I stared at my hands, comfortably gloved in nothingness. I blinked at them several times, trying to make sense of the strong, sudden emotion that had come over me. In an instant, an incredible heat emerged from within my chest, racing through my veins, then exploded into a fire of desire deep in my chest. I sat up abruptly, sitting with my back against the wall. I turned to the left, looking at the floor, then to the right, gazing up at the ceiling. Light was growing, shining through the cracks. I closed my eyes, trying to make sense of what was happening to me. The world seemed to be spinning and sinking, and I was holding my breath as if I were sitting atop of human existence — I was now immortal.
Let’s take a couple of steps back, back to a time when I was not in a room with a nuclear bomb, risking my life for an experiment. In quantum mechanics, the Many-Worlds interpretation essentially tells us that every time a decision is made, the universe splits, leading to basically an infinite number of similar worlds of which we only inhabit one. That is to say, there are billions of replicas of myself that live in the universe in which I said “screw the experiment, I’m going home” and a billion more in which I did. Whether or not this theory is completely true has yet to be confirmed, but just thinking about it makes me feel awfully dizzy, like I’m standing on the edge of a steep wave, poised to go tumbling into the ocean; I swerve away from the thought, afraid of where it might lead. Yet, all that being said, it is undeniable how much science can teach us about our realities. The overwhelming and awfully exciting possibilities eventually lured me into a room with a nuclear bomb…
The experiment was simple: I would sit in an enclosure with no way out and no communication with the outside world. Then I would attach a proton spin detector to a nuclear bomb that, if exploded, would kill me instantly. If the proton spun clockwise, the bomb would go off, and if it spun anti-clockwise, it would not. The process was then repeated every three seconds. Statistically, the chance of me living after three seconds was a confidence-inspiring 50%. After 6 seconds, it would be a slightly frightening 25%, and so on. After an hour, my chances of survival would be sufficiently improbable, and I would be, by all means of the imagination, dead.
On the basis of the Many-Worlds interpretation, every 3 seconds, every time I could have died, the universe would be split into two, up until there is nearly an infinite amount of worlds where I died, and one where I defied all odds, and survived. However, I cannot know if I died because in the universe in which I did, there would be no paths for the world to split, and thus my consciousness must remain the version where I didn’t die. That is to say, I cannot die because I can’t know I died. Admittedly, this logic is far from perfect, at least on the basis of our current understanding of quantum mechanics, but the implications of such a thought experiment are, well, earth-shattering, to say the least.
With that being said, I would not recommend locking yourself in a room with a nuclear bomb because it’s, for the lack of a better term, very stupid.
A week later: The aroma of simple dark coffee is part of the rhythm in my exhausting day, an anchor in a routine that offered me a sense of normality. I haven’t felt the same ever since… you know, the thing. But life must go on, whether I was immortal or not, and as I welcomed the distant sunrise, its fiery radiant so pretty and pure, I told myself to never ever try to cheat death through nonsensical quantum physics again — I would not keep that promise for long.
Photo: Fractal Hassan on Unsplash.com