“And what do birds say? All there is to say about a massacre, things like, ‘Poo-tee-weet?’” (24). Po-tee-weet is useless gibberish and a profound commentary on war by Vonnegut. War is jibber-jabber and doesn’t make much sense at all. Angry and confused, Billy Pilgrim adopts the Tralfamadorian motto “So it goes” as his personal mantra to ease his mind.
“If you know this,’ said Billy, ‘isn’t there some way you can prevent it? Can’t you keep the pilot from pressing the
button?’ ‘He has always pressed it, and he always will. We always let him and we always will let him. The moment is
structured that way.’” (149)
I do not accept The Tralfmadorian’s outlook, and I don’t think many other Americans would agree either. Things don’t just happen. Human existence is not purely based on cause and effect per se. I believe in free will and I think free will can be proved through abortion. I’m not bringing up abortion to shock or sway anyone’s opinions on the subject, but merely trying to make a point and this seemed to be the most logical way to express my thoughts so bear with me. Abortion is an exercise of free will. A woman has sex, and a woman gets pregnant: cause and effect. The difference is that a woman has a choice, to abort or to go through with the pregnancy. A woman has the power to change her path. She can choose motherhood or she can choose something else, something that’s entirely left up to her. To me, it’s much more comforting to know that I have the power, that I control my own fate. The button is not automatically pushed. We have the right to create our own consequences.
While trying to piece together my blog post, I browsed the internet for quotes and ideas on free will. I don’t know much about Marilyn Manson or his music/philosophies, but I stumbled on some of his lyrics from his song, “We’re from America.” One of the lyric says, “We don’t like to kill our unborn; we need them to grow up and fight our wars.” It seemed fitting. Billy Pilgrim finds solace in “so it goes” because he has been forced into war, forced into something he did not chose. Unfortunately, the government has that power. And so in some respect, there is a loss of free will in a country that prides itself on freedom. A man fighting for other’s freedom has no freedom. It’s all one huge paradox. Time and time again, Billy is being told that war is always going to happen. And he encounters war again when his son goes off to Vietnam. War is the cycle.
Humans have the power to free will, but humans also have the power to take it away. Humans attempt to have divine powers. Even the concept of daylight savings time is strange. It proves that Billy is right, time is constructed by the man. “There was nothing I could do about it. As an Earthling, I had to believe whatever clocks said—and calendars” (26). Clocks, time, war, even the right to abortion is all controlled. Humans have the ability to free will, but it is often revoked by those more powerful.