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Some People Believe in "Quantum Immortality." This is What that Means

You never really die... you just jump timelines.
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Quantum is a popular buzzword these days, as the field of quantum mechanics has made it into the mainstream vernacular, and certainly into pop culture. Though badly understood by most, quantum mechanics is a field of physics that seeks to understand the nature and behavior of particles at the subatomic level, behaviors that often aren’t explained by the laws of classic physics. Many of these ideas are only theoretical, or are judged by probability and predictions rather than observation. There are many theoretical explanations of how these mechanics work, and the one that has New Age gurus and Marvel fans in its grip is called the “Many Worlds Interpretation”.

Basically, the idea behind this interpretation is that particles appear to exist in many states at once due to the existence of parallel realities. Hold on. This one’s gonna stretch your brain.

In this framework, there exist terms such as “quantum suicide” and “quantum immortality.” It is important to note that these are thought experiments, based on highly idealized and unlikely circumstances, such as a Schrödinger's Cat-type killing box guided by quantum wave functions. However, the originator of the Many Worlds Interpretation, physicist Hugh Everett, did indeed believe in the idea of quantum immortality. His biographer states, “Everett firmly believed that his many-worlds theory guaranteed him immortality: his consciousness, he argued, is bound at each branching to follow whatever path does not lead to death.”

And that’s what the idea behind a New Age belief in “quantum immortality” is, on a non-quantum scale. That the you that is you will jump from consciousness to consciousness to avoid obliteration, convening on the one that survives. Hollywood, understandably, has run with this idea, such as in Avengers: Endgame and Everything Everywhere All At Once.

If you ask, how does this keep a person alive past the point of old age, etc.? Well, in the Many Worlds Interpretation, there must be worlds where humans have achieved immortality, or where an afterlife exists, or etc. If not in this timeline, surely in the next, the concept claims.

See, I told you it would break your brain.

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