Thursday, March 15, 2007

More on the AH=PU theory

There is more to be said about the theory of alternate histories equaling parallel universes that what I've already discussed. First of all, I forgot to mention previously that when one mentions some what-if history or another, it's not appropriate to just express it as "had it..., it would [have]...". For the sake of those worlds that really do exist out there, per the theories in physics, it is more salient to say "in a universe where..., it is/was...". For example, if you are discussing an outcome to the Battle of Waterloo other than what happened in our real world, only in our world's context is it enough to say "if Napoleon had won Waterloo, Europe would have had a unified Napoleonic Empire." But if we consider a parallel universe or remote region of the universe (depending on the theory), we should express it more as "in a world or universe or parallel universe (take your pick) where Napoleon won Waterloo, Europe has had a unified Napoleonic Empire."

Another thing that needs consideration is that when people discuss and debate alternate history, for example in forums devoted to that topic (such as soc.history.what-if), there tends to be divergent theories as to what happens once an alternate outcome is made to an event. For instance, in the postings I have read about Argentina and the region becoming British after 1807, I have seen some opinions stating that all of South America is conquered by the British, others stating that the British totally give up South America (even Buenos Aires and Montevideo), and yet others (like myself) somewhere in the middle. Well, guys, such differing theories represent different parallel universes! In other words, considering the outcome of a single event, there are some universes where things happen that make it easier for the British to take over all South America, and there are others where the locals push out the British for good, and others are somewhere in between. Just to give an example of the scenario of no British left, there may be a single battle between Spanish-speaking locals and British forces in which in one world, the British win and in the other world, the British lose. It is as simple as that!

By the way, for more reference on the theory of alternate histories being non-fictional parallel universes, go take a look at Max Tegmark's article. That article describes the various levels of parallel universes that are theorized to be out there in the heavens. Of those levels, it is Levels 1 and 3 which house the alternate histories we know of. Levels 2 and 4 are, by comparison, very otherworldly. It is found at

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