Monthly Archives: November 2010

Alternate Realities

There were / are a lot of expectations from digital media — one of them being the ability to allow people to choose alternate endings, or to choose the path that the storyline / plot will march down — and in some ways, technology has made this possible. But that isn’t the core theme here. Instead, it is about being able to experience each of the possible options. Technology allows that too. Because someone scripted, acted and recorded each of these options.

Unfortunately, life does not provide this wonderful opportunity.

Every choice (or as my Matrix-loving readers will be quick to point out — the appearance of choice — but that is material for a separate post) implies a choice of one alternate reality. Every decision fixes one version. No other.

There is simply no way to experience, or even know, what the alternate realities are. Sure, one could argue that before making that choice, one evaluates in his head what those alternate realities could be like, and only then chooses what appears to be the best among the lot. But I say, imagination is no substitute for reality, now, is it? How can one possibly know completely what the alternative would be like?

We should invent a way to go up the decision tree, choose an alternate path, and then go back once again, choose yet another path, till the entire tree is traversed (or we get bored). Wishful thinking, maybe.

On the flip side, what would be the point — if one could live every reality, which one would we actually belong to? Worse, no one would actually make any decisions, since we could go back and change it if the path one is following is less to one’s liking. Essentially, one would live in a separate self-contained instance – kinda like Spore.

Perhaps the system we have now is best suited for leading lives the way we know them. Anything else would simply fail.


This was originally written for my other blog. But it didn’t come out personal enough to be posted there.