Don’t worry about not living up to your full potential. This life you’re living, and the probability expression you’re living it in, it may not be the “best,” for whatever arbitrary values to which you assign preference.
But this life will be the longest of any expression of your lives.
Let me step back. In order for me to continue, I need to make sure we’re speaking the same language. I need to make sure you understand a little bit about multiverse theory and chaos theory. Don’t be afraid of those terms; you’re probably familiar with the ideas those terms describe, I’m just putting a name on them so it’s easier to tell you what I mean.
Multiverse theory is the theory that there are multiple versions of the universe as we know it, or don’t know it. Whichever. Anyway, so one approach to multiverse theory which probably has its own special name is this: Every outcome for an event has happened in some parallel universe.
Say you’ve walked up to a crossroads (and who doesn’t love one of those, am I right?) You can go forward, left, right, back where you came from. You can also ditch the roads and gallivant off through the fields if you like, but let’s color inside the lines for a bit, my clever readers. You have four options, so suddenly there are four versions of the universe where you came to that crossroads at that time.
Repeat that every time you or any other person or animal or plant or what have you makes a decision. Try to figure out how many universes are created in a single second, and you’ll find your head sore and your computer demonstrating why the ancient Chinese just stopped at 10,000 and called that “as many as we’ll ever need to think about.”
So, basic chaos theory. Everything affects everything else. A butterfly flaps its wings in Wellington and causes a hurricane in Haiti, that’s the classic explanation. If you’re really determined to trace what caused what caused what back as far as you can, you’ll find things get silly very quickly. Usually, you just trace to a useful origin point If you’re a lawyer, you only trace back to something you can prosecute, for example. If you’re a priest, you trace things back as far as you can be bothered, then proclaim “God wills it” and bump off for a pint. Similarly, if you’re a scientist, you trace things back as far as you can be bothered, then realize you’re not getting any work done on your real research and bump off for a pint. Try hard enough, and you can trace everything back to the scatter of particles from the big bang.
Don’t try that hard, though; proving that one is a pain and not worth the effort. Besides, we might figure out what went on before the big bang, and then you have to find a new absolute origin point.
For this sermon, let’s use your birth as our origin point. That’s where you begin, after all, and that event only happened exactly as it did in one universe. From there, your life sprawls out as a series of occurrences in you and the world around you. Chaos theory makes every multiverse with you in it unique, perhaps in little ways, perhaps in large ways.
Whichever ways happen, a bunch of versions of you are gonna die, more every second. Eventually, there are no more versions of you under the age of six months; they either kept living or died. So it goes, on and on, until only one of you is still alive. That’s the you that you’re perceiving.
Okay, so there’s no way to explain this next bit that isn’t out there, so bear with me. You know the whole Schrodinger’s Box experiment, where the cat is both alive and dead until you open the box and see which? Yeah, you’re the cat. And you find out whether you’re alive or dead every time one of you dies.
If a version of you has died, it’s not the you that you perceive being. It can’t be; you can’t perceive being dead. So as long as there’s another you left, you’re still alive. Since I assume you can’t perceive multiple versions of your life (And if you can, message me; I’d love to hear what it feels like), you’re not any of the yous that dies while there’s another you alive. You’re the one that’s going to live the longest of any you. It’s not a perfect analogue, but it’s like what physicists call “collapsing the wave function.”
So why does anyone die young?
Well, you’re probably not perceiving anyone you know in the life where they live the longest. It’s not impossible, just really, really unlikely. You’re only living in and perceiving one of near-infinite universes where you exist, and so is everyone else. Maybe Kurt Cobain will have perceived living to 90. I perceive he died at 27; that doesn’t mean he perceived dying at 27. The inverse is also true; most people you know aren’t going to perceive you as you perceive yourself. The versions of them in your longest life may be totally different from them as they perceive themselves.
In short, don’t get caught up worrying over how little time you have and how much of it you’re wasting not realizing your potential. You have all the time you could possibly have; it’s up to you to decide what to do with it. I recommend grabbing a hot dog; it’s Friday where I am, after all.
Much love from your buddy,
Saint Amir Zetathustra, Heretic