Alternative Realities an article by: GF Willmetts

April 2, 2018 | By | Reply More

I will admit from the start that I have problems with alternative realities. Less for its fictional counterparts but in line with our current existing reality. Quantum Mechanics says for every decision, there is a counter-decision out there in the multiverse and it creates an alternative universe each time it happens. Whether this extends from physical geological changes to choices you might make is where things get complicated. A multiverse gets awfully crowded if something new is created every time you decide or not decide to do something.

The choice of whether you have or not have breakfast is hardly going to make much difference to the world as a whole and only to a small group of people you associate with. Of course, there is the Butterfly Effect where the repercussion of you not eating breakfast means you leave early and crash your car or other such thing happening that might affect a bigger circle of people but that’s hardly an everyday occurrence. Under multiverse rules, then yes it is and doesn’t even cover alternative choices or options like should I have toast, cereal or porridge or just a fry-up or some combination for breakfast

Does it justify a whole alternative reality veering away from the existing one? When you multiply this by the number of people in the world until this point, that’s a lot of alternative realities out there and who spring cleans them from continually multiplying? Where does all matter and energy come from that contravenes the Law Of The Conservation Of Matter/Eneregy? Even if atomic matter jumped from reality to reality there would be so many realities that it would never come back.

If there is an overall running baseline reality and your accident doesn’t overall change the ‘planned route’ whatever that is, wouldn’t you apply Occam’s Razor, that is not to multiply things unnecessarily and merge it back to the baseline? You then have the added worry as to just what is making the decision to do this? I doubt if it would be some form of deity let alone some sort of super-computer, mostly because it would be too complicated. More likely, it would be based off the flow of energy. It might just look like a blip on the screen before things get back to normal. Even so, that’s still a lot of energy discharged and brought back together on a regular basis and, if that existed in our reality, then surely we would have recorded it by now simply because it wouldn’t be able to stay at a quantum level.

Even if you take enthalpy, the use of energy, and entropy, things falling apart, into account, you still have the First Law of Thermodynamics or the Law Of Conservation Of Energy/Matter where no matter can be created or destroyed, only its form can be changed. Things are odd at quantum level but I doubt if would go that far. There is that little matter of matter and energy being interchangeable but then it would bounce back to our reality and, again, we’ve been watching things at molecular level long enough to spot any energy spike changes. Creating alternative realities would take a lot of energy and even the likes of electrons popping in and out of them to create some kind of continuity wouldn’t be totally instant if there are so many of them out there. It’s just too complicated and nature doesn’t like things that complicated. If anything, it likes to decay not create.

That’s not to say that there might be some crucial reality changes that might exist as alternative realities but there would be few than many and no indication which event might cause that to happen. Certainly nothing that something like human history could create. Even so, I’ve got ever less of a believer in alternative realities and would really need some physical proof that they exist.

Of course, this throws out a familiar Science Fiction trope out the window in one single sweep. There is also some strong implications for time travel being able to affect things and create an alternative history and you just step into a different reality by your actions. But does it? After all, we’ve yet to discover the effects of anyone time travelling on our planet or, if they have, whether it’s affected us or not, mainly because we wouldn’t be able to remember it. A change in the past wouldn’t necessarily create a new set of alternative realities, just change our current reality and that would be some a major violation of reality. As with the above, nature would work against that happening unless it was to fulfil the current reality which has often been the case used in Science Fiction. The time traveller would still murder his grandfather because he wasn’t your genetic grandfather in the first place and close the loop. The choice of a time traveller changing something would already have been included in the choices and wouldn’t have done much to the overall baseline reality. So if time travel happened, then the reaction to the change in the reality would already have been taken into account. Nature likes things simple not complicated.

Let’s examine the time travel situation a little more deeply. The principle of which is mostly what happens to the time traveller and how it affects him or her. Essentially, if they travel into the past, what are they doing? The time stream is obviously still there and should be treated as a constant. If we assume that it can be affected or changed then something else must be going on and that the time-line isn’t as static as we would like to think. Of course, major changes do tend to suggest that we are changing the universe but are we really? After all, any time traveller can still step on or may not on the same ant as someone living in a particular era and reality wouldn’t change. This won’t change the time-line. The same applies as to whether or not the figurative ‘he’ (to save having to include ‘she’ all the time) slips on a banana skin (other fruits are available) or not. This won’t change the existing reality any more than if you chose to or not to eat breakfast. It is the interaction with other people where things have to become suspect as you are interfering with their decision-making process that could mushroom out or not.

Oddly, you still have to ask how much? You meet someone in the street who tells you they are a time traveller. I suspect most people will treat them as a quickly forgotten crank without a lot of proof. If they persist, you’d still think them as cranky and either ignore them at your earliest opportunity or think of it as something to tell friends one day and still be dismissive. Even if you knew a certain outcome, like if you placed a bet on the odds happening, you wouldn’t change the event just your bank account. You would have to be in a significant position to change the event and you’d want more evidence than someone you don’t fully trust to do sway you. Notice how much this resembles ‘The Terminator’ scenario. However, even these films show that this didn’t change the outcome just when it happened.

If you do accept such a time travel premise then you would want some sort of proof. Some evidence of the near future happening a particular way which, if you think about it, couldn’t be influenced by the time traveller’s presence to change things. Unless, of course, the observer doesn’t affect the event. It would also have to be something that couldn’t have been anticipated so a win on the horses wouldn’t be as effective as a world event. Even so, I think I would want more than one event to prove it wasn’t a lucky guess.

With the ‘grandfather paradox’, it can’t necessarily damage the time-line, It just means something else will fill the gap so ensure the future the time traveller came from fulfils the part of the time-line. You might not even be aware of a change in parentage. Children that aren’t aware of their true parentage isn’t even rare anymore. Things have a habit of catching up on you. Assumptions should never be acted upon.

Anything major and the time-line will act to preserve itself and prevent it happening. This still leaves a problem as to how pre-ordained is determined but then so is time travel. There might be only certain conditions where it might be allowed. The real question is whether there is any sentient control or just an act of nature doing this. The timeline might be flexible enough to accept a little change without affecting the entire cosmos.

Having said all of the above, I can’t just chuck something like time travel out the window and not suggest something as an alternative reality that would resolve the same problem. Nature likes to be tidy and avoids chaos other than natural decay or entropy.

This is largely how my thoughts came to considering that we are all pocket universes existing amongst other pocket universes began to make sense. Why have alternative realities when, as objects ourselves, we are responsible for the decisions we make or don’t make?

If we treat everyone as a pocket universe and that each pocket universe can act with or not with other pocket universes then there might be something that works. It changes how we make decisions and interacts with everyone else. It does make for some interesting patterns of choice, not to mention how much we are in control of all of this. However, when you consider that the conscious you is only about 10% of your mind, can you believe we are totally in control of ourselves? We could ultimately become a form of Brownian Motion except that we do a lot more than bump into other particles and have different outcomes.

What does it mean if you are a pocket universe? Look at your perceptions. They are not the same as everyone else’s. You just assume they are and outside of some types hard to see any differences. Colour blind people would assume others see things of a similar nature until proven otherwise. Dyslexics realise something was wrong when others can read accurately and they can’t. In the past, they would put it down to themselves being slow or even stupid than word interpretation problems. Artist types can even recognise a lot more colours than non-artists although that’s something that recently came to light. The level of imagination and creativity is also vastly different for everyone. The point being that our perceptions aren’t all the same. As we are isolated from each other in a sensory way, then why should it be extraordinary that we are different in other ways?

I should point out that this is nothing to do with what species we belong to. This is more to do with what makes us individuals. If you were the time traveller and met yourself in the past, then you would not be the same person. The atomic structure that is you wouldn’t necessarily be the same as the future you as the atoms are replaced over a 7 year period. That explains how you can face each other without causing complex problems of the duplicate atoms existing in the same reality. Of course, there is still a matter of the paradox of would your future self remember your past encounter and what happened next and why you didn’t. It wouldn’t have any difference with the options of anything we’ve seen before. Well, other than there wouldn’t be any alternatives realities being created. You might not even remember an event of a few minutes.

It does bring up an interesting question of why we exist as individuals and what constitutes an individual let alone our decision-making process being pre-ordained. At a quantum level it does make sense. You have to decide whether things at our scale are just manifestations of what goes on at that level which is a whole different level of thinking.

It also brings up a little question of whether our reality is real or some form of hologram reality. Even so, there would have to be some physical reality out there and it would still have the same sort of problems or even odder ones.

Essentially, each of us is a self-contained pocket universe that is capable of interacting with other self-contained pocket universes where we make our own decisions as to how much we interact with each other. This can vary from normal activities to procreation where two of you create another pocket universe that often gets the name ‘baby’ before a more associated name is associated with the subject. It also suggests we are our own gods which, if we assume there is no one almighty deity, makes things interesting for all the religiously concerned.

It does make sense of other things like getting positive or negative vibes off people. Whether it means you can find soul partners by it is more debatable, more so as a lot of people make poor choices as well. On a psionic level, it would also explain why some people are more sensitive to other people than others and picking up a particular vibe. It would definitely be more revealing about how empathy works depending on how open people are to other people and that you are getting information at a quantum level entanglement.

The other chestnut of this is teleportation where it is believed entanglement with atoms elsewhere would allow you to transfer from one point to another. Although it is doubtful that Man is capable of such a process, largely because there is no natural equivalent, if this theory extended to any extra-terrestrial sentient species we encounter, it would be interesting to see if they have an organic equivalent to themselves.

The problem with all theories is that anything can be rationalised if the scope is wide enough. Everything being pocket universes is certainly in that category. On a metaphysical level, this doesn’t interfere with any of the natural science we have today. The likes of evolution and all regular science laws aren’t likely to be changed. It is more to do with how our quantum levels are and how we interface with the reality about us. If anything, it shows far more of our limitations than not. It would certainly raise a question over why certain popular Science Fiction tropes are impossible or we haven’t seen demonstrated yet.

It isn’t as though we aren’t carrying micro-universes already. The number of helpful bacteria and other such microbes we share our bodies with would certainly look like that from their perspective if they were that sentient. The bigger question is whether or not it carries over into the quantum level and whether atomic particles move within our section of reality or move across the various objects we come in contact on a daily basis.


© GF Willmetts 2018

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About the Author ()

Geoff Willmetts has been editor at SFCrowsnest for some 21 plus years now, showing a versatility and knowledge in not only Science Fiction, but also the sciences and arts, all of which has been displayed here through editorials, reviews, articles and stories. With the latter, he has been running a short story series under the title of ‘Psi-Kicks’ If you want to contribute to SFCrowsnest, read the guidelines and show him what you can do. If it isn’t usable, he spends as much time telling you what the problems is as he would with material he accepts. This is largely how he got called an Uncle, as in Dutch Uncle. He’s not actually Dutch but hails from the west country in the UK.

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