Old 08-27-2007, 01:51 AM   #1
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Default The Rules of Quantum Leaping

Ok so something just randomly popped into my mind. You know how when Sam tried to fix his marriage to Donna and Al wanted Sam to fix his marriage with Beth and Sam wanted to save his Brother. But both men were reminded that they could not alter their own history? This is because that is one of Sam's rules.

Now in Honeymoon Express when Al informs Sam that he needs to stop the U-2 incident to prove hes in the past or lose the project Sam says
"I don't need the project in case you have forgotten they aren't leaping me around God is!"

Ok so if they are so sure that God is controlling Sam's leaping and not the project than why do they need to follow the project's rules? They shouldn't apply if God is the one in control of Sam. So if God thinks that its ok for Sam to alter his own or Al's history than he should be able to. Sam only made his rules because he thought he would be in control.
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Old 08-28-2007, 06:40 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by Sam Beckett Fan
Sam only made his rules because he thought he would be in control.
I don't think that's why Sam created the rules. There are a few rules we know about: 1. the leaper cannot change history for his/her own benefit/for personal gain (mentioned in Star Crossed and MIA); 2. the leaper must behave as the leapee would behave (Mentioned in Runaway and the Wrong Stuff)

The first rule is to prevent exploitation of time travel for opportunistic reasons, and the second is to prevent the leaper from disrupting the life of the leapee by having him/her say "crazy" things (like "I'm not your 11-year-old son, I'm Dr. Sam Beckett, I'm 34 years old and I'm from the future) and acting in clearly inexplicable ways. That rule would also prevent massive disruption to the time line. I think the last (disruption of the time line) is the rule that became moot when G/F/T/W took over, because the purpose became to "put right what once went wrong."

Originally, I believe the project was meant to be for observational purposes. The part of the project that changed (other than Sam and the project's personnel losing control of it) was that the leaper was supposed to intervene for good in the lives of the people he/she comes in contact with, thus intentionally changing history, on a one-on-one basis (little things like Diane McBride's bar exam, not BIG things like preventing Francis Gary Powers U-2 flight, or stopping the Cuban revolution that put Castro in power).

I think the desire to prevent disruption of the leapee's life would apply regardless of who/what is running the project. I think the second rule pretty much went out the window with Star Crossed, although Sam and Al continued to struggle with it (MIA/The Leap Home).
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Old 08-28-2007, 10:05 AM   #3
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Cookiemom's explanation makes sense. There is a difference between changing one's own history and changing stuff for your own personal gain. Even if Sam had not bucked against the rules in Leap Back I, he would still have been changing his own history, which was his mission (win the game). He was trying to change something for his own gain, a no-no. (GTFW apparently relented in Pt II, but there was a high price to pay.) Such an ethical rule would be bedrock to a project like this. Fictional Congress would never fund it otherwise. You can just imagine an unscrupulous person changing history so that he wins the lottery, or sells out his stock before a big crash. That's insider trading to the extreme.

The second rule that CM cites is harder to finesse. Sam had to act like the host - while changing stuff. He did break that rule a couple of times (e.g., What Price Gloria and The Wrong Stuff) to get his primary mission done.
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Old 08-28-2007, 01:43 PM   #4
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Ok both great comments(perhaps I worded the comment about why Sam made the rules poorly), but the difference between personal gain, and changing your own history is not the topic. I know the difference.

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Originally Posted by cookiemon6067
Originally, I believe the project was meant to be for observational purposes.
However in response to this, that is the novels' concept and while it makes sense its not canon. I believe you are right but the novels did it dumb, they said the leaper was originally supposed to observe from the imaging chamber if I remember correctly and that makes no sense because then whats the accelorator for?

Anyway though like I said that was not the topic I wanted to discuss here. Unless you mean to say that God's rules are basically the same as the project rules.
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Old 08-28-2007, 03:46 PM   #5
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Sorry if I misread your question. Let me give it another shot, because I think it's very interesting.

Quote:
Ok so if they are so sure that God is controlling Sam's leaping and not the project than why do they need to follow the project's rules? They shouldn't apply if God is the one in control of Sam. So if God thinks that its ok for Sam to alter his own or Al's history than he should be able to. Sam only made his rules because he thought he would be in control.
Why do they need to follow the project's rules? They shouldn't apply if God is the one in control of Sam. In my opinion, GTFW is in control of Sam's leaps, but Sam is in control of Sam. The rules transcend anything Sam intended as a project. They're ethical rules and it would be very hard not to get kind of drunk with the power of changing history unless you had some bedrock principle to pull you back. Absolute power corrupts absolutely. It would be the same if GTFW said, Here's this incredible power, use it wisely in the situations I put you in. And Sam says, Wow, I'd better have some rules so I don't mess this up. The fact that Sam isn't the one directing the leaps doesn't mean that he doesn't still need those rules. They keep Sam from flying off into chaos. He's not having conversations with GTFW (at least, not two-way convos) but he knows that following the rules is a formula that works.

Unless you mean to say that God's rules are basically the same as the project rules. We see that GTFW's rules at least overlap Sam's project rules: as long as Sam doesn't go too far off the reservation, GTFW lets him do what he needs (and usually what he wants) to do. In Leap Back II, GTFW lets him ignore the rules, and there's a very high price and a hard lesson for Sam. Perhaps GTFW commandeered Sam's Project because Sam's rules coincided nicely with GTFW's purposes.

So if God thinks that its ok for Sam to alter his own or Al's history than he should be able to. The problem, though, is that he won't know when altering his or Al's own history is okay, and when it's not, until he sees the result. Better to refrain from making that kind of decision and let GTFW present the opportunity. The one example I can think of is in Future Boy. GTFW gave Sam the benefit of altering his own future (inspiring himself with Captain Galaxy's string theory) in conjunction with Sam completing his mission and saving Mo's life. (I won't go into the paradox, because I don't understand it!)

I hope that's closer to the discussion you were expecting.

(by the way, I don't get the observation theory either, SBF - if they weren't planning on switching bodies or auras or something, why would they need a Waiting Room?)
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Old 08-28-2007, 05:33 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bluedana

(by the way, I don't get the observation theory either, SBF - if they weren't planning on switching bodies or auras or something, why would they need a Waiting Room?)
I don't get the observation theory either, but because of the Accelerator Chamber. The Waiting Room is not really all that sophisticated and 'purpose built' in nature. It could have had another use when constructed, and been 'commandeered' as a waiting room when Tom Stratton turned up.

Because of the plain blue walls etc. I imagine it as being originally like a sort of 'blue screen' area (back projection etc as used in movie special effects). I pictured it being used to project images from the imaging chamber to allow other staff to witness where and when Sam had leaped to, since only Al could see it first hand. Of course, that would have allowed them to prove Sam's Leaping to the Committee, but since the leapees now use it, they can't do that any more!
I stress, this is just my personal, whacky theory.
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Old 08-28-2007, 08:14 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bluedana
In my opinion, GTFW is in control of Sam's leaps, but Sam is in control of Sam. The rules transcend anything Sam intended as a project. They're ethical rules and it would be very hard not to get kind of drunk with the power of changing history unless you had some bedrock principle to pull you back. Absolute power corrupts absolutely.

Very good points Dana but I really don't think Sam would let it go to his head he's Sam, he's a saint. MIA is an example of this. Becuase as he says later in Mirror Image he could have tried to get Beth to wait for Al but he was to caught up in going by the rules and not being selfish.
"What if there's something more important?"
Quote:
Originally Posted by leaper1
I don't get the observation theory either, but because of the Accelerator Chamber.
Yeah that's what I said that the accelorator is why the observation thing makes no sense. Although he could leap back and just be a part of whats around him but not be seen or something, I just don't get the way one of the novels wrote it where the original observing purpose was meant to be held in the imaging chamber.

Another thing that makes the observation thing senseless is Dr. Beaks' presence at the project. Her job is to deal with the waiting room visitors but if they did not expect Sam to be switching places with people and having frightening people to deal with than what is she for?

Quote:
Originally Posted by bluedana
The problem, though, is that he won't know when altering his or Al's own history is okay, and when it's not, until he sees the result. Better to refrain from making that kind of decision and let GTFW present the opportunity
The Part that I bolded is what I meant by that, cuz I know he has no way f knowing when God thinks its ok otherwise.
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Old 08-28-2007, 09:23 PM   #8
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The only reason Sam had to obey the Project's rules is so that the committee would not see fit to stop the project and stop Al from being Sam's only link to his own time.
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Old 08-29-2007, 12:51 AM   #9
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Yes thats true...EDIT: Wait not necessarily. They are Sam's rules not the committee's. And as suggested in Honeymoon Express the committee only wants the project to produce proof that he is leaping, there is no indication that they care about him following a set of rules. I know they had the whole issue with the rules in Star-Crossed, but it seems that they(the writers) dropped that concept when Honeymoon Express came out. Because also in Star-Crossed the committee actually came into the imaging chamber to moniter Al and thus they were obviously convinced that Sam was leaping, but then in Honeymoon Express the conflict with the committee is entirely different. So I don't think the Star-Crossed concept exsists anymore. And in the new concept in Honeymoon Express, the committee seems to only care about being convinced that Sam is leaping. Plus you have to remember in season one they were only fiddling with concepts nothing was really accurate until season two.

*****

I would also like to connect this back to what Dana was saying; I guess its true that following the projects rules has an importance to keep Al in contact with him as portrayed in Leap for Lisa(Although there Sam really did not do anything wrong as far as trying to do something he is not supposed to, he just was not smart and tried to act before speaking to Al and consulting Ziggy first) Sam also is a saint and wants to help the people he is supposed to help as well. He even admits to himself after he speaks to his father in Genesis that this Quantum Leaping thing is a pretty good deal becuase it sounded nice to give people second chances. And again referring to MIA he did not decline Al a second chance with Beth only because it was against the rules but was also concerned about having something more important to do as Jake. So yes he Has to follow the rules for certian purposes but he also likes to follow the rules.
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Old 08-29-2007, 05:02 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sam Beckett Fan

Another thing that makes the observation thing senseless is Dr. Beaks' presence at the project. Her job is to deal with the waiting room visitors but if they did not expect Sam to be switching places with people and having frightening people to deal with than what is she for?
Yeah I was agreeing with you on the Accelerator thing SBF.
As to Beeks - well, they never expected Sam to be trapped in the past, they thought he'd return after every trip. It is possible they considered him witnessing stuff that could be traumatic, and that Beeks was there to watch over Sam's well being.
Also, with a fairly large staff working on a secret project that they can't discuss with their significant other over the dinner table, Sam may have recommended putting in a shrink to deal with 'work related stress' issues.
Again - my opinions only, no canon to support.
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Old 08-29-2007, 12:04 PM   #11
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I like the first thought Helen about Sam leaping back every time kind of like how it worked with Alia or so was suggested.
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Old 08-29-2007, 12:36 PM   #12
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Quote:
I don't get the observation theory either, but because of the Accelerator Chamber. The Waiting Room is not really all that sophisticated and 'purpose built' in nature. It could have had another use when constructed, and been 'commandeered' as a waiting room when Tom Stratton turned up.
The reason why the Waiting Room make me go "huh?" is that nobody seems fazed that there's a person there. Al tells Sam in Genesis that they partied for days because the leap was successful. At no point ever in the series does Al say, Boy were we surprised to find you'd switched places with Tom. Or something like that. And yes I get the "they hadn't worked out all the kinks in that first episode" theory; that's a pretty big kink, though. The observation theory makes it seem like Sam was going to be a hologram, like Al (the Observer), watching but unable to interact. The show implies that Sam actually "leaping" is the way they expected it to work, except that, as you pointed out above, Sam was supposed to return to the project at will.

Quote:
I really don't think Sam would let it go to his head he's Sam, he's a saint.
Well, I disagree with this. Sam is a basically good person, but not a saint. As with anybody, the temptation to get what he really wants, coupled with the power to do it, can overwhelm anybody's good intentions. I think just as people are restrained from misbehaving (cheating, stealing, punching people) because they are aware that there are laws, commandments, or rules against that kind of behavior, Sam's natural impulses can be checked because he understands and is committed to following the rules. The way Sam is written as a character, it's clear that he tries to do the right thing almost every time; sometimes he does the right thing because of the rules; and sometime he doesn't do the right thing at all.
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Old 08-29-2007, 02:04 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bluedana
The way Sam is written as a character, it's clear that he tries to do the right thing almost every time; sometimes he does the right thing because of the rules; and sometime he doesn't do the right thing at all.
Thats debatable. Sometimes he feels that the right thing to do is what his heart is telling him as opposed to what Ziggy is telling him. But eaither way he always does the right thing, he even says to in The Leap Home which is why I think he's a saint.

Quote:
Originally Posted by bluedana
The reason why the Waiting Room make me go "huh?" is that nobody seems fazed that there's a person there. Al tells Sam in Genesis that they partied for days because the leap was successful. At no point ever in the series does Al say, Boy were we surprised to find you'd switched places with Tom. Or something like that. And yes I get the "they hadn't worked out all the kinks in that first episode" theory; that's a pretty big kink, though. The observation theory makes it seem like Sam was going to be a hologram, like Al (the Observer), watching but unable to interact. The show implies that Sam actually "leaping" is the way they expected it to work, except that, as you pointed out above, Sam was supposed to return to the project at will.
Yeah that's very confusing. What was the original intention of the project?
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Old 08-29-2007, 08:52 PM   #14
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Re the committee--I'm under the impression that there are two different committees, one that's mentioned in Star-Crossed and the other in Honeymoon Express. The first one, which includes Weitzman, is some kind of oversight committee, which should include people who understand how the project works and have been following it from the beginning. The committee Al speaks to in Honeymoon Express is a congressional budget committee, which has the power of life and death over the project even though none of them understand it or even believe in it. ('Cause that's how government works, right? ) I could be all wrong, but that's my interpretation.

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Originally Posted by SamBeckettFan
[The rules] shouldn't apply if God is the one in control of Sam. So if God thinks that its ok for Sam to alter his own or Al's history than he should be able to.
The hard part is knowing what God wants Sam to do. God may leap Sam into a particular life, but he doesn't say what Sam is supposed to do there. Sam and Al have to figure that out. Sam has to go by Ziggy's data or his own famous gut feelings. In MIA he had one of those feelings that he wasn't supposed to help Al--and there was another task on that leap, so it seemed right to Sam that the other thing was what he really had to do. In The Leap Home, Sam tried to benefit himself and it didn't work. In The Leap Home: Vietnam, he got what he wanted but paid a terrible price for it. So it's not clear that God is always willing to let Sam act to benefit himself or someone that he knows. Sam might be better off just following the rules.

Re the project's original purpose, I thought that Sam was expected to leap into the past, exchange auras and all that, but only observe history, not change it. There would be a visitor in the Waiting Room, but Sam would have a functioning retrieval program so he could come home at any time. I think their first priority would be to prove that time travel is possible, then do research into how leaping works and historical research. It's hard to see why the military would be interested in such a project though. Their biggest achievement would probably be general advances in physics and the understanding of the nature of time.

I realize I'm making up a lot of details that aren't supported by Genesis, but it seems to me that the project was mostly working the way it was supposed to, and it was only when Al discovered that Sam was swiss-cheesed and the retrieval program didn't work that they realized that they had a problem. Remember how excited Al was when he first observed Sam? "Ain't this a kick in the butt!" Looks like he thought things were all right.

So if someone wrote a novel saying that Sam was only going to observe holographically, that seems rather out in left field to me and I would disregard it.
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Old 08-29-2007, 10:40 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Snish
Re the committee--I'm under the impression that there are two different committees, one that's mentioned in Star-Crossed and the other in Honeymoon Express. The first one, which includes Weitzman, is some kind of oversight committee, which should include people who understand how the project works and have been following it from the beginning. The committee Al speaks to in Honeymoon Express is a congressional budget committee, which has the power of life and death over the project even though none of them understand it or even believe in it. ('Cause that's how government works, right? ) I could be all wrong, but that's my interpretation.
I suppose that makes sense although the Wietzmen committe is the only one ever referenced frequently, the one show in Honeymoon Express has no ferther appearences. So it would make more sense if its the same committee although you still could be right.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Snish
So if someone wrote a novel saying that Sam was only going to observe holographically, that seems rather out in left field to me and I would disregard it.
Yes that was said in a novel I believe it was the novel version of Genesis. And yes I agree the author thought that out poorly it makes no sense. Even the expirmental factors presented in season one disagree with it. SO even if it was written during season one there is no excuse.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Snish
but it seems to me that the project was mostly working the way it was supposed to, and it was only when Al discovered that Sam was swiss-cheesed and the retrieval program didn't work that they realized that they had a problem.
Yeah that makes the most sense that the project ended up working the way it was intended except for the swiss-cheese factor, apparently the accelorator was not supposed to cause Sam amnesia although its suggested that Ziggy had consitered the possibility. And also as Dana pointed out I think they had also intended for Sam to be able to come back home at will, in between leaps as it appeared Alia did. Because they seemed real worried and baffled when the retrieval program did not work.
So Swiss Cheese and unable to return at will are the only two things that appear to have went wrong. Other than they it seems everything turned out as intended because Al said they had thrown a wild party in celebration which makes it obvious that they were happy with the result.
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Old 09-05-2007, 10:21 PM   #16
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I know I''m jumping back into the discussion DAYS after my orignial comment about the "project being for observational purposes," but I think I was misunderstood. I agree that Sam was always supposed to trade places with someone, but I believe that the original concept was to not change anything. Leap, observe, leap back. Otherwise, Al would not find the concept of changing the outcome for Tom Stratton to be as ridiculous as he seems to find it. According to Genesis, the intentional intervention in Cpt. Stratton's life was an attempt to get Sam's recall to work.

It is also a standard time travel "doctrine" that you don't want to be changing things, because you have no way of knowing whether or not any change is, in the long-run historical sense, a "good" change. It makes sense to me that the project would have as an objective to not change history, particularly not on purpose. that's all I meant by observational.
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Old 09-06-2007, 12:46 AM   #17
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Yeah exactly that's what I was saying before that the only things that went wrong were the swiss cheese factor and inability to return to the project at will.
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Old 09-06-2007, 09:18 PM   #18
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Quote:
I agree that Sam was always supposed to trade places with someone, but I believe that the original concept was to not change anything. Leap, observe, leap back.
I guess I can't figure out how they thought that might work, since how could you NOT change something if you're pretending to be someone else? Something so simple as letting someone go in front of you in line at Starbucks could have a massive ripple effect on down the line. I'm coming around to the idea that GTFW must have looked at this experiment and seen what a disaster it would be, unless It directed the inevitable tampering with history!
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Old 09-07-2007, 08:00 AM   #19
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Funny how scientists on TV shows never seem to think out their experiments very well. <G>
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Old 09-07-2007, 08:20 AM   #20
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I'm coming around to the idea that GTFW must have looked at this experiment and seen what a disaster it would be, unless It directed the inevitable tampering with history!
LOL!!! So THAT's what happened! Good point!
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Old 09-08-2007, 01:55 AM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bluedana
I guess I can't figure out how they thought that might work, since how could you NOT change something if you're pretending to be someone else? Something so simple as letting someone go in front of you in line at Starbucks could have a massive ripple effect on down the line. I'm coming around to the idea that GTFW must have looked at this experiment and seen what a disaster it would be, unless It directed the inevitable tampering with history!
Yeah thats why I said that it kind of makes sense yet doesn't at the same time. Because how can you be just an observer when you are living someone else's life. That's not possible.
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