Our Daily What-Ifs


Each one of us can experience only one version of reality at a time: here and now. And although, if asked, we would know that there are more than eight billion such realities happening simultaneously to ours, we never think about them, we just have our own perspective while seeing the world with the only pair of eyes and the senses we’ve been given and processing it with the only brain we have.

However, it does happen that somehow we dwell in more than one reality. For example, waking up from a vivid dream makes us doubt for a moment which one of the dimensions is real and which one was just a dream. According to some theories, somewhere out there our dreamworlds exist too. Especially, when we dream of the past, or the future, or of loved ones that we lost.

Another kind of experience that makes me believe in the alternative versions of reality layered on top of each other through time like the layers of a cake. Every time when I re-visit the places where I have used to live and I pass by the windows of my former apartments I get visions. They feel like very strong deja-vus, prolonged in time. The thing is, when I look through these windows from outside – yes, my curiosity ruling me – with my own eyes, I see myself, a little younger, dressed in familiar clothes, cooking something in the kitchen with my back turned to the latter. Or I meet my own eyes through the window-pane while the old me is watering the plants on the window-sill. This is the burning moment, when the past and the present clash is so tempted to come back to their crime scene?

One of my favorite novels was written by a friend, a young Ukrainian novelist, Victoria Amelina. It was her debut novel, by the way, she only had time to write two. And she will never write any more, because she is no more. Victoria was killed by a shelling in Kramatorsk in Eastern Ukraine a couple of weeks ago. When things like this happen, things that are so painful it is hard to accept they happened and they are irreversible, it is exactly the time when we become strong believers in quantum physics. Unwillingly, our brain begins to connect to other versions of reality: what if she didn’t go there on that day? What if the missile missed the pizza place she was having lunch at that day? What if at the moment of explosion she happened to go to the bathroom? What if I had messaged her the day before? Or called her? Would that have changed the turn the multiverse took? What if? What if? When the war comes, the endless what-ifs are the only comfort (or the torture?) to those who are in pain of loss. What if Victoria were still alive, finishing her next book while sipping tea from her favorite cup? I do want to believe there are multiple universes somewhere, in which she is still alive.

The main character of her novel titled “The November Syndrome” is a man with an unusual gift: telepathic empathy. Instead of leading a calm and peaceful life for which he had worked so hard, somehow he gets connected through a mysterious empathy channel to random people on Earth through recent history. He becomes them, and experiences wars and calamities, revolutions and private sufferings. His gift lets him be in multiple multiverses, experienced by other people. These visions help him to make the right choices during the historical momentum in his own life.

I don’t know how Victoria could know about the multiverse, but she surely was someone with insatiable curiosity and endless empathy to any human on Earth. Maybe she was her character. But we will never be able to ask her any more. Except for in one of the multiverses where she is alive.


August 2023