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This Theory About How Your Decisions Affect Parallel Universes is Mind-Blowing

Are you killing countless "other selves?"

There’s nothing I love more than people who get all brainy with their thoughts about the multiverse. The fact that the woman in this video is doing it with an etymology game makes it even better.


Basically, the theory comes down to this: are you killing off your alternative selves every time you make a choice?

The word “decide” comes from two Latin roots: “de-” which means “off” and “caedere” or “to cut. This is the same word that gives us terms like “homicide” “suicide” and “pesticide”, in which the “-cide” ending means “kill.” To decide something means to cut it off from all other popular options.

But in an infinite multiverse, every decision you make, large or small, would create a branching universe. In a single universe (or a carefully “pruned” one as displayed in the television show Loki) you are killing off other selves, but in an infinite multiverse, your’e actually creating them.

While the you that you can become if you decide to have a bagel instead of cereal for breakfast is probably very similar, the other selves from more distant branches or more momentous decisions (like family or career choices) might be very different indeed.

I find the idea of the multiverse very comforting when confronted with decision paralysis. It makes me think that, as important as the decision might be, I can rest assured that some version of me will actually be able to experience all of the options I’ve got available, in whatever universe they continue on in after I (we?) have made our choice.