Welcome to the Multiverse
To say I have any knowledge about physics would be a lie. When someone says “physics,” what rattles around in my brain are some fuzzy images of trebuchets and equations on the board of my 11th grade physics class. Also, how hot my Physics of Sound professor was in college. Yes, mmm, physics.
But! I was thrown into a science-induced giddy-fit yesterday when I read about the mighty, mighty MULTIVERSE.
The multiverse (for those of you too lazy to click on a link and read a four-page article, sheesh) is the idea that space is made up, not simply of our UNIverse, but rather, a mind-boggling number of MULTIverses. Remember how we’re always like, “Oh man, how big is our universe? We’ll never know!” It’s just that over and over and over again, like a series of sneezes sprayed out over the vast expanse of space.
What’s even cooler is that we’re also pretty positive that space is expanding, so more and more multiverses could be popping up all the time.
Even cooler than that? These multiverses could be made up of completely different properties than our own. Gravity? Schmavity! They’ve got Señor Bean’s Wonder Force! Or, whatever.
The author does a great job of explaining the point that humans exist, and exist on earth, and exist on earth in this universe because the right ingredients were plopped into a habitable zone, just far enough away from the sun to not burn up, and just close enough to not freeze over (unless, of course, you live in Idaho). With multiverses, the possibility exists for multiple habitable zones.
All of this just ups the odds that other iterations of life exist, heck, maybe even other iterations of you and me are out there.
Now, I don’t know about you (because I’ve only really talked to my cat about this) but I think that idea of the multiverse may be disquieting to some people. Does it put a chink in the armor of religion? That’s up for you to mull over, everybody else.
What I think the multiverse DOES do is give us some more insight into our own choices. Here. In this verse.
What’s Meant to Be, Will Be
A thing I hate is when people answer a question with “What’s meant to be, will be.” As in:
Delilah: “Hey Mom, are me and Raul right for each other?”
Mom: “What’s meant to be, will be, honey.”
Why do I hate it? Because it’s a mystical distraction from a reasonable solution, and frankly, it’s just annoying. If I ask you a question, I’m looking for an answer, not the second line to a Dr. Seuss stanza.
See, what Mom is doing here is avoiding saying something more constructive, like, “I don’t know and I don’t care,” or “No, Raul is emotionally abusing you and this thing can only end badly.”
But not to worry, Moms Across America! The multiverse is here to help. Rather than diverting responsibility to the cosmos, we can look to them for inspiration.
If we can imagine that separate universes can exist throughout space, all where separate habitable zones exist, where life-or-something-like-it exists, we can image ourselves in much the same way: microcosms of a universe, with tons of crap swirling around inside of us, and just a few places where the right ingredients can strike fire.
It’s why some people on your little league softball team were good little sports and some of you just wanted to stay at home and dress up like Elton John and perform “Tiny Dancer” for your parents’ friends.
Instead of believing that things just “happen for a reason,” never knowing what that reason is and relegating life’s events to mystical happenstance, we can believe what we already know. That inside each of us are a few tiny planets where life, love and passion can grow.
But, unlike planets, the human psyche isn’t necessarily subject to the kind of crippling physical side effects that sending a man to Jupiter might provide. We can make decisions that are contrary to our logic, intuition and feelings, and come out unscathed — at least momentarily.
It is impossible, however, to escape the consequences of our actions, no matter how far down the line they come. It’s why a lot of marriages end in divorce. Or they don’t end and are full of lies and cheats and other unsavory bits. It’s why people have mid-life crises and buy weird stuff they always wish they had, like boobs and bikes.
We all know the feeling of something being “right” or “wrong.” Playing host to the parasite that gives you those wrong feelings might be a sign that you’re trying to give something life that just can’t live within you. Try as you might, you can’t erase the properties that make you up, at least not without some kind of supernova.
Instead of saying, “What’s meant to be, will be,” we SHOULD be saying, “Take a good hard look inside yourself, Delilah. Is Raul the kind of person you want to be with? If you don’t know, maybe now’s not the time for you to be in a relationship.”
But I’m sure you guys already knew this.
The Part I Always Get Hung Up On
What gets confusing is when you think you may have convinced yourself that what felt wrong was right and that you should be doing it anyway, because just like eating ice cream for dinner, what makes you momentarily happy might not make you happy for the rest of your life.
How you figure out those long-term things that are good for you without entirely putting your life on hold is one you might not be able to figure out until you hit that mid-life crisis. If anyone has any advice in how to actually find those habitable planets, I would be happy to hear it.