To discuss the creation of everything, we must pick a Beginning. This is tricky, as we were not in the picture for some time. Yet, we exist, have existed, and will exist in more frames than the most prestigious gallery could house. Humanity wasn’t here for the Beginning, that much most can agree on. You and I were certainly not here for the Beginning, that is indisputable.
I’d argue that since we weren’t here to witness the Beginning, nothing truly Began until we existed.
Consider this at an individual level. Your world is your reality. Your world did not exist until you did. We each create our own reality based on experience and belief. What you experience is personal evidence; ice cubes feel cold. What you believe is taught; the North Pole is cold. We chose to believe those who have had that experience for themselves.
Even then, our experiences and beliefs, our memories and education, are not set in stone. Our minds are fickle, wired to keep us protected. They enjoy picking up the pen and making corrections where they see fit or doodling in the margins to keep us occupied.
Let me offer the words of Dr. Oliver Sacks, best-selling author of The River of Consciousness, physician, and professor of neurology at NYU,
There is no way by which the events of the world can be directly transmitted or recorded in our brains; they are experienced and constructed in a highly subjective way, which is different in every individual to begin with, and differently reinterpreted or reexperienced whenever they are recollected. Our only truth is narrative truth, the stories we tell each other and ourselves. (Sacks 121)
With that being said, allow me to present my highly subjective amalgamation of theories and conjecture through which I choose to understand the origins and operations of the multiverse.
ORIGIN OF THE MULTIVERSE
In the Beginning that led to you and me, there was a very big BANG. But you already know that part. Have you ever wondered what preceded it?
Think of the cosmos, the vast quantum vacuum, as a woodland pond, where from the murky bottom rise countless air bubbles gurgling their way to the surface (Chopra 40). Each bubble bursts from the pond staying formed, as if made of soap, floating up into golden clouds, expanding every moment. In this way, our little universe was born. But what of its fellows?
The cosmic pond is generating an infinite number of bubbles. Each one shows slight differences. One may have a bit more of a purple sheen, another, a glassy teal. One color is not better or worse than another, just different. Different rules, chances, decisions.
Remember that apple you ate the other day? In a different universe that looks almost like ours, you chose to eat a pear. Each decision you have ever made, each decision ever made for you, each event that has ever transpired, somewhere else, went differently. Every piece of fiction somewhere is reality. Every lie ever told somewhere is truth. Infinite worlds, infinite possibilities. So how come we are here, in this one? How come we are here at all? Who is we? Who am I?
In the His Dark Materials series, Phillip Pullman describes consciousness as a golden Dust attracted to humans as they come into adulthood and left behind on man-made objects of sentimental value (77-80). Ever since devouring these novels in high school, I haven’t been able to visualize it any other way. This Dust is intelligent, all-knowing, multiversal, and makes all the difference between an animal and a human. It is soul, consciousness, it ties every single intelligent being together. Essentially, we are all made of the same stuff, connected in some way.
“You are dust, and to dust you shall return” (NRSV, Gen. 3.19).
I’m grateful to Pullman for the jumping-off point, but from here on out, I am leaving Pullman’s world behind. All following Dust-centered rhetoric is of my own imagination (woven with the other cited sources).
Dust, despite being all-knowing and omni-present, cannot experience or truly interact with life. Dust watches and Dust knows when a species has reached an advanced enough form to house it. On Earth, in this universe, the only species to achieve this form has been humans. As Indian philosopher K. Ramakrishna Rao writes,
“The cognitive structure does not generate consciousness; it simply reflects it, and in the process limits and embellishes it” (qtd. in Dossey xviii).
Upon the maturity of our evolutionary ancestors, Dust blessed us with its presence and gathered within each of us to give us a soul. In return, Dust forgot itself, and enjoys the physical experience of being alive for its short time in a human form.
However, even being concentrated in each of us, Dust does not belong to us, it cannot separate itself from the multiversal cloud from whence it came. Dr. Larry Dossey, internal medicine physician and bestselling author of One Mind, writes,
“Individual minds turn out to be not just individual. They are not confined or localized to specific points in space, such as brains or bodies, nor to specific points in time, such as the present” (xxv-xxvi).
In this way, we are all connected, not only to each other here in this universe, but to everyone else (especially variations of ourselves) in the infinite multiverse.
INTERACTING WITH THIS UNIVERSE
We all feel called to something. A certain profession, activities we enjoy, artistic expression or consumption, and service for/with others are all examples of ways we build a sense of identity. When you stop to think about it, could you give a solid answer to why you feel called to any of those things? More often than not, your reply might be, I just do. Is it what Dust wants to experience? Is it something a variation of you discovered in a different universe leaking through the cracks? How do you actively interact with the world to bring it about?
Most of us are unaware of how we mold and construct the very reality around us. Whether through unconscious manifestation (I really hope someone brings donuts to work today!) or suppressed/altered memories (No, I don’t remember spilling that milk in the cafeteria in junior high…), we use real power to bring into our lives what we most desire. Those who do this through conscious manifestation see astounding results too often for it to be coincidence (Christyn 74-78). This is a pretty shallow example, but it proves my point: in my junior year of college, my meager checking account was unexpectedly cleared out by a speeding ticket. I began to consciously manifest wealth, just to see what would happen. In just two weeks, my university sent me a total of $1,490 in COVID relief and tuition refunds.
Many might choose to believe this was luck, or chance, but I do not. Why have people engaged in prayer for millennia? Voicing your desires, focusing on your needs, trusting they will be delivered… these are not new ideas. They work. They focus your attention on what will bring the desire into your life (Christyn 43). They build your reality up around you, brick by brick. Subtle or strong, shifts in your perception of your world make all the difference. Your consciousness, your Dust, wants the experience.
Until to Dust you return.
I hope this piece has inspired you to think about your worldview and how YOU choose to understand the universe. I welcome companion pieces/responses; I'm always interested to hear how folks' perspectives differ. If you write/have written a similar essay, please drop a comment to let me know!
If you like this topic, and somehow haven't already seen it, consider watching the movie Everything Everywhere All at Once (2022).
The Bible. The New Revised Standard Version, American Bible Society, 1989.
Chopra, Deepak, and Menas Kafatos. You Are the Universe. Harmony Books, 2017.
Christyn, Royce. Scripting the Life You Want. Inner Traditions, 2020.
Dossey, Larry. One Mind. Hay House, 2013.
Pullman, Philip. The Subtle Knife. Laurel-Leaf, 1997.
Sacks, Oliver. The River of Consciousness. Vintage Books, 2017.