Hollywood has had a great deal of fun with the ideas of time loops, alternate universes, reality shifts, and parallel timelines – “glitch in the Matrix”, “Groundhog Day”, “Back to the Future”, to name a few that have entered our collective consciousness.
But that’s just entertainment.
In our reality, once in a while, something seems to be amiss in a similar manner. Years ago, there was some speculation about the “Mandela Effect”, the idea that many people seem to have remembered that Nelson Mandela died in prison, which, of course, he didn’t.
At least not in this universe.
It seems that this was sort of a “soft glitch”, because only some people remembered the event – one of those cases where you don’t quite remember where you heard the news, but it is in your memory. Perhaps it was just an urban legend that got passed around through word of mouth.
I remember it being pronounced “Ber-en-steen” and spelled “Berenstein.” Do you? Turns out that not only do all of the friends and colleagues who I asked, but also most of the people who have weighed in on various blogs and articles about this topic throughout the Internet and Twitterverse. The originators of the book series only recall their names as “Berenstain” and seem perplexed by everyone else’s recollection. Is it a case of mass confusion, an example of a parallel universe in action, or a rare and extreme piece of evidence that our reality is purely subjective?
MWI (Many Worlds Interpretation) Quantum theorists would have one possible yet incomplete explanation. In this theory, reality bifurcates constantly every time a quantum mechanical decision needs to be made (which occurs at the subatomic particle level countless times per second, and may be influenced by the observer effect). The figure below demonstrates. At some point, one of the ancestors of Stan and Jan Berenstein, the creators of the Berenstein Bear book series, encountered a situation where his name could have been spelled one of two ways. Perhaps, it was at Ellis Island, where such mistakes were common. For whatever reason, the universe bifurcated into one where the ancestor in question retained his original name, Berenstein, and another where the ancestor received a new spelling of his name, Berenstain (or vice versa; it doesn’t matter). Down the Berenstein path travelled we and/or all of our ancestors. Our doppelgängers went down the Berenstain path.
According to MWI, all of these realities exist in something called Hilbert Space and there is no ability to travel from one to another. This is where MWI fails, because we are all in the Berenstain path now, but seem to remember the Berenstein path. So, for some reason (reality just messing with us?) we all jumped from one point in Hilbert Space to another. If Hilbert Space allowed for this, then this idea might have some validity. But it doesn’t. Furthermore, not everyone experienced the shift. Just ask the Berenstains. MWI can’t explain this.
The flaw is in the assumption that “we” are entirely in one of these realities. “We,” as has been discussed countless times in this blog and in my book, are experiencing a purely subjective experience. It is the high degree of consensus between each of us “conscious entities” that fools us into thinking that our reality is objective and deterministic. Physics experiments have proven beyond a reasonable doubt that it is not.
So what is going on?
My own theory, Digital Consciousness (fka “Programmed Reality”), has a much better, comprehensive, and perfectly consistent explanation (note: this has the same foundation as Tom Campbell’s theory, “My Big TOE”). See the figure below.
“We” are each a segment of organized information in “all that there is” (ATTI). Hence, we feel individual, but are connected to the whole. (No time to dive into how perfectly this syncs with virtually every spiritual experience throughout history, but you probably get it.) The “Reality Learning Lab” (RLL) (Campbell) is a different set of organized information within ATTI. The RLL is what we experience every day while conscious. (While meditating, or in deep sleep, we are connected elsewhere) It is where all of the artifacts representing Berenstein or Berenstain exist. It is where various “simulation” timelines run. The information that represents our memories is in three places:
- The “brain” part of the simulation. Think of this as our cache.
- The temporary part of our soul’s record (or use the term “spirit”, “essence”, “consciousness”, “Being”, or whatever you prefer – words don’t matter), which we lose when we die. This is the stuff our “brain” has full access to, especially when our minds are quiet.
- The permanent part of our soul’s record; what we retain from life to life, what we are here to evolve and improve, what in turn contributes to the inexorable evolution of ATTI. Values and morality are here. Irrelevant details like the spelling of Berenstein don’t belong.
For some reason, ATTI decided that it made sense to replace Berenstein with Berenstain in all of the artifacts of our reality (books, search engine records, etc.) But, for some reason, the consciousness data stores did not get rewritten when that happened, and so we still have long-term recollection of “Berenstein.”
Why? ATTI just messing with us? Random experiment? Glitch?
Maybe ATTI is giving us subtle hints that it exists, that “we” are permanent, so that we use the information to correct our path?
We can’t know. ATTI is way beyond our comprehension.