alienated by his job, and we’re both ready for the asylum, in dire need for some psychological help. Other times I was the one in such a situation, and then, I simply sank myself into alcohol until the euphoria would make me forget the mind loop I was stuck in. I would repeat my whole life in my mind until somehow I could find a way out.
These are not exactly how we should escape mind loops. The first step would be, I reckon, to recognize that you are stuck in a mind loop. Once you have identified that little problem destroying your sanity, then you can work at eliminating it. When suddenly everything becomes too much, and you need to do something, like leave the office and go for a walk outside, or need to barricade yourself in the toilets for at least ten minutes if this is permissible, before going back into the nightmarish visions of that office, then you know you are stuck and need some hard thinking to get you out of this situation.
Once you have recognized that you are in a mind loop, you need to take a step back, look at it from a more global perspective, or objective point of view. You need to ask yourself what the hell just happened, what is the real problem here, and how can it be solved? This happened, it is because this and that, and in the global scheme of things, this is what is really going on. How to move beyond this situation, how can I put this behind and move forward without repeating these events in my mind over and over again? Is it really that important? Who really cares anyway? I need to be happy again, I need to find peace again.
That is one way of dealing with it, one loophole to escape that mind loop. It will not work all the time, but it might help throw you out of it faster than usual. Some people do it naturally, happy go lucky kind of people, it seems nothing can reach them. These people are happy all the time and you wonder what their secret is. It is a mystery. And yet, they react exactly the way you should react yourself. Because you can still have a brain, get stuck in mind loops, and finally tell yourself that none of these mind games are worth your time or should change anything to your existence. I find that very hard to achieve by the way, maybe it’s impossible. Stuck forever in these time loops, I am.
Finally, the last and ultimate loop, the déjà vu loop and possible loopholes, though I understand this is not going to be easy. I can’t explain them in the first place. I have already written two full reports about it in an attempt to explain it, so I won’t say much here:
Groundhog Day: Time Loop, Day repeating itself over and over again, Temporal Causality Loop: http://www.themarginal.com/timeloop.htm
phenomenon: Time Loops, Timelines, Clairvoyance,
Precognition, Predicting the future, Changing the future,
Seeing the Past,
I would add though that these extraordinary experiences we go through from time to time are worrying indeed. They could suggest that we are in fact repeating big chunks of our existence over and over again, just like some reports about ghosts. As if alive or dead, we could be condemned to repeating the same events for eternity. Doesn’t matter as if in the case of ghosts it is just one traumatic event like being killed or killing someone, or some happy event like a wedding that turned to disaster, or if like in life, it is whole days and perhaps whole lives that we are repeating.
How would you even begin to explain that, and what sort of purpose could it serve, if any? Could just be some consequences of a fluctuating timeline, sudden changes in the rate at which time is ticking according to relativity, or some other laws of nature. Might also simply be a fraction of a second difference between what you’re right eye and your left eye see, as psychology likes to tell us, however I don’t buy it.
I play adventure games on the computer, and when they are great, I feel I have played them before, I remember playing them before and can even to a certain extent tell you what will happen next, and yet I never played them before. You have to understand that these games are my only pleasure in life, my only escape from reality, and so I truly fully experience them, I do live within these virtual worlds. I would certainly remember them from one loop to another. I feel the same about books I read, for example, the 80 books of Agatha Christie which I am finishing right now, have I not read them all before? This is more than intuition, it is a certainty that I have done that before, and that I will do it again, and again.
Déjà vu might be the symptom of the worst ever time loop you will ever experience in your lifetime, if there is an end to your lifetime to begin with. Or is it just that there is no such thing as linearity in your existence, and you live as much in the future as in the past or present? Or maybe we are just reliving over and over again our entire existence, and if you have too good a memory, dear me, you will feel trapped, as you may not be able to break away from your destiny.
How can we escape déjà vu? I’m not sure we can, and learning a pitiful lesson or acquiring a great experience about life might not do the trick. Ultimately you might relive your entire existence over and over again, and if it is pleasurable or horrible enough, you might eventually remember having gone through that before, in a déjà vu, otherwise you got through life blissfully unaware of this inescapable ultimate loop.
What about the universal loops then, the celestial objects stuck in there course in loops for eternity from our point of view? Is this a good indication of what the particles composing us are doing, stuck in loops forever until death, and perhaps continuing beyond life? Are we simply going through a cycle like a planet around the sun, and sometimes just reliving the same day, the same year, the same decade, because somehow the particles inside of us are also following well defined trajectory bringing them to the same places cyclically? Is it fatalism, determinism? You might wish to check those words out on Wikipedia. As one way or another, we are stuck for eternity, in eternal loops.
Better bring in then the Myth of Sisyphus all over again, all of us condemned for eternity to push that boulder to the top of the mountain, just to see if it falls back down, and then push it to the top once more for eternity. Have we done that before? I’m not sure. Better push it to the top again, just in case we never did that before. This is a well thought idea, coming from Greek mythology. Perhaps that visionary author foresaw what our existence is all about, a time loop none of us will ever escape.
How do we escape this fate? I have no solution to offer, because there is not enough data to comprehend what underlay the déjà vu phenomenon, the eternal loop of our existence. And even if one day we could explain it, I doubt there is anything we could do about it, or is there?
Maybe you can remember what happened once, and somehow change radically your life. Perhaps you can break the mould, change this world in ways you never thought you would. Is it not possible that lays within you just what is required to break these eternal loops of our existence?
Never be stuck again, never go through the same thing again! Get out and change your destiny, and by the same token, break our universal Groundhog Day, our universal loop, so we can finally be free!
There is a totally different life out there waiting to be lived, a life of adventure and happiness. Wouldn’t it be a shame if we were to die, once more, without having experienced it? And how many times must we go through this, before we realize, that we need to radically change our existence and break the loops, forever condemned to repeat the past, all the time?
Do the unexpected, change your way of life, create this new world in which we can all survive and actually live a happy life, without any kind of loop or déjà vu. Let’s change the destiny of the world this time around! And never again will we ever be trapped into the mistakes of the past. Let’s break the loop! Can we change this world, can we change our future for the better? Yes we can!