Seeing the Multiverse

John Berger writes in the first chapter of Ways of Seeing:

We only see what we look at. To look is an act of choice.

Then it’s obvious that even in the same environment, different people would see very different things, as what we choose to look at would be different depending on our past experience, knowledge, perceptibility, and so forth.

This echos with a strong feeling of mine recently: to experience something with others is to see with plural pair of eyes. When I am out with friends, walking amidst buildings, on trails, across streets—it’s not uncommon for one of us to suddenly burst out:“ Look at this!” The other ones then turn around and follow her sight and look. It could be something completely banal, a rock, a bird, a wall with a certain texture; or it could be profound, an insightful observation that piques a heated discussion. Either way, it is at this magical moment that we start to examine the world in other’s terms with a new lens. There’s a brief exchange of worldview, in which we understand the world, our friend, and ourself a little bit better.

I was also reminded of an excerpt from Frances Ha I read in Molly’s tweet:

“It’s that thing when you’re with someone, and you love them and they know it, and they love you and you know it... but it’s a party...and you’re both talking to other people, and you're laughing and shining...and you look across the room and catch each other’s eyes...but not because you’re possessive, or it’s precisely sexual...but because...that is your person in this life. And it’s funny and sad, but only because this life will end, and it’s this secret world that exists right there in public, unnoticed, that no one else knows about. It’s sort of like how they say that other dimensions exist all around us, but we don’t have the ability to perceive them. That’s—that’s what I want out of a relationship. Or just life, I guess.”

Recent movies1 try to depict the grandiose multiverse, but man isn’t this quotidian “secret world” similar? When you really think about it, each individual is a parallel universe in its own. Even if we went through the same thing, the way we chose to look and therefore see was different; the feelings, thoughts, and relations we had were different. There’s always another dimension of the reality we live in and we are just traversing the multiverse every single day.


  1. Everything Everywhere All at Once completely eclipses Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, I have to say.e