Saturday, September 24, 2011

Debi does Quantum (again)

Well, hasn't this been a week for mind bending science?  Time bending too, is seems.  Though my teeny tiny mind is struggling with the concepts and it seems I'm not alone.  

(Struggling already?  Don't know what a neutrino is?  Think 'atom' and then think MUCH smaller - then divide that a few more zillion times and you're beginning to see just how small these little beasties are. Only whatever you come up with, neutrinos are smaller.  They really are very, very small indeed.)

Anyway, as I understand it (ie not at all) what scientists at Cern think (because 'proof' is apparently a long way off) is that neutrinos might be able to move faster than light and ain't nothing in the universe that's supposed to be able to do that.  (Though my sons move pretty fast when I tell them to tidy their room.)  

Thing is, this is Really Important because, if true, it undermines the whole way we understand (or in my case, fail to understand) ... well, everything really.  Because that 'everything' is based on Einstein's Theory of Special Relativity. (He had other theories but they weren't so special.  I have one about Ordinary Relativity which explains why we all have some family members who are rather boring.)

So - all this Matters (think there might be a science-y joke there) because it opens up questions about the possibility of time travel.  Taken to its logical conclusion, it means something could arrive before it leaves.  Geddit?

Oh, look, you might have guessed by now that I'm several billion billion neutrinos short of being an expert so I'm going to try to relate all this to the craft of writing fiction.

Some time back, I dabbled (in the most amateurish possible way) with quantum theory, when I focused on whether it's possible for fictional plotlines to exist in parallel universes.  Now I'm going to gird my loins and switch attention to how the same theory might relate to the way we create fictional characters.

Now, this is going to take a bit of explaining, even on the basic kindergarten level I'm operating on here with my aforementioned teeny tiny brain, so make yourself comfortable and prepare to make the ... er ... quantum leap into Debiworld (or one of them).

For starters, you need to accept the initial concept of an infinite number of parallel universes.  In other words,  each time any of us comes to a fork in one of life's many roads, a new world is created in which we take the other path.  If you also accept that we are the sum of our experiences, as we make hundreds of these sorts of decisions every day, it stands to reason that each of these worlds contains a different version of us, sometimes varying by the merest tweak, at other times resulting in us becoming completely different people.

Got that? 

In still more other words, if you accept that we are the sum of our experiences, it's logical to believe that there are an infinite number of ways we turn out. In some worlds, we probably die young; in others we may live to 100.  At its most extreme, in one world you might be a dictator and in another, a victim, yet both would be versions of the same 'you'. 



Right.  You still with me?  Do pay attention please.  We're about to get to how this connects with writing fiction.
 

(In another universe, I will have got to the point earlier.  If the new stuff turns out to be right, I got there before my fingers hit the keyboard.  In yet another, I'll ramble on for ever and never get there.  In that one, a version of you might hunt me down and slap me, thereby creating yet another universe.  In that one, I will have a black eye.  One 'me' will then sue you for assault.  Another will fight back, giving you two black eyes.  etc etc etc ...)

So ... ah, yes, the point. 

Whenever I create a new fictional character, I'm aware that she is a version of ... me.  She's based on a particular aspect of my character but it takes her in a direction that the Debi who is writing this post would never go.  As a result of that, things happen to her that would not happen to 'this' me.  And as a result of those experiences, she changes still more, becoming someone who bears no resemblance at all to me.  But, maybe, she's a 'me' who does exist in one of those other infinite universes.

OK, so now we get to the point where the 'you' who is reading this tells the 'me' who's writing it if I'm talking unadulterated rubbish or if I'm on to something here.  Or both.  Or ...

In one universe, there's a Debi who wins the Nobel Prize for the above.  
In another, I already have.
In this one, I'll be dismissed as a rambling incontinent.  Them's the breaks.
There.  I hope you understand it all now.

15 comments:

John T said...

Wherever I look, I keep meeting slightly different Debis. Should I tell them that another Debi writes a blog? And in this scarily parallel, quantum universe, those good people at CERN have borrowed an earlier plot-line from my novel – which must still be out there somewhere. My particle physicist makes an exceedingly vague discovery, because particle physics is changing every ten seconds or so, and I don't want to cramp her style..

Martin Shone said...

*scratches bonce* avoiding the one hair I have left, but in another reality I have a full head of flowing locks like a Mills & Boon hero.
So I read your theories and reached the part you talk about a fork in the road and my stomach rumbles telling me I need to make a Quantum Leap to the kitchen to start tea for the other stumbling rummachs. Now see what you've done my down has turned worldside up.

Debi said...

Oh lordy. What have I unleashed into (this) world?

Michele Helene (Verilion) said...

I understand you perfectly, but me over there is not so sure.

Debi said...

You over there is blonde. And a man. How did that happen, Michel(e)?

Sue Guiney said...

I totally love this stuff and hope to write about t all again. This is the stuff I believe in, even though I don't know what it means. For example, I have always wondered what if I had chosen to play the tuba instead of the violin? Would I have had a life as a world class musician instead of the life I have? Fab stuff, innit?

Whisks said...

I love all this - brain going ping. Well, one of my brains.
In my earliest tome, I played all the parts - about 18 of them; they were all aspects of me, budded off and fleshed out. No one else could see it, but I could.
Oops! Someone at my door. One of my doors. One of me must dash. :)

Debi said...

What I really want to know is whether all the lost socks jumped to a parallel universe. Surely, the only possible explanation.

Minx said...

Sticks head around corner to see who is in...waving!

Debi said...

OOOOH! It's the Minxster! Really hope that's happening in this world.

Leslie Hawes said...

So, if I understand correctly, there is a me somewhere, other than the place I am in presently, that spends her entire day cleaning the house?

Debi said...

Leslie, that's a nightmare world. Bet you're glad it's not this one.

Tania Hershman said...

I love this! And I love that almost everywhere I've gone over the past few days, someone who never knew what they were is starting sentences with "There's this news about neutrinos..."! Ah, finally, you're seeing what fun (phun) physics is! Bloody nuts, eh?

Debi said...

I was a convert to the cause some time ago, Tania. Ever since I heard about charmed quarks and zero strangeness.

Tania Hershman said...

I know, you are already enlightened! But the bloke in my pilates class tonight... or rather, the woman he was explaining about neutrinos to...