You know how it happens? You come to the beach — the water is cold. You are not sure whether you should swim or not. There is a beautiful girl standing next to you. She has doubts about swimming as well. She is looking at you. And you know that if you ask for her name, you will leave with her and forget about everything and everybody — even the person who accompanied you to the beach. All you need to do is ask. But you don’t do it and later keep thinking about her at first once a day, then once a week. For whatever reason, that moment doesn’t leave your head. You can’t stop thinking about the moment when everything could have gone differently, when your life could have taken a whole new direction.
This piercing reasoning of the hero from the movie, Changing Lanes made Bright Side think: Are there really “other lives” in which our destiny could have turned out differently? Spoiler alert: Yes!
Let’s look at this question from the point of view of different sciences.
The existence of your alternative life in terms of physics.
To prove the theory of alternative realities, we have to go deep into history for a moment: In 1915, two stunning ideas turned the scientific world upside down. One of these being Einstein’s theory of relativity and the birth of quantum mechanics, which radically changed our understanding of the universe. While groundbreaking, these studies didn’t answer all of our questions.
Having realized the gaps in concepts like The Big Bang Theory and the consequences of these theories, the world’s brightest heads have been looking for a universal theory of everything for more than a decade. And finally, from behind the scenes came The String Theory which helped fill the gaps in the inconsistencies of present research.
The String Theory states that everything that exists in this universe consists of the smallest vibrating strings of energy (which are inside the atoms of molecules) with each string oscillating in its own way, generating different particles — similar to notes on a guitar string. To put it simply, the universe is an endless symphony of an orchestra and absolutely everything that surrounds us is music from these tiny strings.
There is another good explanation to this theory using the idea of fire. From the side, a flame seems material, but in fact, it is just energy that cannot be touched (not only because of temperature but in terms of physics). And like a flame, you cannot put your arm into oscillating strings since it is an excited state of space that becomes tangible.
With all the simultaneous simplicity and genius of The String Theory, there was one problem — the solution of which led to the realization of alternative realities.
It turned out that The String Theory is not just one theory, but rather a large set of many different theories. Each of these theories describes the universe with its own laws of physics. At first, this seemed unbelievable…
But the theory’s greatest triumph? It supports the idea that we are not alone in the universe and that there are actually many of them that came before us. There is some great Multiverse. With this hypothesis, everything suddenly became clear: Each universe corresponds to its own laws of physics and therefore, it is impossible for all universes to be exactly the same.
Many scientists were dissatisfied with the Multiverse theory for many reasons. First off, because its calculations are not in line with everything that has already been established in physics. Secondly, because they simply cannot be verified! Many people think that this theory can only become a reality in a movie like Interstellar by Christopher Nolan, where the characters find some funnel to the neighboring universe.
But according to forecasts of many scientists, there is a possibility that after some ten years we will be looking at our current doubts like those who once believed that the sun revolved around the earth. And if you look at the interesting performance in TED by one of the most brilliant scientists of our time, Brian Greene, perhaps you will dispel your doubts as you read this article.
If this incredible theory is correct, then the consequences of it are truly unbelievable. Inside this Multiverse may be other versions of our solar system, copies of the earth and therefore, copies of all of us. And if that is true, then all possible futures and destinies of our lives exist there as well.
In some other universe, your copy can be living exactly the same life but in another realm. In infinity, your copy can make endless decisions.
It means that in some other universe, Michael Jackson could still be alive and Hitler could have become the founder of postmodern painting. Perhaps there is a land where a nuclear war has already happened or where the dinosaurs didn’t die out and evolution has taken a different path.
From the point of mathematics
Mathematicians confirms that in the infinite Multiverse, copies of our world are very likely to exist. How can this be?
Here is an explanation using the idea of a deck of cards. A complete deck consists of 52 different cards. But within a very large number of games, their combinations will inevitably start to repeat because the number of different combinations are limited. The same principle works in the Multiverse because according to the laws of nature, the primary constituents of matter — or particles — are like a deck of cards: at each point in space, they can be arranged in a limited number of ways.
If space is infinite and if the number of universes is also infinite, then such variants must be repeated. And since each of us is just an option of particles assembling, somewhere there must be our exact copies.
On one hand, this is depressing because it means that we are deprived of uniqueness- you are a copy or version of one of the lives of some other combination of particles.
On the other hand, if this is not a utopia and the universe is really infinite, then somewhere in the depths of distant galaxies, you are doing what you wanted. You have achieved completely different heights. Maybe you once made an important decision that helped you to exist at all.
From the point of philosophy
Let’s look at our topic from the point of view of philosophy with help from the film, Mr. Nobody (if you’ve always been tormented by the idea of life choice, your alternative life, or if you are now at crossroads, we strongly recommend watching this movie). We are no longer talking about the Multiverse, the laws of physics or Christopher Nolan. We are talking about a hero who can see his other lives depending on the choices he makes. And this is what he says being an old man:
“In the life of each of us, a hundred choices take place every day, and there are no good or bad choices. Simply each choice creates a different life, another unique world. But every life deserves to be lived over, every path deserves to be walked on. Because each of our other lives is correct. It also has its own sense. Everything in the world could be different but have the same sense.”
In other words, no one will argue that anything in our world makes sense. And this sentiment does not change in time because one of the main principles of thinking is: “If there is one thing, then there is something opposite.” Accordingly, if something changes, then something does not change (let’s stop here otherwise your brain will explode — let’s move to the next paragraph).
For example, a person is constantly changing. Cells of our body are renewed hundreds of thousands of times in our lives but we are still the same person and we don’t become someone else. So despite the complete change in our body, something in us remains unchanged. This “something” in philosophy is called essence, or sense. In other words, things change but their sense doesn’t change. For example: the car is burning but the “sense” of this car is not. Moreover, if a person dies or is not even born, his “sense” will not disappear because birth and death are the same unchanging elements that don’t depend on the origin or destruction of the thing to which they relate. Therefore, any change in the thing has already been laid down in its sense. And any possible actions that a person commits, and all possible variants of his life are also assumed by his sense.
This means that you already exist in all possible variants. Nevertheless, despite philosophy, the choices are all different. And it is with the film, Mr. Nobody, we can see that with an infinite number of choices, the best choice still turns out to be one based on freedom rather than external factors.
Does it mean that there are plenty of these alternative lives? How do we live with this?
Which of these theories impressed you the most? Please share your opinion in the comments!