'Dark' Season 2: The Bootstrap Paradox explains the twisted origins of the time machine on Netflix show

'Dark' Season 2: The Bootstrap Paradox explains the twisted origins of the time machine on Netflix show

The complex time-traveling show 'Dark' is a messy affair. Mind you, it is messy in a good way.

It has been a while since a show has left us so utterly confused that we find ourselves digging deeper so we can unravel the mystery. 

What drives 'Dark' forward are not just the compelling characters, their drives and passions but also the madness that unfolds as a result of time-travel paradoxes. Most specifically, the Bootstrap Paradox.

Bootstrap Paradox is a theoretical paradox of time travel that occurs when an object or piece of information sent back in time becomes trapped within an infinite cause-effect loop in which the item no longer has a discernible point of origin and is said to be “uncaused” or “self-created”. 

An example of bootstrap paradox would be if a time traveler had gone back in time to teach Einstein the theory of relativity, and then returned to his own time.

Einstein now claims that the theory of relativity is his original work and is passed on from generation to generation as his own brainchild till it reaches back in the hands of the original time traveler who takes it back to Einstein.


This leaves us with the question of the origins of the theory of relativity. 

1986 Claudia Tiedemann with the time machine (Image: Netflix)

We can no longer say that it came from the time traveler as he learned it from Einstein, neither can we say that it is from Einstein since he learned it from the time traveler.

So, who then has discovered the theory of relativity?

In 'Dark', the origins of the time machine are unknown.

It is only after the future Claudia Tiedemann (played by Lisa Kreuzer) goes back in time to give HG Tannhaus (played by Christian Steyer) the machine that he is capable of making one year later. 

"Well, chronologically, the first event in regards to the time machine is when Claudia shows up and gives the plans to Tannhaus. Why would anyone need that information though? To do what? If you’re referring to a ‘first loop’, i.e, the very first time someone creates the machine, there doesn’t appear to be one. There are no iterations of loops, only the one loop. The ‘bootstrap’ part doesn’t refer to something that’s going round and round in a loop, it refers to something that doesn’t appear to have a creator. The machine wasn’t created by Tannhaus, he just copied the blueprints. So who did? Nobody. That’s the paradox," explains Reddit user summ190.


The first two seasons of 'Dark' are streaming on Netflix.

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