I’ve always been fascinated by the idea of parallel universes, although I don’t read nearly enough science fiction; don’t write any. What brought it all back was my outlining the next Zoe Sinclair novel, the research involved in trying to get the story moving in a direction I feel more than know at this point.
After Stranger or Friend, the character reemerges with somewhat of a fractured psyche. We can’t walk though a dark forest, as Zoe did physically and emotionally toward the end of the book, and resurface unscathed.
But what does a broken psyche have to do with a parallel universe?
Well, according to physicists, we, the observers create our own reality. There is apparently overwhelming evidence, forcing physicists to admit that the universe is a “mental” construction. So, in real life, a person with a fractured psyche, someone like Zoe, would see the world differently, but maybe not for the reason we imagine.
First, let me take you to Susanna Kaysen’s memoir, Girl Interrupted, in which the author describes her “struggle to transcend across the boundary that separates her from two parallel universes: the worlds of sanity and insanity, security and vulnerability.”
Kaysen details “her existence as a patient diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder in a mental institution where time seems circular alongside a parallel universe where time is linear.” She describes “the reality of her situation and experiences, leaving her readers in a disturbing position of being suspended between the world she paints and the factual reality.”
Which leads to the question: Does the patient suffer from Borderline Personality Disorder, or is it possible that by having suffered severe trauma she’s able to see into a parallel universe closed to the rest of us, the so-called sane?
The questions are too great to remain unexplored. And yet exploring them only leads to more questions.
I touched upon the idea of dream interpretation in Stranger or Friend, allowing my character to alleviate suffering by ‘dreaming’ of a long-lost relative, crossing into a different universe, if you will.
We often hear stories about people able to access different parts of their consciousness after severe trauma, or the ability to enter another self through transcendental meditation. But is that what it is, or are they accessing something else entirely?
Here is what scientists have to say about parallel universes:
“A fundamental conclusion of the new physics acknowledges that as observers we are personally involved with the creation of our own reality.”
Meaning that through perception we create our reality, and reality does not exist outside our thought process. And there are parallel realities all around, “universes were wars had different outcomes than the ones we know, species that are extinct in our universe have evolved and adapted.”
Physicist Sir James Jeans wrote: ‘The stream of knowledge is heading toward a non-mechanical reality; the universe begins to look more like a great thought than like a great machine. Mind no longer appears to be an accidental intruder into the realm of matter, but the governor of the realm of matter.” – R.C. Henry, Professor of Physics and Astronomy at Johns Hopkins University.
I can easily get lost in such complexities, life is stressful enough already, but as writers, as thinkers, we can say this thought boggles the mind and yet, it is still comprehensible… well, almost.
Images: http://www.flickr.com, galerie.designnation.de