The Impossibility of Human Existence

What if, every single time a choice is made, the universe splits into infinite probabilistic outcomes, allowing each choice to happen, but our consciousness resides in only one of these realities? Considering this theory means that an infinite amount of universes exist. This infinite is so large: purely beyond any level of our comprehension. This interpretation, classified as the many-worlds interpretation of quantum mechanics, assumes that each reality operates under the same laws of physics. It also presents the possibility that all of our actions are merely statistical actions, and are not deliberated by our consciousness and are not a result of free will. This is the theory I was taught, but was never satisfied with. I have always assumed there was only one such parallel universe, but as I delved into more research I found a model that makes our laws of physics purely subjective, makes us realize the almost impossibility of our existences, and reveals how little we really know about our world.

The divergence of a new universe

Our life on this planet is positioned upon stacks and stacks of seemingly pure coincidences. For example, it is by pure chance that the magnitude of the charge of an electron is the same as that of a proton, and it by pure chance that they have the masses that they do. It is by pure chance that the distance of earth from its parent star is what it is: if it were any different, there would be no liquid water on earth. These numbers that govern our existence, precise to many decimal points, seem to appear out of nowhere. Is this a sign that God exists? This is what many believed during the pre-Darwin era: that everything was created by design. For example, in 1802, Reverend William Paley analogized that everything in existence is like a watch: when you buy a watch, it is evident that the watch did not appear out of nowhere, but that it was made by someone you presently do not see. Same was the thinking behind anything else in existence. But, as science and time advanced, less theological approaches were presented to what is now known as the “fine-tuning problem.”

How is it possible that the conditions were just so perfect, so void of mistakes, so fine-tuned, that allowed us to be alive? How did all this just appear? Well, if you take into account the billions of other planets in this universe, the problem can be solved if we just say that Earth won the existence lottery. But this presents a problem. This inter-universal interpretation assumes that there can ever only be one set of laws of physics. But aren’t these laws also a mere coincidence? Current physics suggests that only one set of such laws govern our cosmos. What if there are multiple universes, different only by the laws that govern them? This interpretation, called the anthropic selection effect, suggests our universe was a result of the fine-tuning of many other universes. In other words, billions of universes exists with different physics, making the physics which makes Earth possible more probable than coincidental. Earth, therefore, is a probability within a probability. 

Multiple Universes

Currently, there is no evidence to either prove or disprove the interpretation of anthropic selection. The existence of the positron was theorized by mathematics long before it was discovered. So, who knows what can happen. The problem with physics is that it adheres too closely to established physical constants (ie gravitational constant, Planck’s constant) and works only through predictability. To prove this theory of multiple universes, physicists must examine the physics of other universes: a plunge into the unknown I doubt they would be willing to take. Additionally, there could also exist an undiscovered constant or formula that could determine that the creation of earth was, in fact, a very likely occurrence. So, for now, the reason why our existences are so fine-tuned evades us. This also reveals how little we know about physics, and the amazing this is, we will never know if we discovered it all. Therefore, there is always going to be a question left unanswered, and there will always be the possibility of something so great and incredible just a few equations away.

Personally, my feelings toward this interpretation are ambivalent. It seems like a quick fix to a very big question, and I believe that there is a better explanation to it. But what appeals to me about it is that it forces us to consider our lives in the unknown and the potential possibility that our laws of physics lack the dominance and quantization that would like to believe it has. Sometimes a reminder like this is what we need as a shot to our egos.


Sources I used for the technical facts: an article called The Multiverse Conundrum, the wikipedia page on Multiverses (used sparingly), and a PBS article on the the universality of physics.

So, what do you think about parallel universes?

Disclaimer: Although I did my research from credible sources, I am not a scientist and I know fairly little about this area of study, so please take it all with a grain of salt.

28 thoughts on “The Impossibility of Human Existence

  1. I find the multiverse theory most fascinating. There are some clever approaches in literature, especially a recent one comes to mind: “The Long Earth” by T.Pratchett and S.Baxter. Although their approach was still very limited by human perception (there was a multitude of Earths, like pearls on a string and you could “step” through them) it made a great read. What implications would the existence of more than one habitable planet cause? Would humans destroy Earth even further?

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    1. Seems like a very interesting book. Although there are many approaches to parallel universes, I think this version devalues our existence and the need to protect this planet, like you said. If infinite such world exist, and one can easily step from one world to another, I think it will just cause utter chaos. I’ve never read to book, but I’m very interested to see what happens. I’m my opinion, if multiverse do exist, they are best left non- manipulated and untouched by humans.

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  2. It’s always delightful to find a kindred soul. I enjoyed this read a great deal. I am a reformed scientist that at one time worked for an agency that had oversite of 65% of all of America’s science and technology. From my lofty perch, I had only delved into the delicious dessert of pure science and engineering and wondered why we struggled to advance our understanding and it wasn’t long before I found out that the truth of the universes was witheld by the simple fact of our human faults like ego, greed, cliques within groups within teams all conspiring against the advancement of each other. The truth exist tegardless of our ability to understand it or to bring it forth into the general public to accept or through their own insular subjective minds to reject regardless of any facts. But for those of us who can open our minds to the intrinsic nature of the universe, we can at least dream of what it all means and what is our place in it all, now that we exist.

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    1. Thank you so much for your very thoughtful comment. Someone one told me that power and powerlessness comes hand in hand: the more of one you gain, the more you gain of the other as well. As we gain more and more power over the science of our existence, we realize how insignificant we really are and how little we really know. It seems as if you time at the agency really taught you some very important lessons about humanity. And, despite the seemingly unsatisfying answers, I believe it is extremely important to know these lessons. The more and more I learn about topics such as this the more I become disillusioned with the human race, until I remember that I am a part of it as well. We are all part of the problem, and we can all be part of the solution. For now, I find solace in the fact that the answer in somewhere out there. Maybe it will never be found, maybe it will. I still don’t know if I even want to know the reason for my existence, but I do know that there is a reason for everything.

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      1. Beautiful comment Kat. I like that we are made of the exact same elements of the universe. To think we can do what we do and think what we think and all we are is a random combination of a few elements mixed in infinite ways. We could be a horseshoe with an impactful feel of the ground or a dragonfly simply gorgeous doing what we are predetermined to do. We could be an infinite number of things sentient or not. What I did discover is that we are intrinsically tied to the ebb and flow of universal energies and nature. Our departure from that connection and balance of all opposing things has left us holistically ill and disconnected when our natural state is to seek connection. Still, individually we are capable of the most astounding feats and it all starts in an open and inquisitive mind. The best scientists are also philosophers and artists. Stay on your journey is what I would say. There are many paths and they all lead somewhere even if we have no idea where it goes or what we’ll encounter. Find your Dragon and fly. The rest will come as you go by.

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      2. Yes! I always been amazed by how much humanity has progressed. What had once been a collections of atoms turned into this giant procession. I don’t even really know what to call it. But I rather like how you said that we are all just a random combination of a few elements mixed in infinite ways. Based on that interpretation, it is impossible to not be amazed by how advanced we, cluster of elements, have become. Just think about the technology, the social conventions, the laws, the rules, our complicated feelings, our complicated ways of life. How all of it is almost perfectly programed, fine-tuned if you will, and we just complacently go along with it all. I think about that a lot, especially when I’m someplace complicated, like a large city. Thats why, like you said, it’s important to remember where we came from and the simpleness that connects us to the larger universe. By forgetting, we start to think of ourselves as gods, and that is never a good thing. I will for sure go down this path of intrigue, who knows where it will take me: Maybe I will be able to find my Dragon.

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      3. I have no doubts you will find your Dragon. They appear only to those who look and believe. I found in my many wanderings about the planet that the ancient Chinese philosophy of the IChing or Yin and Yang best helped me understand the balance of all the random chaos as it marches toward a well ordered thing. I added a bit of my own vision of things to that ancient understanding and came to believe we are best when we are slightly off-center. That is where the greatest impetus of discovery, experience, and wisdom lies. Not in the perfect balance of all things but in the force within us to push us toward those uncountable pathways of the unknown. we are the collective knowledge of all generations of life and today, we are contributing to the knowledge of those children who are not yet born. What they will learn with ease are the things that captivated our minds to search a lifetime for answers. Never stop asking why, Kat. It is not the answers we should dwell on but the synapse and dendrites of those answers and the neurons that lead us further.

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      4. Thank so much for such inspiring and thoughtful words. I agree with you that the best discoveries happen when we are slightly off-center: when we might be scared or confused. After all, all things are inclined toward a state or disorder (i think it’s called entropy) I know I will not even learn or discover a sliver of the knowledge in the universe and I might be confused forever, but I will give it my best go.

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  3. Yeah the above commenter mentioned The Long Earth by Terry Pratchett and Baxter. It’s actually a series that goes beyond multiverses. It also explores evolution and life in space. Anyway I enjoyed this post. For me personally, I have a slightly alternate take of Leibniz’s ‘best of all possible worlds that God chose’ theory. I believe in God even though my faith is very complicated and is perhaps non-existent at times. I think however that if God is omnipresent, omniscient and omnipotent, he chose this world for the next New Heaven and Earth where he’ll display both his grace and Justice. It’s an offshoot of Arthur W.Pink’s theory and I think other Reformed Theologians like Jonathan Edwards also believed in it. This is just my personal opinion though. A friend of mine countered this by saying that we limit the scope of an infinite God when we narrow it down like this and multiple universes exist. That got me thinking. I hope I didn’t sound preachy. It’s just my perspective. Thank you for sharing this post.

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    1. Thank you so much for your very thoughtful comment. While I was writing this post, I found a lot of information about God and his desire to create the most perfect universe, which may or may not be this one. And, as I was researching more about the “coincidences” that seem to make our lives possible, I couldn’t help but wonder whether or not God was really behind this. And, yes, I found that many do support this interpretation. So, no, you do not sound preachy at all. The reason I did not include this information, is because the post would got a bit too long. Maybe I should next time, as a way of presenting more than one perspective.

      Also, just out of pure curiosity, what is your religion? (You don’t have to tell me if you don’t want to) I have always been conflicted about the existence of God. I’m not entirely sure yet. I would not call myself religious nor an atheist. I guess I am somewhere in between.

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      1. You’re welcome. Your post was far more thoughtful than my comment. I come from a Calvinistic background and have had intense religious experiences both beautiful when I experienced the love of God and bad which led me to wander from the faith and abandon it. There’s something Jonathan Edwards called religious affection and there are these beautiful feelings (yes feelings even though the world doesn’t like that world) that you experience when you know that Christ died in your place. Love, joy and peace are a few. But I fell away because of reasons I’ll never understand. My intense struggles with OCD and Bipolar Disorder also wrecked havoc. It’s sad that Churches don’t recognise mental illness and blame all despair on sin. We live in an imperfect world and if there’s cancer in the world, there’s mental illness too. Today I believe but have no real, substantial faith. So, I guess I just wait and write. A lot of my poetry and prose is such a far cry from anything Christian and I’m often left feeling guilty, but if I didn’t write I won’t be able to cope. I’ve also explored other philosophy like Aurelian Stoicism and Buddhist mindfulness. They both helped me, but I never embraced them fully like I once embraced Christ. Having said all this, I’ve left things like judgement or redemption in God’s hand. You could write another post with God in mind. I’m new to your blog and I’m looking forward to reading more of our work. Thank you for taking the time to comment. I’m no longer a Calvinist because I’m not sure about the doctrine of double predestination and I believe that Catholicism before Constantine also holds more truth than Protestants dismiss.

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      2. I know fairly little about religion in general, but I get the point you’re making. In my opinion, and I don’t know if you would agree with it, many religions view the world with the expectation that people won’t sin, but in reality, many people do. I guess this is why many people don’t find solace in religion anymore: normal people, who think they’ve done nothing wrong, don’t want to be viewed as sinners. Also, the fact that organized religion views humans only as children of God and not as individual people might also add to the general disillusionment. Some of what I said about religion might be beneficial in some ways, you might see it, but I’m struggling to do so. Also in my opinion, I never thought that the type of religion really mattered, it was more whether one believed in God or not. So, I don’t think you need to find to religion to align with, just focus on your personal relationship with God. But of course, I know very little about this, so I might be wrong. Thank you so much for sharing your views on religion, they are very interesting.

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  4. The Multiverse model is Marvel Comics and DC’s best friend. It’s how they always explain a reboot.

    People like Dawkins are so busy arguing that the watchmaker is blind that they fail to see that the universe isn’t a watch. Humans perceive time linearly, stars just dance to the beat. I have no idea what I’m saying, but I’m going to post this anyway. Maybe you can make sense of it… Heisenberg keeps popping in and out of mind for some reason I can’t explain.

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    1. Wow! Can I say that you have a rather bizarre but interesting train of thought? Lets see how I can interpret it.

      I guess whether or not you believe in evolution, I think what Darwin, and Dawkins I guess, seem to say is that something just does not appear out of nowhere, which implies that the universe also did not appear out of nowhere. And I agree that neither the universe, nor time, works like a clock. But like a clock, the universe had to come from somewhere. I like how you said that stars dance to the beat, I see it as humans trying to control something that they cannot control. Lastly, Heisenberg is most famously associated with his uncertainty principle, which states that you cannot know a certain two aspects of an object, for example momentum and position. I think it also shows how little we do, and can, know, also adding to the unknown factor of our existences. I was actually thinking of doing a post about this soon.

      Anyway, thank you for reading and for your comment. I think I understood where most of your thoughts came from.

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      1. 🙂 Bizarre about sums me up.

        Do people really still not believe in evolution?

        I guess what I was trying to get at was already expressed in your last paragraph. I don’t know why I missed it the first time round. There’s a lot of stuff we don’t know yet, and there always will be. Once, the sun orbited the earth, then the earth orbited the sun, and now the earth orbits the Barry Point. That’s an evolution of understanding right there. Science was never dogmatic, always flexible and condusive to evolving thought as long as it was backed up by enough empirical evidence, but now… Lately there’s been a lot of weird politics at work in the grants of research projects in universities, Or so I hear. Which was why I found the end of your article so refreshing.

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      2. Surprisingly, some people don’t believe in evolution. (Or at least claim they don’t- a few years ago when I was in a biology class, I said I didn’t believe in evolution because I thought I was cool to go against what was taught to us) But you know how it is these days, I couldn’t assume that you believed in it.

        I’m so glad that you understood my point. Even though we lived in unknown, we are always tying to evolve our science based on new discoveries.

        I also heard something about taking away grants from universities but I don’t think it has happened yet, hopefully it does not. And, frankly, I don’t think it will. Science is what drives our world, how can anyone ever allow someone to take it away from us?

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      3. There’s something very deep beneath the surface in everything written here… About human civilization, time, society, identity politics, the universe, temporal hegemonies, and dare I say it…God. My mind can’t grasp it at the moment, but thank you for giving us all so much to think about.

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      4. Trust me, that’s exactly how I feel right now too: about my post and our conversation. There’s just so much that we, as humans, don’t understand, that wrapping our minds around the unknown can be very very difficult, almost impossible, but I believe in you.

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  5. Physics outside the box! How interesting. Sort of like an ant trying to theorize that there might be ants living in Australia! Although we have learned a lot about our world and universe, we really know very little. To me believing that we all evolved out of the ocean takes as much or more faith than to believe that there is a God who is over and above all things. Great post!

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    1. Thank you so much for reading!
      I really like your analogy about ants, it really puts my argument into perspective. Personally, I do think that we evolved out of the ocean, whether parallel universes really exist or not. But really how can we know for sure, when, like you said, we know so little. As for God, I really don’t know how to feel about Him, which is why I didn’t write a lot about it in my post. Really, I still have a lot more thinking to do.

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  6. Miss Kat. I really like your presentation about a possibility of an alternate world. I would like to share this quote from Plato with you “The first and greatest victory is to conquer yourself; to be conquered by yourself is of all things most shameful and vile.” What this quote means to me is that, we as Humans are always striving to be the very best in everything. Wither it is sports, trying to find new cures for cancers and diseases or maybe a train that can travel across the US in 20 min, etc. Yet, we have not been “good stewards” of our current planet. Frankly, mainly to each other. I believe, we all have special gifts and talents. We all have our assigned tasks to accomplish. You can call it a “dream”, a “goal” or a “divine task”. We as humans are always looking for a better place, a better tomorrow or wishing that another planet existed for us. Let just say we found another “earth” and it didn’t have the pollution or the damage that we have done to our environment as we have our planet. How would we know that we wouldn’t ruin it just like we did this one? We are creatures of habit, and as such, we are prone to repeat our mistakes. With all our advancement in technology and science, many areas in our planet are not up to speed like most modern countries. I care about everyone on this earth, because we are all one race. If we all worked together, started cleaning up and taking care of the planet one country at a time, then and only then would this be a much better place to live in. I believe in a God. I do believe there are many secrets to the universe that over time, little by little, we as a human race will know about. But first let us learn to master ourselves and use that knowledge to help each other, then as a possibility, all of us can make that leap forward together to the far reaches of space. No one person can have infinite knowledge. I believe God gives each person’s skills to help each other. A city wasn’t born by one person, it took everyone, coming together to form that city, that nation, that country. I couldn’t see myself as a “steward” in a New Earth, if I failed to even help one person on this one to reach a must higher path. Thank you for your time and hope you continue your personal search in this life.

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    1. Thank you so much for your very thoughtful comment. I think you bring up a very great question: should we focus on what we already have vs. should we strive to uncover the knowledge and secrets of the universe that we do not yet have. Considering that state of this planet, it is very intuitive that we all must do our very best to help others and help the advancement of humanity as a whole. I don’t know if I believe in God, but I do not think that that should be the only reason to compel us to act in humanitarian ways. As corrupt as we are, I do think there is good within all of us, and only we can be the ones to bring it out. But other very human traits are wonder and curiosity. These are the traits that propelled humanity to reach the impressive heights it has now. It is a large driving factor, and now it has caused us to flirt with mysteries seemingly beyond the realms of this universe. Humans will always strive to find the answers to the unknown, (even though we may never find all the answers) thats just who we are. Without curiosity and wonder, we wouldn’t have any of the technology that makes our lives so much easier and that we now take for granted, we would be oblivious to the science that governs our everyday lives, we would know nothing about the solar system or the moon. Therefore, although I do agree that it is very imperative to help us bring the earth we live on now to the best state we could, we must not kill the very spark that brought us to such great heights in the first place. I just do not think that they are mutually exclusive of each other. Yes, maybe the large amounts of money that NASA spends could go to helping those in need, but in that is just one bad example in the millions of good ones regarding the products of human curiosity. The same curiosity that leads us to wonder about parallel universes is the same one that could potentially make life on this planet much better for everyone. Those are my thoughts. Thank you, again, for sharing your perspective with me, I appreciate it a lot.

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      1. You truly are impressive! I agree with you on the point of wither having a belief in a being or not, shouldn’t stop us from helping each other. I believe we can have a balance of fixing this planet and trying to find new ones. One day, we may have a real life Star Trek and go to infinity and beyond. Trust me, if we can come together and help our planet, I don’t see any reason for scientists not to work together and see what’s beyond our solar system. Gosh how beauty is the wonder of the human mind and it’s ability to explore new ideas. You made my day. Cheers!

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