We think we die and rot into the ground, and thus must squeeze everything in before it's too late. If life -- yours, mine -- is a just a one-time deal, then we're as likely to be screwed as pampered. But experiments suggest this view of the world may be wrong.
The results of quantum physics confirm that observations can't be predicted absolutely. Instead, there's a range of possible observations each with a different probability. One mainstream explanation, the "many-worlds" interpretation, states that there are an infinite number of universes (the "multiverse"). Everything that can possibly happen occurs in some universe. The old mechanical -- "we're just a bunch of atoms" −- view of life loses its grip in these scenarios.
Biocentrism extends this idea, suggesting that life is a flowering and adventure that transcends our ordinary linear way of thinking. Although our individual bodies are destined to self-destruct, the "me'' feeling is just energy operating in the brain. But this energy doesn't go away at death. One of the surest principles of science is that energy never dies; it can neither be created nor destroyed. When we die, we do so not in the random billiard ball matrix but in the inescapable life matrix. Life has a non-linear dimensionality −- it's like a perennial flower that returns to bloom in the multiverse.
A series of landmark experiments show that measurements an observer makes can influence events that have already happened in the past. One experiment (Science 315, 966, 2007) confirmed that flipping a switch could retroactively change a result that had happened before the switch was flipped. Regardless of the choice you, the observer, make, it'll be you who will experience the outcomes −- the universes −- that will result.
The implications of this were clear with my sister "Bubbles." The earliest remembrance I have of my childhood was with her, in her play doctor's office. "You're a little unwell," she said, handing me a cup of sand. "It's medicine. Drink this and you'll feel better." This I did; and as I started to drink it, Bubbles cried out "No!" and gave a gasp as if she were swallowing it herself.
The affection that existed between Bubbles and me was a strong one, for being my older sister, she had always felt that it was her job to protect me. I can remember standing at the school bus stop with my little mittens and lunchbox, when one of the older neighborhood boys pushed me to the ground. I was still on the ground and hurt, when I saw Bubbles running up the street. "You touch my little brother ever again," she said, "and I'll punch your face in."
It's difficult to believe that I, and not she, went on to become the doctor. Although she was very bright, by 10th grade she'd dropped out of school and entered on a course of destruction with drugs. The ill done to her at home had little remission. She was beaten, ran away, and punished again. I recall her hiding under the porch, and the terror that hung about the place; I can see the tears running down her face. After moving out of the house I learned she was pregnant. When all the relatives refused to go to her wedding, I told her "It's okay!" and held her hand. The birth of "Little Bubbles" was a happy occasion, an oasis in this life in the desert. How happy she was, and when I sat down by her side, she asked me −- her little brother −- if I'd be the godfather to her child.
But all this was a short event, and stands like a wild flower along an asphalt road. Little by little her mind began to deteriorate. Although I'd seen a lot of medicine by then, it was a matter of some emotion to me to see her child taken away. The deep remembrance I have of her being utterly without hope, restrained and sedated with drugs. As I went away from the hospital that day, I mingled my memories of her with tears.
Bubbles was still a pretty woman, and was found in the park once, quite distressed, her hair hanging in her face and her clothes torn; of which she knew as little as us. A while later she was pregnant, and I can only understand that someone had taken advantage of her again. I remember her looking at me in embarrassment, holding the baby in her arms. He had a cute face, and I thought, didn't look like anyone we knew.
Soon after, my big sister −- a once proud woman −- lost even the remembrance of where she lived.
This tale of Bubbles is one that has a thousand variations, told by many families, of tragedy interspersed with joyous times. But plays of experience, even ones like that of my sister, are never random, nor the end of the story. Rather, they're interludes in a melody so vast and eternal that human ears can't appreciate the tonal range of the symphony.
"Whenever anything in nature seems to us ridiculous, absurd or evil," said Spinoza "it is because we have but a partial knowledge of things."
Life has a power that transcends any individual history or universe. The story of my sister is part of a more profound drama, one that I know holds more joyful fortunes as her life unfolds in the multiverse. As in the Science experiment, whether it's flipping a switch or making other choices, she will experience the many outcomes and resulting universes. I only hope -− if she becomes a doctor −- the medicine goes down a lot easier than it did in her play-office so long ago.
Robert Lanza, MD has published extensively in leading scientific journals, and has over two dozen books, including 'Biocentrism' (with astronomer Bob Berman), which lays out the full scientific argument for his theory of everything.