Depending on your cosmic-view, there is either one Universe or infinite. The concept of the multiverse is not a new one developed by Stan Lee and those at Marvel Studios, it dates back to 1954 Hugh Everett and his MWI (Many World Interpretation) which postulates that quantum effects constantly cause the Universe to split or branch.
Therefore, every decision we make creates a new universe, so that all possible outcomes are played out, somewhere and somewhen.
If the MWI theory view is correct, then our actions in this Universe, our consensual reality, shapes that of our cosmic doppelgängers in parallel universes, then linking this to the Newtonian thought that every action has a positive and negative reaction, would mean that the inversion of our actions materialise somewhere else.
So the question could be, if we do bad things in this Universe, does that mean good things happen to our counterparts in other universes, and does that effectively mean that there is an evil serial killer version of Mother Theresa?
Clearly we’ll likely never know the answer to that question as our abilities (for the vast majority of us) are confined to three dimensional time and space, but the reason I call this out (very early on a Saturday morning) is that I watched a film twice at the cinema this week, “Everything, Everywhere, All At Once”, which had a profound impact on me (why else would I see I twice in two days).
Whilst I have a rudimentary understanding of scientific concepts, is quite often through the arts that messaging truly resonates with me. A film, a song lyric, a play, a book, a poem, an artwork, all have the ability to poke around inside my head and turn on light bulbs in a way that complicated cosmic or consciousness theory cannot. For me, it’s so important that we keep funding media and arts for the young, failure to do so really would result in a boring and meaningless Universe.
“Everything Everywhere…” could be likened to watching The Matrix on LSD, and director Dan Kwan has said as much.
Without giving too much away for those who have not seen it (yet, a must-see in my opinion), it centres around a character who appears at first glance to be living her worst life possible, a laundromat worker with failed ambitions filing her taxes, totally disconnected from her husband and daughter.
The next two hours is a visual and hilarious journey through time, space and the multiverse, giving insights into the other versions of herself that dwell in parallel universes, one’s that on the face of it are clearly more successful than her. The end scene still makes me tear-up just thinking about it, such a profound message to those who really have been paying attention.
And so to branch theory (if that is a thing). After the second sitting of the movie, I took it upon myself to walk back to my hotel through the magnificent parks of London, and it was during that two hour sun and shirt drenched bimble that I reflected on my own branch theory up until now.
It’s fair to say that we wouldn’t really influence the multiverse (should it exist) at an early age, as most of our decisions are made for us by our elders, whether it be parents, siblings, extended family members or teachers. When choice really kicks in is arguably around puberty where we become the ones that choose what to do, which paths to follow, and for me, that is when we become independent and our actions or inactions are on us (unless we are in very difficult circumstances, being controlled or abused etc).
Clearly most of us have done both good and bad things in our lives, things that we are proud of and things that we regret. Without having the benefit of a time machine to put right the wrongs, I’d argue that we should not, on the basis those inactions and things we should not have done inform who we are today and how we become more worldly and wiser as a consequence, passing these tenets and messages down to our children and comrades, eradicating that type of behaviour or poor decision making.
After cataloguing all of the positives and negatives that have come out of each branch decision that led me up until this morning, I came to the same conclusion that Michelle Yeoh came to in the film, that although nothing is perfect, in this very moment I can safely say that I am happy with the outcome of the first fifty years of my life, and go a step further by saying I’m living life like the best version of me.
Do I have the very best of things, a sports car, a super yacht, a supermodel wife, a rock star status, billions in the bank or a huge schlong, absolutely not (except perhaps for maybe for the last one!).
What I do have is an amazing wife, three incredible children, a small set of great friends and neighbours, a nice house, a modest mode of transport and enough money in the bank not to worry about where my next meal is coming from.
As a result, I can safely say I am happy and that happiness turns into kindness for others, and will do so even more after I retire and can spend more time on community projects.
I would also go on to say that I am truly sorry for anyone that I have hurt or offended in the past, immaturity doesn’t excuse poor choices.
And to all those other “me’s” out there beyond the barriers of my Universe, in the immortal words of Elvis Costello, I send you “peace, love and understanding”…