Some people habitually blame themselves, and others habitually blame the world, but this whole question of "whodunnit?" has been bothering Ethan. He is constantly assaulted by the myth of the bumblebee, who let loose its wrath upon the world, only to suffer a more terrible fate than it ever could have inflicted. Ethan would like to find a way to move beyond the back-and-forth of blame and guilt. And as a philosopher, he's willing to go to extreme lengths in order to find such a way. To that end, he make two claims: Nobody is entirely responsible for anything that happens. But everybody is partially responsible for everything that happens, throughout all space and time. Intriguing.
He offers up a couple commonly held ideas that support his claim. The Butterfly Effect, though far-fetched, is well understood. And most people are willing to accept it at some level. Also, it is common to say, “If you’re not with us, then you’re against us.” This is simply another way of saying that you are culpable even if you do nothing, even if you’re not involved. Furthermore, there are already many religious traditions that hold to the interconnectedness of everything. Unitarian Universalism comes to mind, as does the Eastern concept of Karma.
So that’s all well and good as far as ethos goes. But Ethan knows that his theory needs a little more logos and pathos. So he offers up two more versions of his story: Every event in history has culminated in You right now. And everything You do will effect the future. Which is another way of saying that past, present, and future unite in the super-historical moment that is You; Finally, we must not ignore the phenomenon that occurs when we witness a heinous act. The mind automatically puts itself into the role of judge, criminal, and victim. Even if just at a superficial level, we are implicated in everything we are aware of.
As Ethan's thesis advisor, Zach thinks Ethan's theory needs further refinement. But he sees some shreds of reason in it. For example, this episode of the Ethan and Zach Trio is a mess, frankly, but whose fault is that?! Answer: It's EVERYONE'S fault. A butterfly flaps its wings in Japan, and two Americans produce a confusing podcast episode. And it was always meant to be. Everything led up to this show, and this show is indispensable for everything that follows.
People fighting vigorously against something will, by the very intensity of their desire, make that thing happen. The archetype of the Shadow and the collisions of opposites. A monkey wrench is thrown into the fog, and the Trio encounters the Knights Who Say “#@*!”
What does it all mean? Zach eagerly awaits the second draft of Ethan's paper...