Alternate Universes and Fringe Science – Real v/s Unreal

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Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one. ~Albert Einstein

Did you ever wonder if the person in the puddle is real, and you’re just a reflection of him?  ~Calvin and Hobbes

There are no facts, only interpretations.  ~Friedrich Nietzsche

I believe in everything until it’s disproved. So I believe in fairies, the myths, dragons. It all exists, even if it’s in your mind. Who’s to say that dreams and nightmares aren’t as real as the here and now? ~ John Lennon

thinkingLet me begin by asking you this- Would you believe me if I told you that there is another you that exists on another timeline, an alternate universe so to speak and this “you” behaves like you, thinks quite like you do but has made different choices that has caused him to have a different life than you do now? Would you believe me if I told you that this alternate “you” makes certain choices and when you make those same choices in this timeline, it feels like you’ve done it before, or something that we humans call “Deja Vu”?

Sounds like something out of a sci-fi movie, doesn’t it? If you were asked one day to keep your mind open, so open that sci-fi movies became real in your head and the lines between sanity versus insanity and real versus unreal began to blur, would you play along or shun the idea completely because it shakes the very foundations of your little world? “What happens to the wide-eyed observer when the window between reality and unreality breaks and the glass begins to fly?” If only, we tiny, insignificant beings began to question the realities that we usually take for granted on an everyday basis, we may discover things that are so difficult to comprehend on an average day.  Questioning these simple everyday taken-for-granted realities will lead us to break down our world, our universe, our ‘selves’ and help us believe in alternate universes, alternate images of ourselves. What if one day our timelines merged and we came face to face with our doppelgangers? How would we all react? I’m sure the metaphysicists with their speculative or abstract reasoning, would not be surprised!

These questions are pretty much the premise for the T.V series ‘Fringe’. The series is based on Fringe Science which departs from mainstream or orthodox theories and is classified in the “fringes” of the general field of science. The T.V series takes everyday living and inserts a bit of a twist in the form of an absurd case that the ‘Fringe Division’ is called in to solve, followed by a lot of theorizing and then finding a solution. They question the happenings of the world around them, build theories and then find ways to change those ‘realities’. Whenever we ask why our social world is the way it is and then imagine how it might be changed, we are “theorizing” (Hooks, 1992).

According to the metaphysics (a traditional branch of philosophy) point of view, the fundamental notions of the way people understand the world, e.g., existence, objects and their properties, space and time, cause and effect, and possibility are clarified. This article seeks to shed light on the binaries Actuality and Potentiality (or Possibility). The metaphysics point of view is one of the major views on these binaries. Aristotle was one of the greatest thinkers to have contributed to this particular field of knowledge. When speaking of Potentiality, Aristotle implied that all things have a ‘possibility’ and that possibilities could turn into something ‘real’ given the right conditions. Regarding Actuality, he believed that when possibilities became real in the fullest sense, they turned into an actuality, which is a contrast to potentiality. According to some thinkers, to be actual is to exist (Weiss, 1956). To us, it may seem that everything we see, touch, hear is actual and that is what makes it real. But what about the alternate other possibilities? What happens to the “What if’s” of our decisions and actions?

We usually tend to think of just the here and now. The decisions we make, the actions we perform are all part of what we term as our ‘reality’. What if the other possibility of our actions led to the formation of new intersecting timelines? ‘Fringe’ explores this very idea and makes you question what you on a normal day would believe to be real. It puts forth the idea of our reality as being linear and every decision that we make leads to a particular outcome, an actuality. And the option that we did not pick leads to a deviation from this linear path. The different combination of choices leads to different outcomes which leads to further deviation on the respective timelines and this goes on and on. So then what do we consider real? The “other” timeline? Or our timeline? With the development of quantum physics and the curiousity of some brilliant minds, there is progress in finding answers to these questions. But mostly, we humans are so conditioned into believing that there is only one reality that what these brilliant minds may find will shatter our belief systems or maybe lead to progress on a whole new level. All we can do is leave our minds open to any possibility that it may turn into an actuality.

 

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Karinina Fernandes

About Karinina Fernandes

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