“Do you know why it’s impossible to lick the tips of your elbows? They hold the secrets to immortality, so if you lick them, there’s a chance you’d be able to live forever. But if everyone did it, if everyone could actually lick the tips of their elbows, then there’d be chaos. Because you can’t just go on living and living and living.”
Now, what if she had not introduced herself to him saying these words? What if he, after happy years together and a few beers too many, had not fallen for the charm of that other woman and had not cheated on her? What if, instead of sitting in their sloppy room in London, they could simultaneously walk under the dusty sun of Sicily? The amazing play ‘Possibilities’ I went to last week explores the parallel realities that Roland the beekeeper and Marianne the quantum mechanics scientist venture into.
Taking the uncertainty principle of quantum mechanics, what if everything that COULD happen, DOES. SIMULTANEOUSLY. What if the sole reason we don’t realize this is we’re stuck in one chain of possibilities. When you took a left, actually you went right too. Take the famous experiment “Schrödinger’s cat”.
Apart from showing us the curious fact that cats can be dead and alive at the same time (amazing animals), the experiment could make you wonder, what does the idea of simultaneous realities mean for our understanding of time? Do we really have to choose A over B or can we have both? In a parallel universe you still are in your previous job, you did decide to leave everything and went surfing in Hawaii. Does that comfort you and let you better enjoy the choices you made?
I catch myself too often being in a hurry, in a hurry to become ‘successful’, in a hurry to reach my goals. “If I quit my job at the Ministry, I better find and start having the perfect job right now”, I tell myself. “Really, I’m turning 28, it’s about time to build something, get into a relationship and get settled.” “Do I really have time to walk a thousand miles before I start a new job?” Am I too ambitious and restless? Most certainly.
But I’m in a hurry because my days are numbered! Just imagine what would happen if you’d lick your elbow and would live forever… What would be the use of doing anything? Isn’t your ineluctably approaching death THE best reason to live life to the fullest? It is a pity we often need something life-threatening to stop fooling ourselves, and change for the better.
So sure, a linear approach of time in a singular reality can keep me from enjoying the present. At the same time, it helped me to achieve and create. My challenge is to take my time. For example, right now, I don’t have to run for shelter by jumping at the first job offer that comes across. I better keep walking my tight rope between passive disorientation and blind ambition until I reach my goal.
If you’re searching for more comfort and want to know more about parallel realities, go and see the beautiful play on Roland and Marianne trying to lick the tips of their elbows!