Congratulations sleeper! You have been selected to have the Dream of Knowledge, answering that question that keeps plaguing you, that question you raise so often, that question that plays on your mind as you drift off at night. Remain calm and control your breathing as information is imparted to you. You will awake slightly despondent but this is perfectly normal behaviour.
Shall we begin?
Ah, begin. That’s a loaded word, isn’t it? It’s a word tied to matters temporal and it’s precisely because of matters temporal that this dream has become necessary. But I’m probably confusing you. Still, when have dreams ever been straightforward? If you want you can ask this translucent chicken, a remnant from the dream you can barely remember before this one which we so rudely interrupted. We can wait.
Stop! The translucent chicken’s answer is a lie!
Let us really begin. Picture the multiverse. In your dream the multiverse is this infinity pool at the top of a skyscraper. See how it perfectly reflects the night sky. See every star and galaxy upside down in its mirror surface. Well, try to ignore them. They’re kinda distracting. Instead, look at the surface and watch what happens when a single drop of rain hits the infinity pool… Sorry, what? Well, I don’t know. It’s a dream. The raindrop could have come from anywhere. I know there aren’t any clouds. Look, I already said the reflection was distracting. Can we get a move on?
The raindrop hits the surface of the multiverse and a universe springs into being! Expanding, rippling… And fading. The universe came into being, existed, and died, but the multiverse lives on! This is not the knowledge we want to share but it’s a start.
Now look at many raindrops hitting many points on the surface of the infinity pool. Each one is a universe springing into existence from a big bang event through to heat death when the ripples lose energy and stability returns to that part of the multiverse. Each universe has its own laws of physics, concept of time, religious fundamentalists, and so on. Right now, outside this Dream of Knowledge, you’re living in your universe on the crest of a wave at a point in time on its ripple towards nothingness. No, this doesn’t explain biorhythms. Why would you even ask that? Do people still believe in that? Wow. Really. Wow. Well, good, it’s nice to see knowledge can travel in two directions. Let’s get back to the rain, shall we?
Are you wondering what happens when two raindrops fall too close to one another in the multiverse? You are now? Funny, everyone says that. Let’s take a close look… ah, of course! Chaos! Destruction! A bit of a mess! Can you imagine life in one of those universes? Of course you can, because this is a dream. Look at this universe: it’s very much like your own except slightly more orange. Colour, taste, and smell. At this point in its existence there’s a planetary system in one of the galaxies with life on it very similar to Earth’s right now. Now look at the second universe: very different. Mostly liquid with one giant galaxy streaming in one direction only from the centre. The stars aren’t helium; they’re jelly. Lemon-flavoured jelly. And now the universes are merging. The liquid universe is meeting the vacuum universe and it’s boiling! The jelly stars are melting. There’s liquid jelly covering the galaxies of the first universe. Lemon is blending with orange. That’s a lot of citrus! That world with life on it? It’s just become very bitter indeed. Well, you would, wouldn’t you? They might have explored their universe in time but now they can’t be bothered.
Did you notice something? You did? You saw the translucent chicken pecking at the jelly universe? I’ll confess I missed that. Try to let the translucent chicken go as he’s not… sorry, she‘s not part of the Dream of Knowledge. Did you notice our little universes expanding out and fading away? But you notice that the ripples didn’t change direction. That’s a fundamental rule of the multiverse. A universe rains down and ripples out of the multiverse’s infinity pool. It doesn’t just simply appear. It doesn’t move in odd ways. It doesn’t rain much on the multiverse either. The surface isn’t disrupted that much so evaporation doesn’t take place that much. If you splashed into existence in a universe in the multiverse there’s a really good chance you’d live a normal, short, linear, safe (relatively-speaking) life. But what if I told you that it wasn’t always this way?
Where are we right now? That’s right, we’re on a cruise ship. Our infinity pool multiverse is still here but skyscrapers don’t float so well so I thought the change of scenery would be nice. So, take a look out at the ocean and tell me what you think. Uh huh. Yes. Uh huh. It’s what now? Seriously, how is that chicken still here? Okay, okay. Forget about that desert island and the translucent chicken waving at us as we pass by, but you’re right about the other things. It’s not a normal ocean and not just because we’re in a dream. That ocean is literally boiling. Look at the surface bubbling and frothing. Look at the waves. And can you see how much rain is pouring down? This is as far from the tranquility of the infinity pool as it’s possible to be. This is the Omniverse Ocean. It’s existence outside the multiverse and it’s a wild place to be.
Take any universe in the omniverse. Take that one there. It’s rained down and formed but can you see where it formed? On the crest of a wave as a boiling bubble – another massive universe that had formed underneath the omniverse and rose up – burst into steam on the surface. Part of our universe was taken away in the steam cloud to evaporate and cool rapidly. Part of our universe sunk and dispersed instantly. Part actually rippled, just a little bit before every part was subsumed by other universes raining down or other universes rising from beneath or larger accumulations of former universes washed over it.
Can you imagine living there? You’re in your universe, then some other one. You’re lifted up and deposited again in a universe completely alien. Then once more where part of you is in part of the universe that existed before you were lifted up and survived below the surface, spread out, and fading. The things that live in that universe are unlike anything you can really comprehend. There’s no speed of light limit to contend with. The present is fleeting and the future has as much chance of occurring in the past or in some unrelated universe at some arbitrary point in its existence. It’s wild. You might know everything and be able to get everywhere but at what cost?
Would you rather live in the omniverse or a universe in the multiverse? The boiling, turbulent sea or relaxing in the infinity pool on the cruise ship? Uh huh. Well, most people say the cruise ship. I’m not saying your answer was wrong. I’m just saying that people usually prefer a little relaxation, sipping drinks, watching the universe age as opposed to struggling in a frothing torment that might result in drowning, skin-peeling, sharks, … Oh yes! Sharks. You get sharks in the ocean and they eat universes. Is that what you want? Yeah, well I don’t believe you. The translucent chicken will protect you? Okay, whatever. Of course it will.
Anyway. Hopefully, that’s explained everything to your satis… What question was it answering? Why, the one that’s plagued you. I said that at the start. You remember all those times you asked what came before the Big Bang when you were watching those science programmes? Well there you go. The omniverse ocean! And then a cruise ship with a multiverse pool and a light shower of universes. And now you know. Let this trigger your synapses when you gaze upon Brian Cox or Jim Al-Khalili on TV. Think on this as you witness deep space imagery from Hubble. When life seems short remember you’re in the infinity pool and eventually you’ll evaporate, rain down once more, and do it all over again. Share this information with your friends. I’d skip any mention of the translucent chicken, though, especially with respect to what you were doing to the poor thing before I interrupted matters. Just a word to the wise.
Time to wake up!