[blue rare]—Abroad in the Multiverse

So, I finally got around to watching Everything Everywhere All at Once.  While it had its moments, I have to say that I found it highly overrated.  Agreed, it is nowhere near as soul crushingly formulaic as anything from the Marvel Cinematic Universe,  but it is no masterpiece, either.  The fact that it won the Academy Award for Best Picture over such films as The Banshees of Inisherin, Triangle of Sadness, Tár, and Women Talking seems like more evidence of our continuing collective infantilism.

And, just between us, I’m getting a little overwhelmed and annoyed with all these multiverses, omniverses, alternate realities and diverging timelines, as portrayed in seemingly endless and never-ending films and television shows.  Myself, I can barely deal with one basic reality on a good day, never mind an infinity of them, and I would prefer it to be in a dimension with a few more original storytelling concepts.

Still, I do understand the current cultural obsession with the notion of multiple realities.  Who of us doesn’t want to believe that, somewhere in the space-time continuum, some other versions of ourselves are living their best lives? If our particular world is going to shit, it’s good news that there are plenty of other iterations out there.  All worlds are possible, after all.  Somewhere, for example, there is an extra dimensional version of me drinking negronis in a dive bar on the moon.  And just one or two dimensions over, in an alternate reality with ample parking, I’m presently sharing a joint with Leonard Cohen, Wonder Woman, Mata Hari, David Bowie, Shakespeare,  Holly Golightly, and Dorothy Parker at a party that looks like the Star Wars bar scene as reimagined by Baz Luhrman, taking place in in an art deco pleasure palace on the shores of a deep chartreuse sea.  Of course, I suppose this also means there is a dimension out there where pork belly tacos do not exist, and Nickelback is the only musical option.

But, really, who doesn’t want to have a lengthy vacay from the current state of reality? Even tech billionaires are desperate for an exit strategy these days.  I imagine they are existentially afraid of such things as getting turned into red mulch by their own intelligent devices, having their cyber serfs go into violent revolt, or simply the concept of human mortality.  Whatever the case, they are all apparently taking measures, hiding their digitized, eternal consciousnesses away in the gated communities of their metaverses, or rocketing themselves to secure, open plan palaces on the far side of some distant satellite graveyard.  Good riddance.

For better or worse, we ordinary mortals have to embark upon our reality hopping in more quotidian ways.  Thankfully, we can always tear through the fabric between worlds just by opening a book, buying a play or movie ticket, or dropping a needle into a groove.  Simply by plugging in our earbuds, we can slide through a wormhole and instantly find ourselves in 1970s New York or nineteenth century Vienna.  Long before string theory, particle accelerators, and the study of quantum mechanics, our greatest artistic creatives have demonstrated the shamanic gift of knowing how to shift the human soul from world to world.  If there is anything that justifies the existence of our species, perhaps it is that.

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