I’m always thinking about parallel universes. One of my theories, it’s not really based on any science or hard facts, just purely from my imagination, is that if parallel universes do exist, there have to exist an infinite number of them. Why? I don’t know, but it makes a lot more sense to imagine an infinite set of universes than just arbitrarily imagining them up but then capping them all at a random number. Numbers don’t really matter; I’m already getting sidetracked. So just imagine that there are an infinite amount of universes, a multiverse. And each parallel universe is a little different that this one, otherwise it wouldn’t be parallel, it would just be this one, which, I can say with some measure of confidence, already exists.
OK, so we have infinite parallel universes, and all of them are different that this one. In what ways would they be different? If there are no limits to the number of universes, then there are no limits to the number of differences. So parallel universes might be drastically different than this one. I’m picturing a universe overrun by intelligent slime monsters or a world where Jesus was born on the moon instead of the Middle East. (Actually, that sounds like a great idea for a movie. I’ll call it Space Messiah.) History could take a wild turn, completely divergent from our own reality.
That’s really cool to think about. I always loved reading those What If? comics where Captain America was a vampire or the Incredible Hulk was purple instead of green. Those are really fun. But then I have this idea, and it really bothers me that, if there are infinite worlds, then everything that can happen will happen, somewhere, in some other dimension.
So think about it. Everything that I do is affecting the lives of my parallel counterparts all throughout the multiverse. Because if I do something here, another me somewhere else has to be doing something different. There have to exist worlds that appear exactly the same as this world, and the only differences will arise out of decisions that I make here versus decisions that an alternate me makes somewhere else. Like there could be a parallel world where I drank tea instead of coffee this morning. And maybe another one where I didn’t drink anything at all. And then another one where I accidentally drank a glass of antifreeze and died.
So I think about this life, and how every time something good happens to me here, something bad happens to another me somewhere else. And if you think about infinite possibility, it gets really mindblowingly disturbing. Every time I cross a street, so far, I’ve managed to avoid getting run over by a car or a bus. But every time I make it across successfully, some other Rob must be getting splattered all over the pavement. I’m overwhelmed with these visions of the multiverse, and somewhere at some time, there is always some version of me meeting some horrible end, constantly, forever.
And it’s not just cars and violent deaths. It could be routine sickness or something equally pedestrian. How many times have I taken antibiotics for strep throat? They’ve always been effective in killing off the infection. Here on this world, that is. I have no idea how my doubles are living their lives on the infinite planet Earths where penicillin never even got discovered.
And then I feel just a little bit guilty every time something goes my way in life. I’d say I’m living very comfortably. In terms of all of the humans who have ever lived on this planet, I’m probably enjoying a level of comfort and stability that would seem totally unimaginable compared to the vast amounts of suffering and horror that all of the people in this species have had to endure just to get us to this point in modern society. My life is great here. Doesn’t that mean that somewhere I have to exist as a total opposite of how I exist right now? I must. My imaginary theory of infinite possibility demands it. So if I’m generally happy in my life, opposite Rob has to be generally miserable. And that’s generally depressing.
But then there has to exist a version of me that’s only twenty-five percent less happy. And maybe there’s another one that’s twenty-five percent happier. Who knows? So it’s somewhat comforting to think about all the various ways in which my life could be even better somewhere else. Like every time I don’t win the lottery jackpot, which has, so far, been every single time, I always take a little solace in the knowledge that, somewhere else, on some other Earth, I’m staring down in disbelief as I match every single number on my ticket to the winning numbers on TV. It’s got to be a great feeling. And that jackpot winning Rob G. is probably super happy, excited, euphoric, but there’s this slight tinge of guilt, because he knows deep down that somewhere out there exist countless other Rob Gs who didn’t win anything. Or even worse, a Rob G. who won, but then lost the ticket. And then he got hit by a bus when he left his house.
I’m kind of wishing that I lived in a parallel universe where I never wrote this.