Eels | Quantum Physics | Many Worlds | Meaning



A quite brilliant piece of TV on BBC 4 tonight. Worth the license fee on its own, Parallel Worlds, Parallel Lives traced the journey of Eels front-man Mark Everett uncovering the life of his father, the eminent physicist Hugh Everett III. Everett Snr, in a radical challenge to the Quantum Mechanical orthodoxy of the day, proposed his ‘Many Worlds Interpretation’, in which parallel universes split off at each moment of decision. Derided at the time, he became depressed and withdrawn. He died young, and Mark’s mother and sister followed soon after, his sister taking her own life, writing in her suicide note that she was ‘going to find her father in one of his parallel universes.’ He was a hidden man, who rarely spoke at home. It was only a few years before his death that his theory was finally accepted; it is only through this documentary that Mark discovers just how important a figure in science his father was.

And, strangely, I wrote a poem about Everett’s Many Worlds Interpretation a few weeks ago. Which it seems timely to put here, and add to the probably already huge canon of poetic works on the subject 😉

Perhaps I Prefer The Inefficiencies of This Universe

To The Cold Efficiency of Your Myriad Others


Two clocks moving apart

At light speed never separate

And, in time, are forever together.

Yes, Albert,

As soon as you Equalled the product of m and c-squared,

You locked us in:

No information shall travel faster than light,

Yes, our infinity, given a limit:

46.5 billion light years

To the edge

Of us.

But you are there, and I here,

And strangely, from each centre elsewhere,

A new spacetime arcs out,

Socking the eye with an infinite number of

Observable universes.

And thus, inevitably, an infinite number of you.

Some mother said I was unique, but now

A father’s physics wants me to believe in

Another me,

Beginning 10 to the 10

to the 29 metres far away.

Too far, and yet too close,

For my comfort.

Quantum physicist,

Hugh Everett III, what have you done?

“The existence of other universes

is inevitable”

Said your Many Worlds Interpretation,

Which denied too the objective reality

Of wavefunction collapse.

And I’m like, WTF?

You go on:

“Between 0 and 1:

A single random number

With all its infinite decimals,

Is expressed, computationally,



The computational expression

Of the whole set of numbers

That exist there.”


Apparently this:

A universe of infinite parallels

May be more economic

Than a straight, linear,




Somewhere you and I are together,

Though, in this universe, we are apart,

And somewhere else there are more in betweens

Than we could ever fathom.

And that may be more efficient

Than this.

And now my gourd is swirling,


What is love, and life and us,

Other than to trust in this membrane-thin world,

And chose to forego

In the infinite possibility

Of the efficient multiverse,

And dig long

And deep

For life,

And love,

In this



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