“An endless cycle of creation and destruction” in Fringe

"Why should we be so arrogant as to assume that we're the first Homo sapiens to walk the earth?"

--"6955 kHz"

With these words Walter compels us to reconsider our understanding of reality (or at least the "reality" of Fringe). Another of his inspired musings--"The universe expanding and contracting and expanding...an endless cycle of creation and destruction"-- suggests that we should be thinking about the nature of reality in non-linear terms. Before the next episode is unveiled I'd like to examine a different perspective of this multiverse (or bi-verse?) narrative. What if this "parallel universe" is not parallel to the original world at all, but a prequel to it? Are the "First People" the same thing as the so-called alternate people? Did Walternate, in fact, send Fauxlivia into the future to undo what Walter has done or will do?

Compare this circular chart from "The First People" to the "circle of Fringe" below, a key image in the publicity photos for season three

The theory that time is circular and that "everything has happened before and everything will happen again" is not a new one. Certainly Battlestar Galactica fans are familiar with it…and then there is always Nietzsche: "this life as you now live it and have lived it, you will have to live once more and innumerable times more." What seems like an alternate universe in Fringe may just be another version of a particular course of events on the same wheel of time. If this is the case, we would have to reconfigure our understanding of the mythology of Fringe and the ideas we have about the multiverse theory. As Walter tells Astrid, "you have to think like they did millions of years ago…just look at their concept of time." (He's actually talking about something else here but it could very well be a hint.) Perhaps there is a way to meld these theories together and think of time as a spiral rather than one straight line or a series of straight lines and various branches (see Walter's explanation in "The Road Not Taken").

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