December 5th, 2010
Author : David Perry
He had figured it out at the all-too-young age of 26. At the time it was just a theory, a crazy idea – he wouldn’t even test it until 38. That day he put a loaded revolver to his temple and pulled the trigger six times. He took his discovery to the greatest minds the world had to offer and over the next fifty years he came to learn what it meant, how it worked. He wouldn’t find out what it meant for much, much longer.
“Everything is probability waves, right?” He began his lecture as usual. “There are an infinite number of possible dimensions with an infinite number of possible outcomes for every event. There are universes where all of our atoms spontaneously disassemble, where the Earth is made of tofu, and infinitely many universes in which none of us exist.” His heart raced, the demo approached. “The thing is, though, that we can’t perceive universes in which we don’t exist and, like most energy, we tend to take the path of least resistance. In other words, we tend to see the most likely set of events in the set.” He walked to the podium and retrieved his revolver. “This is a very real gun and it contains very real bullets. I invited a number of people from the audience to a nearby shooting range earlier to verify that it works.” Suddenly he placed the gun to his temple and pulled the trigger. He felt nothing, but he knew that the universe had just shattered. The revolver made its usual satisfying “click” and much of the audience audibly gasped. “Welcome to a new universe. There are now countless universes in which I just killed myself in front of all of you, but you’re not in those universes – at least not the copies of you that I perceive. My consciousness, your consciousness, every consciousness cannot perceive a universe in which it does not exist, so when I kill myself in one universe I have no choice but to branch off into a less likely one. The gun always jams, the bullets are duds – something always goes wrong. This is my six hundred and twenty-third ‘suicide attempt.’ I’m telling you that you are all immortal.”
It was his 96th birthday and time was starting to catch up with him. His skin hung loosely over brittle bones and he began to wonder how far his theory stretched. He knew that eventually his chances of survival had to reach zero and there would be nowhere left for his consciousness to go. What then?
He was over seven hundred years old, though he long ago lost count. He could ask the computer if he really cared, but age had long ceased to be a factor in any meaningful way. There were side effects to this, things he hadn’t expected. He had watched his wife and friends wither and die, seen dozens of wars and so much death. “We tend to take the path of least resistance.” The words echoed in his mind, he had to find a way out. The “path of least resistance,” as it turns out, meant that everyone kept dying as usual, everyone kept fighting as usual and the world kept going to shit as usual.
For the first time in ages he felt genuinely nervous. He had to find a way out of this universe and into another one. One that still had people, civilization, a reason to live. He put the quantum superimposed revolver to his temple and pulled the trigger…