Here I am watching a documentary on parallel universes. Who doesn’t like like parallel universes? They are endless fun. Parallel universes have been the mainstays of science fiction, science fantasy, super hero, and every other type of fiction for fifty years now. There is the Star Trek evil universe where everyone has beards, the TV show Sliders, and the comic book “The Authority” with it’s “bleed ships” just to name a few.

What I find interesting is that when people think about and describe parallel universes they always go for drama. That seems to define parallel universes to us. This very documentary I have on mentioned Napoleon winning at Waterloo, Al Gore winning the 2000 election, Elvis being alive, and you (the viewer) never being born. I understand this need for drama because when telling a story, as all these books and movies are doing, drama is an important ingredient. Even in this documentary they are telling a story so they want some drama to illustrate their point. Drama keeps things interesting. That or comedy. There is usually plenty of comedy to be found in parallel universes.

It does strike me as mistaken that parallel universes are always described as dramatic. I have just the opposite idea. I think if there are such things as parallel universes and we could travel to them we’d be hard pressed to find one different than our own. I bet if we could travel to parallel universes we might not even be able to spot a difference.

In fiction and documentaries it always some dramatic event such as a war that makes a parallel universe. “Why?” I ask. Drama is no mechanism for creating parallel universes. That’s the thing about science, it’s all about finding mechanisms for how things work. The universe doesn’t care about human drama so why would it use it as a mechanism to create parallel universes? It doesn’t make sense to me.

Being that I’m not a scientist I don’t know what the mechanism for creating parallel universes is but my best guess would be something we call “free will”. I’ll illustrate that with an example. I used to work in Manhattan on Twenty Eighth Street and Park Avenue South. I’d come into the city through Port Authority Bus terminal on Fortieth Street and Eighth Avenue. I had no regular path between the two points. It took me about twenty to twenty five minutes to make the walk and I’d just follow the lights and cross streets and avenues when the opportunity arose.

According to my idea about parallel universes at each corner where I had a decision to make about whether to cross the street or not there needs to be parallel universes where in one I chose to cross and in the other I did not. This decision over which way to walk would probably have zero effect on the rest of my life. So now we have two parallel universes which are exactly the same except for the way I walked to work on a single day. Multiply that by every day and every person and you have a near infinite number of parallel universes. A near infinite number of them exactly the same.

So I say that anytime an act of free will happens where anyone has a choice to make has to be accounted for by a parallel universe. We make a lot of tiny insignificant choices that have to be accounted for. Each parallel universe created by these mundane choices must be maddeningly similar to the ones next to it. If you could travel to a parallel universe you’d have a hard time finding a difference with this one. The odds of blindly traveling to a dramatically different parallel universe are probably pretty small. There would be a sameness to the infinity of it all.

So there you go. Maybe our consciousness wakes up in a different parallel universe every morning and we can’t even tell. Except that our keys aren’t where we left them last night. That is unless you have a key rack. Maybe I’ll put my keys on a random key rack peg every night and see if it’s still on the same one in the morning. There’s a project for ya!