My life as a particle

Recent cosmological discoveries by leading astrophysicists have generated some astounding new theories about the nature of the universe and our place within it. With the rapid advance of observational technology, up to and including radio/X-ray telescopes and Hubble, our ability to measure the size of the known universe has increased enormously. Paradoxical cosmological concepts about a universe that is both finite and infinite, and perhaps just one of an infinite number of universes, dubbed the “multiverse” have now taken center stage. Ironically, the newest science of the day sounds precisely like 4,000-year-old mystical teachings of worlds without beginning or end.

In a multiverse of infinite universes, the newest calculations permit the computation of all the variations of reality within the infinite universes. It turns out the variations are finite. In other words, with infinite opportunity to generate all the possible different versions of reality, we eventually run out of versions, and must repeat possible variations, also infinitely. One result is infinite earths, many of which would vary from our own, but many of which would be precisely the same, right down to you, me and Felix the cat. For example, if you had the opportunity to make an infinite number of pancakes (well, I made 28,500 in 13 years while owning a B&B) some pancakes would end up being exactly, precisely the same, give or take a statistically insignificant atom or two. It is mathematically provable; the numbers become so enormous as to reach and exceed the limit of the possible variations of reality.

This brings us to the human factor. Like all things, we are composed of atoms, and our billion plus atoms are a relative drop in the bucket when compared with the volume of all matter created in the multiverse. Thus not only are each of us not at all unique (infinite replicas existing in the multiverse), but from the perspective of scale, we amount to mere quantum particles.

In quantum mechanics (no, not how much the guy at the 76 station will charge to change your spark plugs, but the science of quanta, the tiniest micro units of matter), particles behave in strange and unpredictable ways. Quantum particles arise from nowhere, change form (sometimes they behave like waves), disappear and reappear. We can’t see it happen, but it is what makes everything go ‘round (and here you thought it was money!) And quantum particles have aspects and qualities physicists call “charmed, strange, up, and down.” Moreover, they say certain particles demonstrate “affinity, entanglement, resonance, and spin” even over very long distances (kind of like staying in touch with the kids via cell phone). Accordingly, it is not surprising that humans, particles that we are, share these very qualities. I find my wife of 31 years terribly “charming” and feel such “affinity” that just returning to her side creates a warm “resonance.”

Some call me “strange,” I accept that as my quantum destiny. I am, like most particles, sometimes “up” and sometimes “down.” I certainly am “entangled” with Sonoma, and no matter how far I “spin,” I always seem to find myself back in its particular orbit. As for the infinite other selves inhabiting infinite Sonomas on infinite earths in the multiverse? I wish them well; they should only be so lucky!