A Smartass Looks at Alternate Dimensions and Their Impact on the Court System

This came from Feb 26, 2008 LJ entry. In a bit of rareness for my use of the term, I mean smartass not quite in the "Bolden" sense. I am being sort of traditionally smartassed, here, but still trying to argue a point from the side of reason. I'm also more mirthful and less mean spirited. So that would be sort of "jocular" or something, not smartassed.

Note: I am being a smartass. While I accept the basic tenants of alternate dimensions, I am not 100% a fan of actually thinking about them. I also understand that there are huge flaws in this. This is smart-assery, not truthery. Oh, and kind of a satire, because here is one of the weird implications of the whole shebang when the concept of identity comes up.

Let us assume some basic concepts:

  1. Alternate universes exist.
  2. Each alternate universe is due to a decision that could have had an alternate outcome.
  3. Each universe has it's own reality, a sum of it's unique "decision" name.
  4. No universe may interact with any other in any way that overrides conservation of mass and energy.
  5. Every subsequent decisions in a split universe will be identified in part with the prior decisions that led up to it.
  6. People are a sum of their parts and their pasts.
  7. Finally, there is no escaping a justice system in any alternate universe. They are like the Scarlet Witch from the 1980s Marvel Universe.

With that being said, let's look at a criminal (who we will name Thomas) who one day chose to break into a liquor store and steal $4,182 worth of hooch and cash. There are two Thomases (note: There are, in fact, an indefinite number of Thomases. For instance, there is the Thomas that broke in at 3:04:34am and the one that broke in at 3:04:36am. There is the Thomas whose mother called him earlier that day to complain about something his father did, and the Thomas whose mother forgot. There is the Thomas whose mother called him and he broke in at 3:04:34am, and so on, but let's keep it simple for now) and we will call them Tom-A and Tom-B. Tom-A broke into the store. Tom-B decided against it.

At the moment of this decision, the Universe (which will say is Universe #3292929292903 give or take) shattered into two. In one of them, a man named Thomas tried running off with a ton of alcohol. In the other, he stayed home and watched the QVC. In one, there was a trial. In the other, there was also a trial, and it also involved Thomas, but for a gas station hit he did the next day. Some people are born bad.

Now, let's say that Tom-A did the deed on July 24th. Factor in time it took cops to get him, time it took for him to get a case built against him, and time to appear in front of a judge and jury. We'll say the trial came up in a couple of months. September 17th. That might be a really short time. That might be a really long time. If that doesn't match the real world, well, that's an alternate dimension for you.

We have a difference of about seven weeks between the deed and the trial for the deed. Seven weeks in which the Judge, and the twelve men and women of the jury, have led entirely different lives than what they would have led had they been in Tom-B's universe. Very, very similar lives. Very, very metaphysically different lives.

For them to find Tom-A guilty is to say "I wish I had never existed". It's punishing Tom-A for their existence, really. Had he not done it, they wouldn't be there. Now, it does bring up the argument of how happiness is their existence and how pain free and all that, but should we really expect there to be 13 suicidally depressed people overseeing Tom's fate (not including, say, the other 6.5 billion lives he brought into existence by making that choice). Should the world decry it's sole reason for being? Hate the man whose bad decision is their purpose in life?

I'm just saying: think about it. Maybe a thank you is in order. Maybe a pat on the back. Good job, you little thief, for causing me to be different from a billion billion other mes based on whether or not you wore your blue shoes or your black to the robbery, what precise instance you shattered the glass, whether you talked to your mom, whether you did poopsies before or afterward, or whether you took three drinks of water or just two and half. Thank you for my unique identity as an individual.

A Brief Double Take

Just think, that time you were twelve, and some guy decided to go deep sea diving off South Australia instead of spend the day with his wife. There is another you, out there, that is much like you in every other way, except for that dude that went fishing in Australia. He's divorced.

Written by W Doug Bolden

For those wishing to get in touch, you can contact me in a number of ways

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

The longer, fuller version of this text can be found on my FAQ: "Can I Use Something I Found on the Site?".

"The hidden is greater than the seen."