So who knows who Hugh Everett III is? I admit it – I didn’t. He’s not just the late father of Mark Everett, lead singer of the Eels who discovered his Dad’s body, dressed in suit and tie, after he had died of a heart attack at the age of 51. Hugh Everett III was the frustrated physicist whose controversial and brilliant quantum mechanics theory conceiving of the existence of parallel worlds was ignored, misunderstood and unexplored for generations.
In his book The Hidden Reality, Brian Greene starts by explaining that potential multiple electron locations within their clouds means that there can be potentially multiple everythings. If the electron could be in one of two places, it could actually be in both, just in parallel universes.
I’m not going to pretend that I entirely understand that, but I believe myself to be one of the few people to get Donnie Darko.
The idea of the film revolves around the book “The Philosophy of Time Travel” written by Roberta Sparrow that Donnie receives from his teacher. This book states that time is usually pretty stable, but every now and again it becomes corrupted and creates a highly unstable tangent universe. This tangent universe lasts for a short time before collapsing in on itself. When it collapses, it has the ability to create a black hole affecting the primary universe as well.
Donnie (The Living Receiver) has to guide The Artefact (the jet engine) out of the tangent universe into the primary universe to balance the two universes. The Living Receiver is guided in his quest by The Manipulated Dead (the people connected to The Living Receiver who die in the tangent universe but will still be alive in the primary) and The Manipulated Living (the people connected to The Living Receiver who don’t die).
Some will tie this theory in with the idea of a predefined Destiny, guided potentially by a higher power and the people we come across during our lives. We’re walking along a fairly one directional (albeit, maybe circular) path filled with decisions. We make the decision and branch off the path on to another, but sooner or later the two join up again as we continue on the quest. It’s an idea that provides freedom as well as safety.
Although only a small thing, a few weeks ago I went to a cafe after work. As I approached a guy walked in in front of me. We were so close he nearly had to hold open the door for me. He walked in and took the seat I wanted. That’s obviously not the whole story but my thoughts turned to the fact that I’d missed out on something by a matter of seconds. If I’d have not hit a red traffic light, if I’d not have had to park another level higher in the multi-story… I would have been able to sit where I wanted and things may have been different.
There’s other things that have happened recently both in work and personally, where I could have made a different decision but they back up the theory from Donnie Darko that the result will always be the same, I’d just have had more fun along the way!
I hope Parallel Michael is enjoying the life I’m not having! Not that I’m jealous or anything! I’ll hopefully see him soon.
We’re just two parallel lines
One’s yours and baby one’s mine
We’re cards of the same suit
But, alas, we’re different colors
And I wish I could take and break the rules one time
And merge two parallel lines
If your lips are lying I will kiss them
And make the truth walk free
Your eyes have been sharing things
I probably shouldn’t see
I’d need a box of magic tricks
To hold you in my arms
And you don’t have to tell me that this will never work
Cause baby I already know
But that doesn’t mean
That I won’t try
Parallel by Jessica Harp