What if reality isn’t what we think?
What if we’re not even asking the right questions?
Look, I yield to no one in pointing and laughing when the left believes that their beliefs determine reality and try to do strange-ass things like levitate the mint.
There might be discontinuities (there are) and breaks in reality and times and places where the impossible happens. But whatever it is is, it’s not controlled by human brains, I’m sure of that. Because if each human brain could alter reality at will we’d live in what has been one of the consistent depictions of hell: no physical laws, no directions, everything changing moment to moment: a place where yesterday might be a color and tomorrow a musical note, and where your hunger could be a gale or–
Sure, sure, “but if we all believe” — no. However it works, it doesn’t work like that. And I’ll be honest, I don’t think human minds are in control. It could, I grant, be the sum total of every human mind that ever existed and will ever exist, but a) how would you know? b) I don’t know about you (tovarich) but I know humans. the chances of more than three of the critters agreeing on anything would be– never mind.
One of the short stories I actually liked in Asimov’s around 1994 (?) played with quantum and with the idea that for things to exist they must have an observer. So it had G-d as the universal, ever present observer, and played with the idea of “What if G-d blinks.”
Now, I don’t think that’s in Himself’s repertoire. And I’m not sure he’s at the switch of reality either. (Or at the reality switches.)
Enough people have observed something a little “off” with the nature of reality. So we get things like “We’re a computer simulation.”
I’d take that one a lot more seriously if it weren’t for the fact that every age imagines that reality/the universe is whatever new tech it is impressed with. So, you get stuff like the Elizabethans thinking that reality was clockwork. And in the industrial age, the universe was a factory. And– Never mind. Probably Grog thought the universe was made of flint that Himself chipped to shape.
Also, I’d take it a lot more seriously, if the answer weren’t “well, what difference would that make?”
Which brings us to: there are things that make differences. There are differences all of us have noted. Sure. A ton of that can be bad memory. I’m becoming intimately acquainted with the power of bad memory when combined with ill health. Yesterday for the first time since…. oh…. 2017? I emptied the bottom of the linen cabinet. And Dan said “I didn’t know we owned that vacuum.” Well, I didn’t either. It’s a yellow vacuum, bright yellow. As far as I’m concerned, the aliens dropped it in there. I mean, I might have the vaguest of memories, but it’s very faint.
Then there’s the cleaners/toothpaste/toiletries put under some cabinet and forever forgotten. I probably won’t need to buy shampoo for the rest of my life.
Note it’s particularly bad in this house, because when we moved in I had three warring illnesses/issues all of which were taking the ADD through the roof. So I got stuck in things like “Oh, I need shampoo” Buy shampoo every time I go out for two weeks. Put it under sink. Forget it because sink is too full. Buy shampoo. Put by side of tub. Use that. Forget that shampoo under sink ever existed.
So a lot of what we call the Mandella effect is that. And a lot falls under media malfeasance, such as when Dan and I compared our experience of the climate in the 70s with what the media claims now.
Note a ton of the Mandella effect are things “at the edges” like how you spell a word. Or if someone famous you’ve never actually met has died or not.
The human memory is an uncertain tool. I tend to remember the events of my life clustered around age 3, age 8 and age 14. Usually I find out that age isn’t right. Like I apparently had small pox at 2 not 3. (Almost 3, I guess.) And human attention is an uncertain tool as well. If you didn’t see it, or pay attention, to you it never happened. (Like Pratchett’s character, I can lose my keys in a completely empty room. ADHD is a superpower.)
But still. There are weird and strange and uncanny things that happen to all of us and for which there is no explanation.
Parallel worlds? Perhaps. I mean, I routinely dream I get a phone call from my 39 year old son. The one I had when Dan and I got married four years earlier than in this world. Which would be fine, if the entire family didn’t dream of him (mostly phone calls, though he visits in dreams, too) and didn’t all agree on what he looks like (like younger son, but taller and lighter skinned. And he has blue eyes, which is weird but not impossible in this family.) He’s a gym bunny, and he wears button downs and ties all the time, like older son used to. Oh, and he’s a patent lawyer, which makes perfect sense, if you realize how this family’s minds work.
Would I be very surprised if I woke up (these shifts always seem to happen in the middle of the night) and I had an oldest son who is 39? Not markedly. Startled. Briefly. Then I’d roll with it. It would be considerably worse if I woke up tomorrow and Dan and I had never had kids. That I don’t think I’d get over.
Granted that would be a pretty massive change, compared to other changes that have happened in my life/history, which are usually a little bigger than your average Mandella effect but not that bad.
Like cooking something I’ve made a dozen times, and the guys being bowled over by this new dish they’ve never had. Uh.
Stuff like that.
BTW the weird thing that would lead one to think this is a physical thing, is that abilities port. So, in this one world you learned to type? You can type in this one too, even if you’ve never done it before. I wonder how much that kind of thing is responsible for “naturals.” Anyway, so get all the knowledge and abilities you can.
More disturbing to me are the times reality blinks.
Oh, not literally.
Or perhaps literally. A couple of times. It’s happened twice now, in the presence of younger son once, and the second with someone else (and I can’t remember who.)
This is where I was sitting, and suddenly, reality winked out. For like a micro-second there was nothing. I half expected a giant 404 to show up, and even that would have been relief. There was just…. nothing.
If I hadn’t been with someone, and if we hadn’t both gone “Wow, that was–” and then figured out we’d both experienced the same, it would have been…. I’d have assumed I”d had a stroke or died for a moment or something.
That is not a parallel world thing. That is a “What the heck?” thing.
In the same scary way, and yes, we went for the tech explanation was when I was walking with someone along a downtown area, and we realized we were seeing the exact same cars and people on a repeating loop. Then the other person said “D*mn, the CGI is broken, let’s go home.” And we did.
More parallel universe are the times when things shift then shift back.
Like when I — admittedly with a fever and therefore not fully processing — suddenly found my office in the tower of a seaside Victorian we’d considered buying ten years before. Or like when I heard my family downstairs, including my voice. (I didn’t go down. Eventually it went back to normal.)
But other people experience this stuff too, like opening the door to a known place and it’s different. And then you close and open again, and it’s what you expected.
A lot of this got recorded in our myths of course. And maybe it happens mostly to a peculiar type of person, so it’s easy to classify as “so and so is just fanciful.”
But actually at least myself and some of the people I know who have this stuff happen to them, are not fanciful at all. we tend to try to be rock-hard evidence-and-reality-atuned, precisely because we’re aware of the slipperiness of the whole thing.
Maybe it’s a certain type of brain. Almost everyone who experiences these things are what I call “Gateways.” I.e. creatives who get the product — art or music or writing — whole in their heads and just have to “tune” to it and reproduce it. It’s hard to explain. I can tell when I’m getting static in a novel, and trying to fix it.
Sure, I can write novels whole cloth (A lot of the historical ones, some contemporary ones) but sometimes I think I’m doing that and am stopped with a “No, that’s not what happened. Tune better” only it’s a feeling, not words.
And some of the d*mn things — AFGM! — are dictated. At speed. Very loud and clear, and I can barely keep up.
Perhaps they are transmissions from other places/times/possibilities. Perhaps I have a defective brain not fully in contact with the rail of “reality here.”
Now, does it make any difference? I don’t know. Probably not. I mean we all live our lives forward and in the reality we’re in. I’m grateful and annoyed (Yes, both can happen at once) by my gift to get “dictation” from elsewhen and elsewhere, but really, it wouldn’t make a difference to the world at large if I didn’t.
I mean, other than my potentially ending up with an extra son (And when is he going to get married and give me grandkids? Yes, I’ve nagged in the dream-phone calls even when I’m aware it’s a dream.) And that would probably also make no difference to the world at large. (Well, he’s moving to TX so that might make a difference to some Huns out there. In that world. Not ours.)
Yeah, sometimes unreality seems to break through in a mass way.
My grandmother witnessed “the miracle of the sun” from Fatima. It echoed that far away. No, I still don’t understand what it WAS. And I’ve talked to a number of people who’d seen it, and read a lot of books (some of which led to Deep Pink.) “The sun danced in the sky” doesn’t make a lot of sense. And we know it didn’t happen literally. I mean, it couldn’t.
And I’ve got friends who’ve seen ghosts, or UFOs or whatever. They don’t talk about it much, and the core of it might be incomprehensible. (I haven’t seen ghosts. Well, not precisely. Visits by the honored dead are not ghosts.)
And there have been recorded “mass” experiences of the sort. They can’t all be hallucinations. They simply can’t. But the explanations we come up with make no sense, outside religion, whether it be Catholicism or New Age Woo Woo. And some of these things are clearly NOT religious in any way.
(Someday I’ll tell you about the lady in green, riding an impossibly green car, who knocked at my door, wanted to know if I was nursing, and wanted to see the baby. Oh, and had teeth like a rat’s. If you’re thinking “What the fairies needed a nursemaid?” that’s what I thought too. But it probably isn’t that, or not precisely. Good thing saying “No. You may not come in.” works, right?)
So what gives? I don’t know. Maybe we’re all a holographic projection from beyond the stars (stooooop. Just stop.) Or whatever.
It only makes a difference for two reasons:
What if it cracks? What if suddenly reality cracks for everyone? Because this last year that has started to become scarily plausible.
What if this is an effect/force/event out there we don’t even know exists, and we can figure it out and crack interstellar travel? Okay, I’m hopeful, but you know….
Oh, and a third reason: I’m profoundly aware I’m not in control and things are not necessarily what they seem. So, I try to stick with science fiction, versus fantasy, and keep my mind on the real side of the street.
Because there be dragons on the other side.