When I was around ten years old, it occurred to me as I watched a tiny insect make its way across my arm through the huge trees that were my arm hairs that we could be in the same boat as the insect. We could be thinking how large the night sky universe was, when the reality was that we were tiny beings in a tiny world spinning around in a tiny universe on the back of the arm of a giant. My mother’s response was “Oh, now, stop being silly and pass the Cheetos.” My father said,” Pass ’em this way first, son, and help your brother with his reading.” No Fields Medal or Nobel Prize nominations coming my way any time soon.
About the same time in 1957 the young physicist Hugh Everett III in his doctoral thesis at Princeton, where he was supervised by John Wheeler, purported to solve the “measurement problem” using quantum mechanics. He wrote that the entire universe is described by a gigantic wave function that contains within it all possible realities. This “universal wave function,” as Everett called it in his thesis, begins as a combination, or superposition, of all possible states of its constituent particles. As it evolves, some of these superpositions break down, making certain realities distinct and isolated from one another. The author of Ockham’s Razor may be squirming, but he would have to deny all logic not to want to see where this all leads.
The Many Worlds Theory of the Universe or the Many WorldsInterpretation of Reality is the generator of the Many Minds ontology, and even if it’s old hat in some quarters, it remains on sound footing despite those who claim it leads to bizarre, unreasonable outcomes. It does raise serious issues but calms others. It’s worth a fresh look.