The limitation of free will has been a large theme in many stories we have read and watched in english class this year. We recently finished reading Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut and had a socratic seminar to wrap up the book. There was one large question we had to answer and then we could answer sub questions or cover sub topics that relate. The large question was “Is Western Society Doomed?” When looking at this question in the lens of the book, I would say yes, western society is doomed because people do not have free will and the future is predetermined. If this is true, war is inevitable. There is no way to prevent war from happening.

I compared this book to “Black Mirror” in order to show that war is unavoidable. In “Black Mirror” Stefan tried to fight for free will. He tried resist the control and make his own decisions. He was never able to do this. This shows that there is no point to fight for your free will and there is no point of trying to prevent war. The inability to obtain free will and control the future means the trying to prevent war will never actually stop a war. This war was already set to happen in that moment and it will no matter what anyone does to stop it from happening.

There was an ongoing debate during the discussion about if people had a purpose in the world. We see through this book that Vonnegut believes we do not have a purpose. He believes that we live for the moment and in the moment. We have no purpose past that moment because what we do in that moment will not affect anything else we do. Many people in the class agreed with Vonnegut’s view. People were saying that we are bound to die and we live to that moment with no purpose or meaning. I am very back and forth with this, but for the mos part I believe that we do have a purpose in the world. I think everything happens for a reason even though we may not always know the reason for what has happened. I think every decisions you make can affect your future.

I think it is very interesting that Vonnegut introduced an alien like species, the Tralfamadorians, and made them interact with humans. Juliana started talking about this during the discussion and I found it very interesting. There is definitely another world with living animals (even if they are not aliens). Just like we don’t know they exist, they don’t know we exist. I think it’s cool that Vonguet shows this alien species being more advanced than humans. We always think we are the most advanced species but there is probably something out there, like the Tralfamadorians, that have figured everything out which we have not yet figured out.


photo credits: https://io9.gizmodo.com/kurt-vonneguts-slaughterhouse-five-is-coming-to-tv-1821055071


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