I've been thinking about parallel universes--the idea, that is, that all possible worlds exist. In this world I am an ungainly, graceless, graying male poet. Perhaps in another world I am a lithesome, desirable courtesan. And in another world I might be a sentient shadow. Or a rock. Or a musical instrument. Or a hunk of cheese. A rose. A scurrying mouse. A laundered sheet flapping on a clothes line.
OK, you object: All possible worlds, Tom. To which I say: If something's conceivable, is it possible or not? I like the idea of being as a sort of kaleidoscope of multidimensional possibility. That we are all at once pond scum, quasars, dumpy old man, sexy woman, avatar and angel.
"A well-known scientist (some say it was Bertrand Russell) once gave a public lecture on astronomy. He described how the earth orbits around the sun and how the sun, in turn, orbits around the center of a vast collection of stars called our galaxy. At the end of the lecture, a little old lady at the back of the room got up and said: 'What you have told us is rubbish. The world is really a flat plate supported on the back of a giant tortoise.' The scientist gave a superior smile before replying, "What is the tortoise standing on?" "You're very clever, young man, very clever,' said the old lady.'But it's turtles all the way down!"'
--Stephen Hawking, A Brief History of Time
I just found a treasured pocket notebook which I'd thought I'd lost. Whew.
"That which, for itself, depends on nothing, is an absolute. That which nothing completes in itself is a fragment. Being or existence is an absolute fragment. To exist: the happenstance of an absolute fragment."
--Jean-Luc Nancy, The Sense of the World
In another world my first name is Jean-Luc.
In another world my first name is Maria.
From the newly recovered notebook: