the Flux Capacitor Theory

Movie buffs know what the Flux Capacitor is. You know, the thing in Back to the Future that powers Doc Brown’s time machine and makes time travel possible? It’s powered by nuclear fusion in the first movie, and then by banana peels and beer cans in the sequel. It’s barely even mentioned in the third movie because, well, the hero’s original journey (Marty’s quest to power the FC) is now focused on another issue (not having a full tank of gas). Essentially the Flux Capacitor is now a non-issue.

Photo by Raphael Loquellano on

Why would I care so much about this plot line in a classic 1980s movie?

I’ve had many a thought around the Flux Capacitor and realized I needed to illustrate my Flux Capacitor Theory or FCT in more detail to illustrate why it’s been a point of contemplation in my brain.

Laurence Olivier once famously said “Experience is something you get right after you need it.”

The FCT is a variation of this famous quote.

Essentially, the FCT is about an issue in your life that dominated your attention and potential success, that soon becomes a non-issue once tackled, or once new information is presented.

I began to think more about this as I continued to liken my everyday living circumstances to scenes/ quotes/ plot lines in movies. Let alone that movie soundtracks, or OSTs, dominated my Spotify year in review, or that I can movie-quote many under the table. Don’t even go up against me in a movie-themed Jeopardy! category. All that aside, I found deeper meaning in connecting many of my personal experiences to the story arc of BTTF part 1.

Thus the FCT was born.

When covid hit, we would sanitize all of our groceries when they came in the house, like many of you likely also did. Groceries couldn’t enter my fridge or cupboards without the necessary 10-15 minute ritual with Lysol wipes. Sanitizing groceries was my Flux Capacitor. A troubling but necessary story arc in the covid saga.

Now, there’s no such thing in my house. Food is piled into my kitchen without even a wipe that I even sometimes forget to wash my hands after it’s all unloaded. This is but one FCT. No more plutonium-level sanitization requirements, oh no, we were now on the banana peels and beer-can level with groceries.

Is there something you couldn’t imagine not doing that now gets done without a second thought? Perhaps it’s the FCT. As we all move through life and learn new experiences, we’ve got within us a plethora of knowledge that ‘fuels’ our actions from where they once were to where they are now.

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