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Whaat? MindF*ck: Parallel Universes

For the Ghouls Whaaaaat?? Mind F*ck series, the Ghouls are discussing parallel universes - what are they? Kat also explains bubble, daughter, and other universes! Gabe discusses the amazing filmmaking behind the film Coherence and finds meaning in the film, Mr. Nobody because every path is the right path!


RED: Quotes, someone else's words.

Kat's Facts - Parallel Universes and Other Phenomena

Hi friends, how are we tonight? I’m 100% Kat the Kat you’ve known and loved for 106 episodes. I’m here to talk to you about parallel universes, Do they exist? I would like to thank Physicist Brian Greene, who very neatly answered this question for me on an NPR special via fresh air, titled “A Physicist explains why parallel universes may exist”

He says it in a way that 9 hours workday Kat could understand after her brain was radiated into mush. He says “Our universe might be really, really big — but finite. Or it might be infinitely big. Both cases are possibilities, but if the latter is true, so is another posit: There are only so many ways matter can arrange itself within that infinite universe. Eventually, matter has to repeat itself and arrange itself in similar ways. So if the universe is infinitely large, it is also home to infinite parallel universes.”

So if the universe is infinite, there would be universes with versions of ourselves having varying differences that could either minimally or largely impact us. This reality is obviously more interesting. The current theory around this states that we would never interact, and that our universes will not touch each other, instead just existing parallel to each other. Green explains this using a deck of cards as an example, stating that if the Universe is a deck of cards, and matter can only be arranged in a certain amount of ways, there would have to be versions that repeat, and versions with varying differences.

So there are a handful of theories around the different variations of universes. talks about them

2. Bubble universes. Another theory for multiple universes comes from "eternal inflation." Based on research from Tufts University cosmologist Alexander Vilenkin, when looking at space-time as a whole, some areas of space stop inflating like the Big Bang inflated our own universe. Others, however, will keep getting larger. So if we picture our own universe as a bubble, it is sitting in a network of bubble universes of space. What's interesting about this theory is the other universes could have very different laws of physics than our own, since they are not linked.

3. Daughter universes. Or perhaps multiple universes can follow the theory of quantum mechanics (how subatomic particles behave), as part of the "daughter universe" theory. If you follow the laws of probability, it suggests that for every outcome that could come from one of your decisions, there would be a range of universes — each of which saw one outcome come to be. So in one universe, you took that job to China. In another, perhaps you were on your way and your plane landed somewhere different, and you decided to stay. And so on.

4. Mathematical universes. Another possible avenue is exploring mathematical universes, which, simply put, explain that the structure of mathematics may change depending in which universe you reside. "A mathematical structure is something that you can describe in a way that's completely independent of human baggage," said theory-proposer Max Tegmark of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, as quoted in the 2012 article. "I really believe that there is this universe out there that can exist independently of me that would continue to exist even if there were no humans."

5. Parallel universes. And last but not least as the idea of parallel universes. Going back to the idea that space-time is flat, the number of possible particle configurations in multiple universes would be limited to 10^10^122 distinct possibilities, to be exact. So, with an infinite number of cosmic patches, the particle arrangements within them must repeat — infinitely many times over. This means there are infinitely many "parallel universes": cosmic patches exactly the same as ours (containing someone exactly like you), as well as patches that differ by just one particle's position, patches that differ by two particles' positions, and so on down to patches that are totally different from ours.


Schrödinger’s cat experiment is what we call a thought experiment. In other words, we don’t actually conduct the experiment, we use only our imagination and reasoning instead. In fact, as we will later learn, it is truly impossible to physically conduct Schrödinger’s cat experiment, even if we wanted to.

During the 1920s and 1930s, a new scientific revolution was occurring. Now, science realized that an entirely new realm existed on the smallest possible levels, quantum. Perhaps, among the greatest of quantum physics’ forefathers, Austrian physicist, Erwin Schrödinger.

First, a cat is placed inside a sealed box for one hour. Also, inside the box are a container of radioactive material, Geiger Counter (simple machine that detects radioactive particles), hammer and container of deadly cyanide. Using the correct radioactive material allows a precisely 50/50 chance that within one hour, a single radioactive particle will be emitted. Basically, nothing about matter is certain until we observe it. In fact, this thought process is known as the Copenhagen Interpretation of quantum physics. In other words, simply looking at matter actually changes the outcome of what happens to it!

  • After one hour in the experimental box, Schrödinger’s cat stands a 50% chance of being dead, and 50% chance of being alive

  • But, while the cat is in the box, it is both dead AND alive simultaneously (Copenhagen Interpretation)

  • Schrödinger’s cat experiment was hypothetically used to show Schrödinger’s disagreed with the Copenhagen Interpretation for larger objects, like a cat!



Gabe's Film Analysis - Coherence, Mr. Nobody and the Illusion of Choice

Coherence is one of my favorite movies. I don’t love sci fi movies or the classic action-y ones. But I am a sucker for time travel and trippy stuff. So Coherence checked a bunch of boxes for me. Actually, when I watched it the first time, I ended up watching it again that same day because I was so pumped about how it was made and all the little easter eggs that I had to watch again! It was nice to share it with friends and watch their reactions!

The Making of -

  • "Each day, instead of getting a script, the actors would get a page of notes for their individual character, whether it was a backstory or information about their motivations. They would come prepared for their character only. They had no idea what the other characters received, so each night there were completely real reactions, and surprises and responses. This was all in the pursuit of naturalistic performances. The goal was to get them listening to each other, and engaged in the mystery of it all.”

  • "When Kevin (Maury Sterling) tries to leave the house by himself, Em (Emily Baldoni) was given a note to not let him leave and his note was to leave."

  • "According to Emily Baldoni, after the first mysterious thumping on the "door to nowhere", the actors were both scared and very excited about the story that was unfolding. "Of course we knew we were in good hands, but this is when things got really exciting, because we could see how genius and well-planned everything was. We just didn't have any clue."

  • It was shot chronologically.

  • The actor who plays Amir, Alex Manugian, is also the co-writer. He was essentially "the mole" who helped guide scenes if the actors went astray.

  • The set only had 5 crew members: 2 sound guys, the director of photography, the director, and producer Lene Bausager.

  • There were only two cameras used throughout the filming of the movie except during the dinner scene which had one additional camera.

  • The director, James Ward Byrkit, said the hardest part of directing was keeping everyone quiet since there were so many people who were compelled to speak a lot.

  • The night Em (Emily Baldoni) went searching for different houses was filmed the same night the director's wife had their baby. It was a homebirth held in the same house the movie was filmed in.

  • “In fact, at one point, when two of the characters leave and come back to the house, and the other actors wouldn’t let them in. They were too freaked out. My rule was to not interfere too much if they had an organic instinct, but after 45 minutes of this intense standoff at the door I finally had to say, “Guys, you have to let them in otherwise the story’s going to stop.” They were so freaked out, and just trying to figure out the puzzle. So it naturally led to conflicts and a real heightened sense of tension. The actors would leave every night so energized. They were just on fire after five or six hours of this immersive experience. It was sort of like those murder mystery parties but this felt a lot more real, and a lot weirder.”

SPOILERS ahead. Please please go watch this film. It's simple and fun and you’ll love it.

HELPFUL REDDIT THREAD by Redditor WowBaBao explains some of the films trippy parallel universe fun.

1. Everyone that arrives at the dinner party at different times are from their OWN different dimensions. “We know this by the conversations throughout the movie. For example, Mike explains that he was an actor on the show, "Roswell" while Laurie, who says she, "loves the show" has never seen him on the show. Mike also comments about her yoga while Laurie denies it but then mentions doing yoga when she is speaking to Kevin in the hallway later on in the film.”

2. Every decision creates a new reality and is not only because they walk through the dark void. An example is when they all go outside together and then walk back into the house to find the wine glass had been broken. We are led to believe that the dark void is the the box from Schrodinger's paradox but it's actually every instant where the outcome is unknown unless acted upon. Everytime they leave the house, it becomes the box splitting up every possible reality the state of the house can be in. It's not until they go back in the house that the a reality is then chosen. The same parallel explains why the Em that is placed in the bathtub is not there in the morning. She is neither alive or dead because everyone outside does not know what happens in the bathroom. It also explains why Laurie even though never left anywhere by herself has memories doing yoga at one point in the movie but also has no recollection of it in the beginning.

3. The original Em DOES end up in the GOOD version of her life. She just does not succeed in killing the Good Em who leaves a voicemail for Good Kevin revealing the truth about OG Em.


Because Nemo Nobody did not have his knowledge taken at birth, as he explains in the film, “before you are born you know everything. And then the angels silence you, forcing you to keep the world’s secrets but they forgot him.” And so he constantly “remembers” or “predicts the future” throughout. He has the ability to see everything. Like Schrodinger's Cat, he lives in a world of indecision between going with his mother and his father and so he, like the cat, is living all of these lives! As he lives through each life, his decisions become smaller and smaller because as life goes on those infinite roads start becoming untouchable and sealed off. That’s why depressed and rich, married to Jean, Nemo is suicidal. We are following the thoughts of a very exceptional young man faced with an impossible and incredibly unfair decision.

The different colors used in the film have symbolic meanings. Each of the three main storylines has its own unique hue that highlights their originality and unlikeness to each other. Color differentiation can be traced as far back as Nemo's childhood, where three girls sit on a bench. They are his possible future wives: Jeanne, Elise, and Anna; one in yellow, the other in blue, and the third in a red dress. In his life with Elise, Nemo experiences the consequences of depression and despair, themes associated with the color blue. Choosing Jeanne, Nemo seeks material well-being and independence: yellow – the color of life and wealth – emphasizes this. The true love and passionate relationship between Nemo and Anna is symbolized by the red color of Anna's dress. It is noteworthy that the unborn Nemo is shown living in a white world. White contains all colors of the visible spectrum; this supports the allegorical message of the film that all things are possible until a choice is made.[35] By the end of his life, Nemo is a decrepit old man and lives in a white surrounding (room, clothes, doctor). This way we can see that the fate of the protagonist leads him back to the origins from where he started, the point at which everything is possible.

The quote, “Every path is the right path. Everything could have been anything else and it would have just as much meaning” sums up the movie perfectly. No one life was better, or more meaningful than the others, they were simply different.

Until one makes a choice anything is possible. This is based on the many-worlds interpretation of quantum mechanics, in which an infinite number of parallel universes exist, one in which each possible choice is made.

When he is with his dad he is a sweet Nemo. This lends itself as well to the American philosopher Thomas Nagel, who would believe this whole film is absurd because in reality what choice we make is determined by arbitrary cultural factors. Meaning, ultimately the choice between his mother and father would have already been chosen for him because we only have the illusion of choice.

In one of Nemo’s realities, he decides at age 15 how he wants his life to turn out. He tells himself that he will leave nothing to chance and not stop until his desires are met. However, once Nemo achieves his goals, he finds himself bored. He feels that he knows himself too well and that nothing is exciting anymore, as if nothing has meaning anymore. One philosopher named Thomas Nagel calls this feeling “the absurd.” The absurd is when one takes things very seriously, but in reality knowing that nothing really matters. Nemo took his life so seriously that he followed the plan he had set for himself at age 15. Once reaching age 34 though, Nemo realises that the life he has built for himself is not truly what he wants or what is important to him. Longing for excitement, Nemo begins to base his decisions on a coin toss. He brings back the factor of chance into his decisions. This action is a decision in itself. Nemo is deciding to incorporate chance in his decisions. This coin toss method ultimately results in Nemo’s death, but stands to prove the point that our choices lead to irreversible consequences.

To the American philosopher Thomas Nagel, this whole situation is absurd because in reality what choice we make is determined by arbitrary cultural factors.



Media from this week's episode:

Coherence (2013) Director: James Ward Byrkit

Strange things begin to happen when a group of friends gather for a dinner party on an evening when a comet is passing overhead.

Mr. Nobody (2009) Director: Jaco Van Dormael

A boy stands on a station platform as a train is about to leave. Should he go with his mother or stay with his father? Infinite possibilities arise from this decision. As long as he doesn't choose, anything is possible.

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