Another Day, Another Blog

March 18, 2007

Of life…and other things

Filed under: science fiction, the joy of life — iamza @ 1:43 pm

Do you ever get that feeling of having lived a moment before, but where the outcome was completely different? I’m not talking about deja vu, where you think you’ve visited a specific location before, even though, intellectually, you know it’s impossible. I mean, where you’ve literally lived through a given moment, but this time around, it’s all played out differently.

As an example: Once, while working late, I went on a coffee run which necessitated the navigation of a set of stairs. Half way down the stairs, I tripped, but managed to clutch the bannister, and save myself a nasty fall. Yet, at the exact moment I grabbed hold of the bannister, I knew that in some other life, I’d fallen, and things hadn’t turned out quite so well.

I guess it could be argued that my imagination was simply playing tricks on me. I’d had a close-shave, and my brain had taken the opportunity to embellish, in excrutiating detail, the potential consequences of that incident. In a split second, I not only knew what would have happened had I fallen, but my brain had also supplied the movie clip so I could see it happening.

Thing is, sometimes I have these flashes of awareness even when I haven’t had a close shave. There’ll be a moment when I’m making a decision — it can be something as simple as choosing whether or not to go shopping after work — and I’ll know that whatever I choose, I’ve lived all the outcomes.

Science fiction shows often make use of the premise of an infinite number of parallel universes. Every decision we make acts as a branching point, splitting the multiverse still further; every possible outcome of every incident we’ve ever encountered in our lives leads to a new universe. All the what-if’s in the world become reality.

Sometimes I wonder if that moment of not-quite-deja vu is just the conscious mind taking note of a flutter in the space-time continuum, watching as the multiverse gives birth again to a new universe, one in which I fell down those stairs or said no instead of yes.

Sometimes I wonder if that moment of not-quite-deja vu is the moment at which the universe we’re currently in came into being. Maybe it was only when I tripped on that staircase that this universe sprang forth, fully formed.

Mostly, though, I think thoughts like these are proof of my insanity. :-) 

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