The long con: Why The Doctor can never lose

Take a moment and imagine you are a being who can travel through all of space and time, someone who that can go from the Big Bang to the end of the universe. Then, putting yourself in that position, you are a being who wants to do good… you want to right wrongs, save people… heck, you want to save WORLDS. To help those in need, no matter what their race or planet of origin.

What would you do?

We see that same scenario in every episode of Doctor Who, the 50-year old television series whose main character is The Doctor, a Time Lord who is pretty much the character described above.

I ask “what would you do?” if you were The Doctor because, to me, the answer is obvious.

You go to the end of the universe, find the most extensive research library that exists, and you start reading.

About yourself.

What did you do, in the eternity of your existence? What decisions did you make, what people and threats did you encounter? How did you WIN?

Then, develop a VERY GOOD MEMORY.

Now, with that thought in mind, think about every episode of Doctor Who that has ever aired. Did you ever see The Doctor do something out of character? Maybe even something downright STUPID? Maybe he did that because he knew that he HAD to do that stupid thing in order to place himself where he needed to be in order to do his job… to “save the day.”

Why does the Doctor act oblivious and unknowing, when he knows everything? Rule #1: The Doctor lies.

The idea of “pre-determinism” is now the central premise of The Doctor’s existence. He knows what he has done, so he has to do it. He is created by, and a slave to, his own history.

Wibbly Wobbly Timey Wimey.

At the heart of this is a very dark premise. Everything that happens, has to. The Doctor lets his companions fall away, and sometimes DIE… because that is the way it has always been, and always will be.

HE is the fixed point in time, with many different “fixed” lives… a being that can never lose because he knows how to win. Always.

This is not just theory, it MAKES SENSE. You think The Doctor wouldn’t figure this out before I did? Of course not.

What is so rich about this is this: He beat all his fellow Time Lords (including The Master) because he realized this basic fact before they did.

Smart guy, that Doctor.

Joseph Dickerson is a user experience professional and UX Lead for Microsoft based out of Atlanta, GA. He has implemented processes in user testing, design and ethnographic research and provided design and consulting services for many different projects and organizations.

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