Day 64. 67 pages, 31,738 words. Progress! This one’s a boulder.
Anyway, I wasn’t really intending to talk about capitalism or the future of the Hatstand yesterday, that was just by way of an introduction.
I was going to talk about the Mandela Effect. This was a very interesting article about a very interesting phenomenon. Even if the examples – Nelson Mandela’s “death” in the ’80s, the so-called Berenstein Bears, Luke-I-am-your-father, the Shazaam movie with Sinbad – are a bit worn out by now, the whole thing gets interesting again when you bring CERN and the large hadron collider into it.
Because that’s when the singularities and the layered multiverse, complete with slightly warped versions of popular culture and geography, come out to play.
Are we part of some sort of simulation, or is ours just one of an infinite number of layered realities that bleed from one to the other at random moments, sending us adrift from one to the next and almost entirely and perpetually unaware that the drift is even happening? Have we all left our realities of origin behind since the onset of our individual consciousnesses? Are our senses – our flesh – just freewheeling through the multiverse in every which direction but so little changes around us, according to our extremely limited nervous systems, that we don’t notice?
Is it all just in our heads, and is it any less cool and freaky if it is?
When I was a teenager, some friends of mine and I went on a short road trip from our homes in Perth, to some obscure pub in an outlying satellite town, and back again (I want to say the designated driver was entirely sober, but all the passengers were definitely drunk and even the designated driver was a teenager and may have had a drink or two, so even if he was under the legal limit he probably shouldn’t have been driving). I don’t even remember if I was driver or passenger (and I want to say, again, that this is more a function of it being over twenty years ago, and us doing a lot of such road trips where our roles switched regularly, than any unacceptable drunkenness on the part of the driver, whoever he may have been).
I do remember that we got hopelessly lost on a series of freeways and ramps and bridges, but at all times we had the river on one side of us and the Perth skyline on the other.
Until we lost track of both, and stopped at a service station to try to get a map (this was back in the days when TomTom was named Thomson and Thompson and they were Tintin characters). We failed, and got back in the car, still reasonably certain that we couldn’t be far from the city. We hadn’t turned in ages, and that meant the skyline had to be right…
That was when the skyline came back into view, in completely the wrong place and orientation. And yes, that was almost certainly because we were drunk, hopeless at navigating, and took one turning ramp too many. But it was as if we had driven away from Perth and arrived at another Perth, and we all felt that way, unanimously. There would usually have been at least one person who insisted he knew where we were and where we’d gone wrong, but not this time. We even laughed about it and declared that we’d driven to Perth 2, in an alternate Dimension.
And ever since then, even though I haven’t really believed that idea, I’ve smiled from time to time when I think about how many lucky things have happened to me. How well my life has gone since I arrived in Perth 2 and took up residence in my utterly identical life-surroundings.
What if we did side-slip into a new universe, while our counterparts exited stage left towards – I don’t know – Perth 3?
What if the endless Dimensions of the urverse, after expressing every particle in every possible configuration, repeat themselves into eternity and finally degenerate into a foaming, roaring hurricane of nonsense? And what if, amidst that maelstrom, there are tiny broken twinkling shards of worlds that make sense, that are almost identical to our own but for a misplaced atom here or a movie called Kazaam there? What if, as we wander through our daily lives, that howling nonsense is whispering just on the other side of the nearest shadow, and a single wrong step could send us wandering into its teeth?
What if that happens a million times a day?