Other quantum physicians say it doesn’t prove any such thing, but let’s take a look at Lanza’s theory anyway. Lanza believes that people believe in death because they identify with their bodies. People do this for sure. It’s an easy mistake to make, as anybody who has ever bought clothes or needed to urinate during a long subway ride knows.
It’s Lanza’s opinion, however, that when we choke out our last breath, we pop over to a parallel universe and just keep on trucking, so to speak.
How quantum physics proves this is difficult to explain because, like religion, very few people really understand it. While religion is usually based on scriptures written by ancient prophets and translated from dead languages, quantum physics is based on math equations that look like someone spilled half a box of Alpha-Bits on the floor. In either case, we lay people have to go to the experts for an explanation, which leaves plenty of room for professional scientists or preachers to put their own spin on things. Thus, we end up believing in stuff like the Virgin Mary and Schrodinger’s cat without really understanding how either one is possible.
Lanza’s afterlife is pretty sketchy, because, unlike religion, quantum physics did not exist during the Middle Ages, so no one painted any pictures of it. For sure it’s not a bunch of angels standing around hosanna-ing, so better than some theoretical eternal lives, which are basically one long, continuous religious service. For someone like myself, who thinks that all religious services that don’t actually include human sacrifice are mind-numbingly dull, this is good news. But Lanza doesn’t promise us the kind of eternal existence I could get behind, where everybody is sexy and wanton and there’s a lively nightclub scene, and you can hang with your dead relatives or avoid them, depending on whether you liked them much when they were here.
There’s no guarantee the parallel universe we go to is going to be better than this one. You could end up in one where Trump is President for Life, Kate Upton never posed for pictures and canned asparagus is served at every meal. That would be like Hell, only you wouldn’t have to keep it that warm. Lanza is not clear on whether you could check out of there by killing yourself again, while crossing your fingers, to go to a universe where Obama could have a third term, Kate Upton was your main squeeze and all food served was wrapped in bacon.
Everybody goes, too. There is no place of eternal damnation, so Hitler, Mao and Dick Cheney could be your neighbors in the afterlife, drinking, barbecuing and lying as if they were car salesmen rather than mass murderers. Hopefully you’ll have the option of killing them off again as soon as they appear, thus packing them off to the parallel dimension one stop over.
There’s nothing you can do to influence your quantum afterlife, either. Kneeling, praying and chilling with lepers does you no good; you go to the exact same spot as someone who’s spent his life downloading porn.
But it’s good to know that there’s something beyond the grave, I guess, even if it’s as random and pointless as our current existence, and the fact that the concept is being promoted by someone who is hoping to make a lot of money by selling a book about it doesn’t necessarily have to shake our faith. The only thing we can say for certain about Quantum Heaven is that Schrodinger is already there.
And so’s his cat.
Illustration by Marck Juarez