7 November 2012

The innumerable universes

Mars analemma
There is another you, sitting on an identical Earth, about 10 to the power of 10 to the power of 120 light years away. Other pocket universes will contain entities of almost limitless power and intelligence. If it is allowed by the basic physical laws (which, in this scenario, will be constant across all universes), it must happen. Thus there are unicorns, and thus there are godlike beings. Thus there is a place where your evil twin lives. In an interview I asked Greene if this means there are Narnias out there, Star Trek universes, places where Elvis got a personal trainer and lived to his 90s... Places where every conscious being is in perpetual torment. Heavens and hells. Yes, it does, it seems. And does he find this troubling? ‘Not at all,’ he replied. ‘Exciting. Well, that’s what I say in this universe, at least.’
-- from World Next Door by Michael Hanlon. The Leatherback chapter of my book concludes:
Watching the baby Leatherbacks going like the blazes for the black waters where the majority of them would be eaten by other animals before they grew any bigger than a child’s fist, and where most of the survivors would probably be chewed up in the meat grinder of human civilization, it was nevertheless possible to feel that Schopenhauer’s vision of the world as a place of endless pain and suffering was mistaken. Some small proportion of these young turtles might just survive and return as adults and haul the heavy rock of their own being, now two thousand times as heavy as when they left, once more up the beach. As the stalwart atheist Albert Camus put it, one must imagine Sisyphus happy. And it seemed possible that somewhere, in the innumerable universes, the gods were smiling.

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