I just finished reading this article, The Accidental Universe, in Harper’s, and I’m no rocket scientist or theoretical physicist (or rocket physicist or even theoretical scientist), so let me try to get this straight.
For our universe with its particular features to come about is so highly improbable and incalculable that it had to come about by accident.
Now, physicists don’t like that because their job is to explain events, and to explain an event like our universe as ‘an accident’ is like theoretical malpractice for a physicist-ian.
All right… check.
So in order to explain this accident (our universe), some theoretical physicists have postulated that there are an infinite number of universes out there (called the multiverse) and we live in only one of them.
And the reason our universe has the basic features it does, is because in that multiverse, one of them has to have our features – and us – just because of the sheer number of universes in it.
Again, I’m no rocket scientist, etc. but haven’t these physicists just proposed a grander improbable (the multiverse) in order to make the original improbable (our universe) probable?
I say why stop there? Why not propose a multiverse of multiverses?
In a multiverse of multiverses – imagine the infinities! – all things would come about and replicate endlessly. So those same physicists would be studying their multiplicity of universes in a multiplicity of universes. Accordingly, we would all exist in countless alternate universes as well. (That trip to Bali? Curl your toes in the sand. The woman who got away? Standing right next to you.)
This idea of a multiverse of multiverses also puts a nice spin on the anthropic principle (i.e. that the universe must have the features it does because we are here to observe it.) You see, it’s no longer that this universe is what it is because we are here to observe it. It’s that an infinite number of we’s exist in an infinite number of universes, observing all of them the way they are.
So, in this universe (and many others), I (and many others) am writing this post (and many others), but elsewhere in that infinity of infinities, I (and many others) am a theoretical physicist at M.I.T. myself (along with many others), proposing a multiverse of multiverses of multiverses theory which, of course, only leads to ever more blog posts such as this one (and many others) and ever more multiverses.
To misquote the playwright Tom Stoppard: “Infinity is a terrible thought. I mean, where’s it going to end?”