Essay on The Multiverse

Essay on The Multiverse

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Survivors of Oceanic Flight 815 from the popular television show Lost are thrown by a hydrogen bomb explosion into a multiverse where history has been altered to make it seem as if they never crashed on the island. Travelers stepping on the “Einstein-Rosen-Podolsky Bridge,” in all five seasons of the television show Sliders, enter through a vortex, or wormhole, and into a multiverse. Crewmembers of the Federation Starship Enterprise from Star Trek, in an episode entitled “Mirror, Mirror," are swapped with their evil counterparts due to a transporter mishap, and as a result, also enter a multiverse. These three instances illustrate how the multiverse has now become commonplace in science fiction allowing us to consider what is beyond observable reality. The multiverse is used not only in television shows, but also in films like The Wizard of Oz, Back to the Future, and Donnie Darko. It’s employed beyond the screen while remaining integral to science fiction literature that can range from The Epic of Gilgamesh, Brazen Head (1955), and even in DC and Marvel Comics. More than a widespread cultural phenomenon, the multiverse stretches “the fabric of reality” (Deutsch, 1997) through scientific discourses of and about observable reality.
Philosopher and psychologist William James, it is often claimed, first defined the science (fiction) multiverse in 1895 when he said, “Visible nature is all plasticity and indifference, a multiverse, as one might call it, and not a universe” (10). My presentation makes two contributions to his claim, and, for that matter, all later uses of the multiverse in science and science fiction by contending that the multiverse is a much older Sophistic device. I call this the “rhetorical metaverse,” claiming tha...


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...ribe observable reality where science fiction merely describes different realities, but I argue that both are in fact rhetorical metaverses since neither can completely nor accurately describe our observable universe. As a result, the numerous artistic representations creating rhetorical metaverses (i.e. alternative realities, or parallel universes) reciprocally interact with scientific theories. While the multiverse may be traced back to Ancient Greece, or even further back beyond the 5th century, new technologies merely dress this “old trick” in new (predominantly visual) rhetorics that create cinematic representations, like Avatar, or that more generally create embodied psychosocial experiences. I close by claiming that the tension between science and science fiction can be framed in this way in order to address how we separate the multiverse from the universe.

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Essay on The Multiverse

- Survivors of Oceanic Flight 815 from the popular television show Lost are thrown by a hydrogen bomb explosion into a multiverse where history has been altered to make it seem as if they never crashed on the island. Travelers stepping on the “Einstein-Rosen-Podolsky Bridge,” in all five seasons of the television show Sliders, enter through a vortex, or wormhole, and into a multiverse. Crewmembers of the Federation Starship Enterprise from Star Trek, in an episode entitled “Mirror, Mirror," are swapped with their evil counterparts due to a transporter mishap, and as a result, also enter a multiverse....   [tags: Science Fiction, Lost]

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