level II Multiverse, Every disk is a bubble universe(Universe 1 to Universe 6 are different bubbles,our universe is just one of the bubbles. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
The multiverse as a concept has been around since at least the ancient Greeks, and has been a feature of philosophy and mysticism for centuries, and of science fiction for more than a century. But only recently has it become a respectable topic in science, and in physics. With the discoveries made by the BICEP2 team in March, the multiverse as actual, physical reality stands more in front of us. What does life in the multiverse mean?
1. You make not just one choice, but all of them.
In the many-worlds theory of Hugh Everett III, for each choice a person makes, a universe splits off for each choice. For instance, you had a sandwich for lunch today. But in another universe, you had spaghetti for lunch today.
Also, say in this universe, you are a businessperson. But in another universe, you are a writer, in yet another universe, you are a famous Hollywood actor, and so on. In each case, according to the many-worlds theory, there is a universe for each choice you have made, and for each choice you make, another universe splits off from it, and so on.
Does it sound weird and mind-boggling? Well, Mike Floorwalker sums it up with these words: “It [the many-worlds theory] states that since the wave function never collapses, every possible outcome of any event is realized in a separate and non-communicating physical reality, which actually exists alongside our own.” (Floorwalker) This also means that…
2. In each universe, your life varies according to your choices.
Let us say you live a happy life in this universe; you are married or in a relationship with the person of your dreams, and/or have children, and you work at your dream job. But for every universe, including this one, where you live a happy life, there are universes where you are leading a miserable life, or you are still happy but with someone else, or are happily single, where the multiverse is concerned. The same is true if you are leading a miserable life in this universe; in another universe, you are leading a happy life. All of this varies because of the choices you have made and continue to make.* Which leads to the possibility that…
3. There is no free will, or you have free will, but it determines the creation of physical reality.
There has been a lot of debate over whether the multiverse includes free will or not. One camp states that since for every choice people make in this universe, they make other choices in other ones, that “we ultimately have no control over our fates, that no matter what decision we make, the outcome does not matter” (Kaku 353).
This has led to concern that the multiverse precludes the existence of free will, that we cannot make our choices based on what we want due to the existence of other universes where we made the opposite choice. But the second camp states that the multiverse allows free will, but we help create physical reality through our choices, by that it helps us realize that “this reality is essentially a dream, dreamed by the most powerful consciousness imaginable.” (Floorwalker)
This shows how we create the reality around us, and reality period, in the multiverse through the choices we make; if we make good choices and/or choices which make us happy, we will be leading a happy life, whereas if we make bad choices, or choices which make us unhappy, such as drinking to the point where we become alcoholics or entering a relationship or marriage with someone we do not love, we will be leading an unhappy life. This aspect of the multiverse shows that we can and do create our own reality, and the reality around us, leading to the possibility that…
4. There are no aliens out there.
This has been suggested by physicist and multiverse theorist Max Tegmark, in an interview he did with the British newspaper The Telegraph: “ET probably does not exist, at least in the observable part” (Hanlon 2014) of the universe. What this would mean, if this is the case, is that “we are the meaning of life, the universe, and everything, and ours is the most significant century in nearly 14 billion years” (Hanlon 2014); in short, we would be alone in the universe, and if something happened to us, there would be no more intelligent life in the universe. Therefore, we have an extra-important responsibility to survive, to resolve our current problems (climate change, and so on), to mature as a species, and to expand beyond our planet into the rest of the universe.
All of these aspects of life in the multiverse are not the only ones; there are other aspects not touched upon in this article, but which have been discussed by physicists and others. Also, at least one of them is controversial, and has not yet been confirmed. However, whatever it includes and does not include, the multiverse is something to get to know a little better. If you have not already gotten to know it through science fiction and/or philosophy, you can get to know it through science. And your life may be changed—or not, depending.
*The same is also true of historical events; hence, there would be universes in which the Confederacy won the Civil War, the British Empire still exists, the Roman Empire never fell, and so on. It all depends on the choices people make, including throughout history.
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Floorwalker, Mike. “10 Mind-Bending Implications of the Many Worlds Theory – Listverse.” Listverse. 22 Feb. 2013. Web. 19 May 2014. <http://listverse.com/2013/02/22/10-mind-bending-implications-of-the-many-worlds-theory/>.
Kaku, Michio. Parallel Worlds: A Journey through Creation, Higher Dimensions, and the Future of the Cosmos. 1st ed. New York: Doubleday, 2005. Print.
“Max Tegmark: It’s Goodbye to the Universe – Hello to the Multiverse.” Interview by Michael Hanlon. The Telegraph [London, Great Britain] 22 Apr. 2014. Web. 19 May 2014. <http://www.telegraph.co.uk/ science/10778507/Max-Tegmark-Its-goodbye-to-the-universe-hello-to-the-multiverse.html>.