There is a theory in quantum mechanics I’ve been fascinated with since I was old enough to wrap my head around it called The Many-Worlds Interpretation. For those unfamiliar with the concept – and I will admit it is a bit out there, so just bear with me – it is the idea that all realities and alternate histories are real, and they’re playing out simultaneously in parallel universes. The most popular and easily understood interpretation is the thought experiment of Schrödinger’s cat. I’m very clearly not a science buff but the idea is amazing if not a bit unbelievable.
Even though I had some issues with it, the movie Looper starring Bruce Willis and Joseph Gordon-Levitt as alternate versions of the same character is a great example of adapting many-worlds in a way that is both entertaining and easy to follow. I really can’t recommend it enough.
For me, the many-worlds interpretation (MWI from hereon-out) is comforting. While there are absolutely an infinite number of terrible scenarios that become true when you subscribe to MWI, there are also an infinite number of really positive ones too. In one universe maybe I don’t suffer from mental illness. In another, maybe my mom never lost her sight. Maybe, somewhere, we’re happy.
One of the hardest parts of a breakup is sorting out all the plans you had together into three piles: those you can do on your own, those you can do with someone else, and those which may now never happen. It’s heart-wrenching to think about the dates, the vacations, and all the things you wanted to achieve with this person that you loved, that if you ever even experience will undoubtedly be with someone else now. Even writing about it hurts.
Still, maybe there’s hope. Hope that even though in the reality in which you presently reside these events may never occur, the fact that they were dreamed into existence at all means that somewhere, some version of you is living the life you’d hoped to have had. The dates, the vacations, the nights spent holding each other watching episodes of The Office in bed, the late breakfasts where one (or both) of you always ordered pancakes – because pancakes are fucking amazing. Out there, in a parallel universe, all of those things are true all at the same time, and alternate you is having those amazing experiences solely because actual you dreamed of them to begin with.
Hey, alternate Justin? You’re welcome.