The Multiverse: The Moral Implications
Morality is the custom of one's country
and the current feeling of one's peers.
Cannibalism is moral in a cannibal country.
-Samuel Butler, 19th Century British Author
The multiverse is a very dangerous place. Not only can it scare the daylights out of us through its "main gate" (the paranormal), but misunderstanding it can really mess up our perception of life and death.
For example, multiverse thinking can create moral chaos. If reality is made up not of the solid, right-or-wrong, black-or-white, yes-or-no world we see around us, but of multiple parallel realities where all possibilities already exist, how can we tell what's true? What's right?
Is that lie you told your parents or your boss really a lie? After all, it has to be true somewhere or somewhen in the multiverse! If you commit armed robbery and shoot the cashier, is it really a crime? After all, there are millions of parallel worlds in which you didn't do it, or in which he shot you!
The above quotation from Samuel Butler horrifies
many who are not "moral relativists." In philosophy, "relativism"
basically says that whether something is right or wrong depends on the
circumstances, the people, and their real intentions. This has been
carried over into philosophy and theology as "situation ethics."
Well, I'm no relativist. We have to live in the "here and now," even if there's far more to reality than that. We have to maintain order and dignity in our lives and in our interaction with others, even if the multiverse appears to give us excuses not to. And human nature loves excuses; we love the easy way out, and we love to be selfish.
As I point out in "Turning Home" and elsewhere, however, the multiverse is, above all, a profoundly elegant UNITY. Any perception of chaos within it is false. And using the multiverse as an excuse for extreme moral relativism is an expression of our own inability to deal with it as it really is.
In the multiverse, everything we do affects everyone and everything else. We literally are each other. When we wrongly use multiverse thinking to take advantage of others, we are harming UNITY, and we hold back the entire human race, not to mention ourselves.
An even more ominous misunderstanding of the multiverse can lead to another mistake: suicide. In the multiverse, death is non-existent. Our consciousness (unless we are very spiritually advanced or deeply psychic) is aware of one body at a time. When that body is used up, our consciousness simply shifts to another in the vast number that exist in our subconscious lives. So, many think, if things aren't going well where and when I am now, just take the plunge and see where you pop up next; it's bound to be better!
Not so, according to my experience with the paranormal. Again, the multiverse is UNITY. And suicide is the ultimate act of selfishness, the ultimate act of disunity. When I work on cases and encounter what appear to be suicides, they are nearly always in worlds where they have achieved the ultimate in selfishness: utter aloneness. If anything, they are more miserable than ever. It takes a tremendous effort, usually involving friends and family, to reach them.
The message: Don't misuse multiverse thinking. Do it right. Let it bring us together as God meant it to, not draw us apart.
Copyright 2007 by Paul F. Eno. All rights reserved.