Living parallel lives

I wasn’t sure I was going to write about this topic, as interesting as it is, but then, completely by chance, I decided to watch an episode of Family Guy with today’s lunch, and lo and behold, which episode should come up but this rather on-topic one.

Well I can take a hint when the universe is sufficiently blunt and obvious about it. Time to talk about parallel universes and, more specifically, this article about the real people who claim to be from them.

The star of the story is Lenina Garcia, a Spanish woman, a well-educated professional, 41 years old, who woke up one morning in a world subtly different from the one she knew.

For example, she went to work to find that she was in a different department than the one she had been in when she went to bed, and had no memory of ever having switched.

Other things were different too. She found out she was still in a relationship with someone that she thought of as her ex-boyfriend. (Man, that’s got to be a kick in the cunt.) Nobody remembered her going in for surgery on her shoulder. There were clothes in her closet that she did not remember buying.

All in all, a very strange and disturbing to happen to the poor woman, regardless of the origin. Nothing in her story absolutely rules out some form of fairly specific retrograde amnesia, possibly brought on by a mild stroke. She says herself that it as if she lost five months of her life, months that she does not remember but everyone else remembers her living.

That is pretty much what would happen if she had a stroke that disconnected five months of her memory from conscious access. Again, that would be a suspiciously specific amount of time to result from a random stroke, especially considering that it did not, according to the story, result in any other symptoms, like loss of motor control or an atypical epilepsy.

And of course, the idea that she came from a parallel universe is a much more interesting theory.
The idea that this is all some big hallucination due to stress is something I reject out hand as simply absurd. People have far less complicated and subtle stress reaction disorders.

But as a big time science fiction nerd, I would remiss if I did not at least take a poke at the idea that this poor woman actually did, somehow, switch alternate realities and end up in the wrong one.

Being an absentminded dreamer who often wonders what reality he is in myself, this seems all too plausible. I have had very vivid dreams where it seemed like I was living someone else’s life, and when I wake up, it takes me some time to remember who I really am, and what is truly real.

Truly, being me is one freaky ass trip sometime, and I suppose it would be at least somewhat cool to find out I have been exploring alternate universes in my sleep.

But somehow, I think the drugs have more to do with it.

Anyhow, back to Lenina Garcia (aren’t Spanish names gorgeous?). Suppose this poor woman did genuinely hop universes somehow. Why would it happen in her sleep? Perhaps in sleep, we all wander.

We don’t notice because, well, we always come back.

So that would imply that Lenina’s fate is some sort of cosmic accident. But if so, who (or what) screwed up? If this sort of thing is possible, one must ask what force it is that makes it so that a trillion times out of a trillion and one, we all get back into our right bodies in the morning?

Is there some sort of super rare cosmic weather system that makes the membrane between parallel universes permeable enough to allow for such mistakes?

Perhaps it is more common than people realize, but most of the people to whom it happens never say anything and just adjust the best they can to their new lives.

Maybe most of the time, the differences are so small and subtle that we just assume the problem is our faulty memories and gloss over it and get on with our lives.

Or maybe there truly is a super rare form of mental illness that results in this sort of delusion. That is also pretty unlikely and interesting in its own right. The closest thing I can think of to it would be the phenomenon known as fugue state, where a person loses all memory of their lives, wanders off in a daze, and creates a new life for themselves, only to suddenly remember who they really are months or even years later.

That one I can see as a result of unprocessed stress. Who hasn’t wondered what it would be like if they just left everything they knew behind and went someplace where nobody knew them and just starter their whole lives over with a new identity?

Just hit the reset button on life, and see if you can do better the second time around!

So I can imagine how, as a result of deep psychological pressures locked away in someone’s subconscious mind that they simply cannot, for whatever reason, let surface consciously, the person’s mind might become overloaded and use the unusual route of a fugue state to resolve the tension.

But just forgetting five months of your life? I would have to know what happened five months before the onset of the amnesia that marked it as somehow special in Lenina’s life.

Maybe she wanted to go back to a time before some certain even happened and was willing to forget everything that happened since then to accomplish it?

That does not strike me as very likely. Again, there are much simpler stress reaction disorders, like for instance total fatigue, that are far more common.

Oh well, time to transport myself into the alternate universe where I am done writing for today.

Seeya later folks!

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