Emily Pothast
Mar 22, 2017 · 3 min read

A Theory of Reality That Explains Why Right Now Is So Weird

Follower of Hieronymus Bosch, “Christ in Limbo”

Everything’s pretty weird right now, right? In this reality, Donald Trump is the President of the United States, and the FBI is investigating the extent to which Russia tampered with the election. People in Florida are eating each other’s faces, while well-dressed monkeys roam our IKEAs. Oh, and remember George W. Bush? The guy who started all those wars? In this reality, he’s considered a sensitive artist. Hardly a day goes by without something—or someone—popping up in the news that might as well be a creature from a Hieronymus Bosch painting.

I have a theory that explains why everything is so weird right now, but I’m warning you, it’s a little weird. (And to answer your next question, the weed I’m smoking is a hybrid called “Golden Ticket.” I bought it at the store down the street, because there are legal weed stores in this universe.)

  1. Assume Parallel Universes Exist

“There actually is quite a bit of evidence out there for a multiverse,” explains Space.com contributor Elizabeth Howell (and what website could have a more trustworthy name than “Space.com”?)

Multiverse theory holds that there are potentially infinite universes adjacent to our own, where the choices we could have made instead of the ones we’ve made in this reality play out in alternate realities.

If you are experiencing a reality, it is, by definition, a reality you’re alive in. If you die in a reality, that reality ceases to be a possibility for you to experience.

(With me so far?)

2. Consider the Implications of The Bomb

In this weird-ass reality, humans have had the technology to bomb ourselves back to the Stone Age for the better part of a century. At this point, nine different countries have developed weapons capable of wiping whole continents off the face of the earth. The result of nuclear proliferation has been the precarious stalemate since the end of World War II known as “Mutually Assured Destruction.”

In our reality, no one has bombed us back to the Stone Age, of course, but remember, if you are experiencing a reality, it is by definition, a reality you’re alive in. The longer we have The Bomb, the greater the likelihood that The Bomb has been deployed in any given universe.

In other words, as human capabilities for mass destruction increase, the number of parallel realities in which you and I are dead increases at a rate which is also increasing.

(Still with me? I’ll wait here if you need to reload your bong.)

3. Here’s Where It Gets Weird

If postulates 1 and 2 are true, then we might reasonably expect for the overall quality and “vibe” of the remaining realities to become increasingly strange and bizarre as the realities in which we are still alive increasingly become outliers in the Big Scheme of Things (where mass destruction is increasingly the norm).

To summarize, The Weirdest Possible Universe is the idea that the reason for the high degree of weirdness we are currently perceiving in the world is that the likelihood that we are all dead right now in any given universe is increasing at an accelerating rate, and the only universes in which we are still alive are the most anomalous ones, which are getting weirder and more extreme by the moment.

The so-called End Times have long been depicted as a site of apocalyptic weirdness. The Killing of the Seven-Headed Beast, from Trinity Apocalypse, c. 1255–60

Weird? Sure, but as far as I can tell, The Weirdest Possible Universe is the only theory that simultaneously explains a ball of lightning killing 300 reindeer in Norway and the existence of clear-knee mom jeans.

(Don’t agree? Make up your own damn theory. Seriously. Literally anything you write can be considered “news” in this universe.)

Form and Resonance

The Internet is uncharted territory with pathways as old as perception. Let’s make a map.

Emily Pothast

Written by

I write and lecture on art, media, politics, and belief. Contributor to The Wire Magazine, Art in America, Art Practical, and more. Current PhD student.

Form and Resonance

The Internet is uncharted territory with pathways as old as perception. Let’s make a map.

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