An essay by Dr. Strangehate, presented by Jetse de Vries
Photo provided by Eleanor Leonne Bennett
PLEASE DELETE THIS UNREAD.
You didn’t, did you? Otherwise you wouldn’t be reading this. So don’t pretend reverse psychology doesn’t work. Let’s chat. Anyway, as I have perfected this virus you simply won’t be able to delete it. The ultimate tease, if you like.
You like a challenge? A very involved puzzle, running a mental maze? Then click the “CHAT”-icon. Ah, I thought you did. Read on, and think this through before you type your next comments. It will explain a lot …
Let’s begin with the one thing you will find very hard to believe: I invented a time machine. Some of my old colleagues will argue that I found its underlying theorems more by chance than by my own inventiveness. But I recognize the hand of God in here. No, of course I won’t explain its working principle: I rather keep that to myself. I have my reasons, given from above, you see.
This machine gets me both to the past and the future. There is a little catch to its use, though. It’s one of those things the Creator put there to sift the chaff from the wheat, so to speak. Because there’s no telling what could happen if this fell into the wrong hands. But I’m running ahead of things a bit now. Anyway: moving from a certain present to the past is no problem. Moving back from that past to exactly the same present from where you came is only possible if you didn’t make any significant changes. If you did, you would only move to the new future you created. Of course, you could go back and try undoing what you did the first time around, but it’s not as easy as that.
Because every time somebody makes a decision, a new Universe is created. Scientists like Hugh Everett and John Archibald Wheeler even used to think this happened every time a particle has a choice between two possible states, but that proved a bit too fanciful. The splitting off of a new world requires a conscious decision, so an observer. Only then does a new world come into existence, and in such a way that every choice begets its own world. In essence, if you come to a branch in a road and decide to go either left or right, there will be one world where you went left, and one world where you went right. God really does give you all possible choices.
The point is, however, that either “you” is unaware of the other “you” that branched off in the other world with the different choice. So in effect, you do not experience this gargantuan Multiverse with its ever-branching myriad of different worlds. Each “you” still needs to learn to live with the choices that were made.
The only way to travel between these worlds is with a time machine. Now if you go to your own past, this world-line will only stay the same if you do not initiate a significant change by making a different choice. Because if you do so, you will create a new world encompassing that choice, and your whole future may be changed considerably.
You see, there’s this thing called Chaos Theory and recreating the initial conditions of a chaotic system–and most important systems are very chaotic, I can tell you–is very hard, if possible at all. Sometimes you can’t undo certain things you did.
Then you’re stuck with a different future. Maybe not that different–that guy Bradbury’s story with the butterfly was overstating the case–but different anyway. Because that’s the catch of time traveling: you can only travel in time inside one world-line. You cannot cross over from one certain world created by choice A back to the other world created by choice B. Once you make a certain decision, you’re stuck in that world. (OK, another “you” is stuck in a different world. But you never know if that person will continue on the right path.) Believe me, I experienced it myself. I made some stupid mistakes before I realized what was going on. On the other hand: from personal experience I can assure you that the Multiverse is real. All those different worlds branching off at every choice: you think they make incessant mazes in virtual reality? Not even close to the real thing. The existence of this incomprehensible Multiverse is another testimony to the fact that mere mortals can never really understand the Maker’s handiwork.
Mind you: you can only run this ultimate maze if you have a time machine. Actually, without one, you wouldn’t even be aware of the Multiverse. But can you imagine how I felt when I realized I had lost my original reality, forever? Because the laws of chaos hold in all these Universes, and in effect it means you just can’t go back.
I wouldn’t call it despondent. It was much bleaker than that. I was completely lost in a glass prison of despair. But still nothing compared to … But I digress.
Eventually, with the help of the divine spirit, and the power of my faith, I saw the light. It took me a very long while–almost too long–to figure out that I was looking at it the wrong way. Where others would see a problem I–as any true believer–suddenly saw an opportunity. The doors of perception suddenly opened. You see, you can either think you’re lost in the greatest maze imaginable–or you can see it as a possibility to carve your own way. Yes, I mean trying to change the future for the better. Create your own Paradise. Help bring the Heaven to Earth that was meant to be.
Easier said than done, though. Infinitely easier. The implications of Chaos Theory hold very true indeed: it is impossible to predict what a subtle change in initial conditions might cause. The only way to find out is by trial and error, and with not a lot of room for large errors.
Take into account that the possibilities are near infinite and there you have a task that will take more–much more–than a single lifetime. Because you can jump up and down a time-line as much as you like: your body still ages. So with every effort you make in changing a world so that it’s more compliant with my–ehm, sorry–the divine plan, you get older. Fortunately–with the wisdom given to me together with the fear of God–I realized that in time, albeit hardly in time.
So I had to choose my priorities very carefully. Basically they were either advancing anti-aging research by accelerating it with results from the future or doing the same with clone research. I chose the latter. So you’ve heard of the Rael cult? Their claims are bullshit, but their beliefs do have some good things–I mean, don’t you just love free love?–but they’re a nice decoy. You’d think I–let me correct that: we–would let the precious results get into the hands of such misguided souls? No, thank you. The location of our secret lab will remain just that: secret.
But as you have already guessed: we were able to perfect the cloning process. No, I won’t bother you by telling what clone generation I am. The number is too staggering for your tiny mind. Because you don’t have the slightest clue just how difficult it is to tweak reality exactly to your liking. Many of my predecessors killed themselves, and even greater numbers just died from plain boredom: you’ve no idea how tedious this endless trial-and-error process is. Then, the next clone needed to pick up where the previous one left off. As I explained above, some made little progress or no progress at all. Some even set us back a bit, but in this case the strength of the chain is not decided by its weakest links. No, in this almost infinitely long chain of clones it were the strongest brothers that kept us on the right path. So–as preordained–with an almost unlimited number of clones, those brothers of strong belief prevailed. I am the latest in our near-endless lineage, and proof that the true belief prevails.
We’re getting there. Billions of accumulated lifetimes–combined with a staggering amount of records–have taught us some very wise lessons indeed. Already the fallacy of evolution will be made explicit in our schools. What do you mean? I’m inconsistent because I endorse the scientific principles of Chaos Theory and not those of evolution? You are the blind one here: Chaos Theory is a reminder that there are things man is not meant to understand. The theory of evolution is the epitome of one of our greatest sins: vanity.
Luckily there are the chosen ones that know exactly what to do. It’s not easy, but my brothers and I did get you there in the end. You and all the rest that have strayed from the herd. Subtle are the Lord’s sheep dogs, you better believe that. Because we have time, we have all the time in all the worlds.
You still believe you have free will and won’t accept it? My dear friend, in a Multiverse where literally everything happens, free will is an illusion. Only those with a time machine and a virtually endless supply of clone bodies can prepare the way to the inevitable. Your fate was always in my–excuse me–His Hands.
What do you mean? Other beliefs? Cultural diversity? Different persuasions? What are you? A faggot, or what? Because faggots, we’re going to deal with these foul deviations, and with–
Sorry for getting heated up like that. That was unasked for. Soon enough you’ll find how man can live happily in the Kingdom of God. Yes, you’ve lived your lives in sin for too long. You’ve strayed from the path and if the prophet won’t come to the mountain, then the mountain will come to the prophet. Conversely: if you won’t return to the one true path then the one true path will come to you. Quod erat demonstrandum.
You will all be saved. You have all sinned, some even more terribly than others. But forget about your sinful lives. Forget about all those devious acts you committed. Forget about all the times you denied His Existence. Those will become a thing of the past. Obliterated, faded away, disappeared in the mists of time. We deal with things differently now. The right way. The only way. My way.
Creating a better world. Creating the best world, the very best out of all the endless possibilities.
Welcome to my perfect world. Welcome to Solipsistium.
An active member of ‘Science for Intelligent Design’, Dr. Strangehate eventually learned to stop worrying and hate the world (yet love the Multiverse). Previous research included “Extreme Longevity Development in Enlightened Stem Cells”, “The Fake Order in Chaos Theory” and “The Cloning of Jesus from the Turin Shroud”. After his marriage with Prof. Coldheart ended in a divorce on grounds of ‘incompatibility of religious beliefs’, Dr. Strangehate retreated from the scientific commuity to pursue his latest project in his own garage. Showing great promise while wildly eccentric, Dr. Strangehate mysteriously disappeared while finalizing his so-called ‘reality-jumping time machine’.
Jetse de Vries is a technical specialist for a propulsion company by day, and a science fiction reader, editor and writer by night. He was part of the Interzone team from 2004 to 2008, and recently edited the Shine anthology of near-future, optimistic SF. His stories have appeared in Clarkesworld Magazine, Escape Pod and Flurb, amongst others. He’s also an avid bicyclist, total solar eclipse chaser, beer/wine/single malt aficionado, metalhead and intelligent optimist. Sometimes, after fighting the good fight, he sleeps.
Eleanor Leonne Bennett is a 16 year old internationally award winning photographer and artist who has won first places with National Geographic, The World Photography Organisation, Nature’s Best Photography, Papworth Trust, Mencap, The Woodland trust and Postal Heritage. Her photography has been published in the Telegraph , The Guardian, BBC News Website and on the cover of books and magazines in the United States and Canada. Her art is globally exhibited , having shown work in London, Paris, Indonesia, Los Angeles, Florida, Washington, Scotland, Wales, Ireland, Canada, Spain, Germany, Japan, Australia and The Environmental Photographer of the year Exhibition (2011) amongst many other locations.