Part One is here.
Where my new lease on life really started was before they even caught Johnny, with me in this shit-hole bar in the middle of the city that for right now is my college town, because, contrary to what you might think, my utter terror of human contact does not make me want to be alone, and so that is where I take my books to study. I once read that Glenn Gould, in a fit of panic when his photographic memory wasn’t kicking in in time for a last-minute cram session the day before a concert, turned on every noisemaking machine in the vicinity so as to interrupt the death-grip his conscious was exercising over the lens. Moments later, he’d polished off one of Beethoven’s masterpieces. That’s like the bar: every noisemaking machine in the vicinity, all drowning out the death-grip my conscious has on my lens. Not that I’ve got photographic memory. It’s just that, given enough time and peace and quiet to think about something, I can’t. So, I take my physics textbook to the bar. The most cramped one, with the worst music and foulest air, so that, given the options, my brain is desperate to wrap itself around this impossible shit and disappear into it.
So that’s where I found out about reality streams, parallel universes, and Steven Hawking’s worm holes. That’s where I read about Shrodinger’s cat, forever trapped in a cardboard box, waiting for you to decide if he’s been poisoned or not by opening the door. Because until you open the door, he’s both alive and dead. When you open the door, you’re choosing a reality stream, the course of the next second in history, you control the life or death of another creature. At least the creature this you is watching. As soon as it’s open, you’ve picked your stream, and the live cat is licking some other you’s hand.
So, if you’re still with me here, you’re thinking, I was right, I really am God. Then the next thing you’re thinking is, give me a break.
Some might say that scientists are just the priests of this century, that this is then fantasy, or, from the other direction, heresy, but these are the declarations of some bright and beautiful men, and, I think it’s necessary to add here, they did some experiments. The last experiment you did where you called on God to make your kitty unflatten and peel itself off the street in front of your home, well, how’d it turn out? What I’m saying is, maybe there’s some God in all of us.
What I’m saying is, what if learning from our mistakes means we switch up the cardboard flap we opened and give the cat some tuna for being so agreeable?
I know what you’re thinking. At the time, me too, I was thinking, this is a textbook?
I turned to focus on the television set, a good digestive aid for all kinds of discomforts, and soon I was thinking of Johnny, of where he might be, where he wasn’t. I was thinking, this life isn’t a tango. Then I discovered I’d been ignoring a young man’s attentions and I turned just in time for my expression to match the vomit leaving his mouth for my pants.
I hadn’t even taken the exam on this stuff when all of a sudden the TV turned into a joyous parade of Johnny’s mug and profile behind a string of numbers. And that’s when I started taking physics seriously.
The theory is, everything is happening at once. In order to sort things out for comprehension, the brain has to bracket certain areas, much as you would a long math equation in order to complete parts leading up to the whole. Look again at the math equation: all points are existing already. You bracket the section of the equation that spells line, and you see a line. You shift your brackets slightly and now you see a plane. Or a point. Are they already in the equation? Yes. Existing all at once? Yes. The brackets are your paradigm. What you see is what you’re prepared to see. Our brain does this, puts everything into a linear time scale, each point is a place, an occurrence in its surrounding environment. Space and time brackets.
Everything is happening right now, at once. Your mother is not dead, she is focused on another point right now, where you are not looking.
Time travel is not leaping backwards and forwards in time, it is merely bracketing elsewhere. Somewhere, all your possible futures are played out, and all the choices you didn’t make, you made. Don’t like this one? Switch reality streams. Find the other.
Your life becomes like channel-surfing.
Remorse is ridiculous, but not for the reasons you’ve been told. It’s ridiculous to ignore it, because remorse is the pull of your body towards the choice it would have preferred. It’s ridiculous like watching a stupid show is ridiculous when the remote control is in your hands.
The problem I’m having is, school isn’t the kind of place where you get to explore your options the way I’m needing to explore them. The problem is, physics professors are all going to make you go back and study the basics of physics before you get to this, to the really useful information. The problem is, I’d have to spend semesters on Newtonian physics before I’d ever even get to the real discussions about this chapter, the one that’s going to change everything.
Left to my own devices, where I go is to Madame Belaire’s home. It’s right on the bus line, and she’ll read your palm for a nominal fee.
Don’t get me wrong. This is completely academic.