Written by 11:27 am Opinion

An Alternate Universe of “What Ifs”

In the many worlds of what-ifs, every decision I take in this world creates a new universe: one for every choice I might make. There are numerous “what ifs” out there that allow us to speculate on what our life may have been like if we had chosen a different path for ourselves.

Consider yourself having the ability to fiddle with the settings of the great cosmic system. Twiddling the knobs to induce trifles of change in the setup of the universe unnoticed by mankind. Our universe appears to be fine-tuned in the sense that if the constants are altered by just a tiny amount, everything as we know it would be possible. There are no boundaries when it comes to the universe or even science. Lookout at the universe all you want, and you’ll never find an edge. As far as the eye can see, the universe seems to stretch continuously.

But is it all that’s out there? What if the possibility that lies beyond the abyss of nothingness is an existence of a universe much like our own? What if there is another universe—let alone many—where another you exists? Is there actually a multiverse, or is it just a notion beyond science? If this seems like a far-fetched idea to you, you are not alone. Alternate realities, parallel realms, and multiple universes are all possibilities. Whatever you call it, the notion of alternate realities is becoming a widely established trope and domain of science fiction.

The stakes are high. This profound conundrum is nothing new in the eyes and ears of many as the concept of an alternate universe has been a well-worn theme of science fiction films for decades. The concept of multiverse, wherein infinite realms exist at the same time, has gone mainstream shifting from fantasy and speculation toward bona fide science queries. Each alternate universe has its different version of reality. Furthermore, the infinite possibilities of the multiverse imply that there are infinite versions of you doing anything possible. This includes a universe in which you are reading this exact article, though maybe written by another author.

In the many worlds of what-ifs, every decision I take in this world creates a new universe: one for every choice I might make. There are numerous “what ifs” out there that allow us to speculate on what our life may have been like if we had chosen a different path for ourselves. The multiverse is an endless series of what-ifs where there is an infinite number of parallel universes filled with myriad near-copies of me and you. It contends that our particular is merely one among an infinite number of parallel universes. Furthermore, it assures us that all the things that somehow elude us in this particular time and place–our unfulfilled desires, thwarted hopes, and shattered ambitions–may have already been achieved by our alternative lives in some of those other parallel worlds. The idea of parallel universes feels too good to be true. The existence of alternate universes is a source of great solace to people who are dissatisfied with their own universe.

Most of us probably had the experience of having an eerie feeling where time seems to pass by in slow-motion, where you often feel a kind of familiarity as if you had already experienced the current situation. Then, the feeling quickly fades away and you wonder what just happened. That is a déjà vu experience! Interesting notions have been proposed for the cause of the déjà vu phenomenon relating it to the intercepts of the multiverse idea. What if the feeling of déjà vu meant synching you up with another version of you in an alternate universe experiencing the same thing at the same time for a fleeting moment?  Do you think it is possible that the sensation of feeling or seeing something before it happens could be related to the multiverse? Déjà vu seems like a glimpse of the version of you from an alternate universe. Some believe that deja vu can occur when two parallel universes temporarily collide, and the reason we perceive these situations as something we’ve already experienced in the past is that a parallel version of us has experienced the same circumstance—in another universe.

Conversely, some argue with claims to suggest that there’s no significant evidence to prove that contact between universes can induce the feeling of déjà vu, and instead link déjà vu to the neurological phenomenon. Your brain might just have a kind of “buffering moment,” causing discrepancies between the consciousness of your present and previous memories leading to a sensation of Déjà Vu. Consider this: when you have an experience, it would naturally be stored in your memory and is compared to previous memories by matching specific triggers. If a similar experience is felt and identified, you will think, “I’ve been here/done this/felt this before!” In other words, déjà vu may just be a flickering trick of our minds—a perceptual lag and hiccup of our minds.

The intricacies of a multiverse and its manifestations in the human mind are always a head-scratcher as this notion is hard to wrap in our minds. However, the peculiarity, complexity, and the what-if nature of this phenomenon make it far more interesting to dwell and talk about. The implication of the existence of an alternate universe remains to be one largely uncharted territory in the sea of mainstream science. Nevertheless, we are yet set to sail through on a mission of introducing the idea of déjà vu and its connection to an alternate universe. The truth is that the vast majority of the universe remains unknown, and there is much more to learn and unravel about the possibilities of all the parallel yous wandering around out there.

To believe or not to believe in the existence of an alternate universe varies from person to person. However, the only limits that exist are those that we impose on ourselves.

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 Sarah G. Susulan is a freshman BS Nursing student and a feature writer of The Beacon

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