Friday, November 19, 2010

The Irrational Multiverse: Philosophy In "The One"

“This butterfly-effect notion of many worlds is also apparent in ‘The One,’ where characters interact with 124 different parallel universes...” (Brian Godawa, “Hollywood Worldviews: Watching Films With Wisdom and Discernment, Second Edition.” Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 2009)
Recently I watched the movie “The One,” starring Jet-Li and Jason Statham. The movie itself is all about, as Godawa notes in the quote above, “many worlds.” Specifically, within the movie, there are 124 worlds, to be exact.
The opening scene of the movie gives away pertinent information that one needs to know while viewing the rest of the movie:
“There is not one universe; there are many. A multiverse. We have the technology to travel between universes; but travel is highly restricted and policed. THERE IS NOT ONE ‘YOU,’ BUT ‘MANY.’ EACH OF US EXISTS IN PRESENT TIME, IN PARALLEL UNIVERSES. There was balance in the system, but now a force exists who seek to destroy the balance so that he can become ‘The One.’”
In the movie “The One,” there is a “multiverse,” which simply means “many worlds.” When it is written that “each of us exists in present time in parallel universes,” this means that all of the worlds are in existence running at the same time, marking each passing moment. Because there are many worlds, the movie assumes that each individual exists in every world created. If there are many worlds, then there are many “YOUs”.
The rest of the quote above tells us about the plot of the movie itself: there is a person who desires to combine “himself” in all worlds into one person. He desires to be not just one person in each world, but to unite the “divided” persons and make them one whole self. This is why the movie is called “The One”: because the main character of the script desires to make himself into “the one” person (the only person who is whole in one world).
The multiverse theory seems to be the assumption of the movie---there is a “multiverse authority” that exists to deal with “multiverse” crimes. In addition, the multiverse authority accuses Hiu Law of killing 123 versions of himself. They list the “selves” that have been killed on the screen:
“Victim 117 of 123 (Ufouk Law; Monoseris Universe); “Victim 118 of 123 (Sven Law); Victim 119 of 123 (Ni Dilaw of Canopus Universe); Victim 120 of 123 (Hia Jilaw of Serpens Universe); Victim 121 of 123 (Seth Law of Procyon Universe); Victim 122 of 123 (Ferun Law of Shaolin Universe); Victim 123 of 123 (Law Less of Anubis Universe).”
Notice that the victims all had a similar last name: “LAW, Law, diLAW, jiLAW, Law, Law, LAW less.” In addition, the screen also revealed the differing appearances of Hiu Law: Sven (Victim 118) had blond hair, while Victim 119 (Dilaw) had short, dark hair; Victim 120 (Jilaw) had long, dark sideburns in his photo; Seth Law had long hair, etc. There was something in the appearances that was altered, while keeping the same face and “similar” names. The only thing that changed in the photos was the hair.
But the movie also seems to point out that the multiverse theory is irrational and mere speculation. As Hiu Law stands condemned for killing the “multiselves” (123 versions of himself in many worlds), he gives a speech that attempts to evaluate the multiverse theory and provide sympathy for the criminal:

“The multiverse, every universe in it, is IRRATIONAL, SLOPPY. I just tried to make it call it “murder”; how could I murder myself 123 times? I just took those wasted energies and put them into one container--- me.”
Hiu Law then went on to say that everyone desires “to unite with our other selves, to be unified forever, to be one. I will be ‘the one’.”

Hiu Law claims that the multiverse theory is “irrational” and “sloppy,” which shows his disdain for it. Since humanity desires to be unified, to be “one,” Hiu Law takes the desires of humanity upon himself. What we find in the movie is that the multiverse theory (a scientific theory) becomes the reality of the film, and Hiu Law (by arguing for a “uni” verse, one world) is attempting to violate the multiverse authority and its laws. Those who argue the multiverse are those who “presume” it exists, and those who agree with Law are skeptics who simply want to have more and more power (which grows their desire to unify the many worlds into one). In other words, those of us who believe that the multiverse theory is unproven are just “enemies of the state” who insist on proving that multiverses do not exist. In the end, Law can only kill 123 of his own “selves”; he stops short of killing self #124 because he is caught and confined to the “Stygian Penal Colony of Hades Universe.” There, Law must fight for the rest of eternity against those who seek to harm him...while the one “self” of Law’s that remains alive is allowed to go on and live his life. In the end, Law is stopped short of his desire to unite the “selves” into “The One,” all because to destroy all the other “selves” would offset the balance of parallel universes. As the opening scene stated, “There was a balance in the system, but now a force exists who SEEKS TO DESTROY THE BALANCE...” Hiu Law is the force that seeks to destroy the balance of the multiverse. To destroy one, however, is to destroy them all (leaving us with no world whatsoever). Jason Statham (actor) says to “Gabe” (Hiu Law’s “good” self in another world), “If we kill him, there’s a chance some say this whole universe could go with him” (01:01:59).
Why bring up a movie like “The One” at the Center for “Theological” Studies? I discuss this movie because it is my conviction that the multiverse theory is the parent philosophy of Molinism’s “possible worlds” postulate. What brings me to this conviction? I’ll reveal my reasons in my next post. For now, I suggest you watch the movie and enjoy.

No comments: