Kassandra, in Greek legend you recall, was condemned to know the future but to be disbelieved when she foretold it. Hence, the agony of foreknowledge combined with the impotence to do anything about it.
When I was institutionalized, my brain was studied exhaustively by the guys of mental health. I was interrogated, I was x-rayed, I was examined thoroughly. Then, they took everything about me and put it into a computer where they created this model of my mind. Yes! Using that model they managed to generate every thought I could possibly have in the next, say, 10 years. Which they then filtered through a probability matrix of some kind to -- to determine everything I was gonna do in that period. So you see, she knew I was gonna lead the Army of the Twelve Monkeys into the pages of history before it ever even occurred to me. She knows everything I'm ever gonna do before I know it myself.
Cole: Five billion people died in 1996 and 1997. Most of the entire population of the world. Only about 1% of us survived.
Doctor: Are you going to save us, Mr. Cole?
Cole: How can I save you? This already happened. I can't save you. Nobody can. I'm simply trying to gather information, to help the people in the present trace the path of the virus.
Doctor: We're not in the present now, Mr. Cole?
Cole: No, 1990 is the past. This already happened. That's what I'm trying to explain...
Doctor: Mr. Cole? Mr. Cole? You believe 1996 is the present, is that it?
Cole: No 1996 is the past too. Listen to me...
I can't change anything about what you're going to do. I can't change anything. I won't stop you. I can't stop you. I just want the information...
Cole: Look you said that I had delusions and that I created this world. You said that you could explain everything.
Kathryn: I can't. I'm trying to. I can't believe everything we say or do has already happened. We can't change what's going to happen and 5 billion people are going to die.
Cole: It's just like what's happening with us. Like the past. The movie never changes. It can't change. But every time you see it it seems different because you're different. You see different things.
Kathryn: If you can't change anything because it's already happened, you might as well smell the flowers...