What if the decisions you made were not permanent? What if, however bad you mess it up, you could try again? Or rather, what if you were forced to try again? These are the questions Russian doll, a new Netflix series created by Leslye Headland, Natasha Lyonne and Amy Poehler, asks … again and again.
The series opens at the birthday party of Nadia (Lyonne). She turns 36, and she is not exactly psychic about it. Her mother died on 35 and Nadia sees that as a cursed birthday. She is not wrong. Look, Nadia is dying again and again today. But no matter what happens, no matter what decisions she makes, no matter how she dies, she never comes back to life more than 24 hours earlier.
It is difficult to think about Russian doll without even thinking about it Groundhog Dayor, more recently, Edge of Tomorrow and Happy Death Day. This is not the first time that we have used time loops as a plot story. But Russian doll is not satisfied to only accept the repetitions as par for the course; it subtly nods to a possible real-world statement.
* Spoiler Alert: there are spoilers Russian doll Below *
In contrast to the character of Bill Murray Groundhog Day, Nadia does not experience perfect recreation with every loop. Instead, she begins to notice small changes: missing objects, people in different places and doing different things. It is as if her reality is shifting with each iteration. Nobody else seems to realize that something has changed, which is our first indication of what could really happen. The point is reinforced in the fifth episode, when Nadia asks: "What if they keep going?" They the other versions are from herself, her friends and her family.
The implication is, Nadia experiences a killing course followed by starting again, but it is an illusion. In reality, she is every time she dies really die, just not in this reality.
These experiences, although fantastic, are rooted in an established scientific thought experiment known as Quantum Death of Quantum Immortality.
To discuss Quantum Immortality, we first have to discuss Quantum Mechanics, an inherently fuzzy pursuit. Richard Feynman once said: "I believe I can safely say that nobody understands quantum theory," but we are going to try it anyway. Let's start with the double split experiment.
Let's say you have put up a wall, and there is a slit in that wall, behind which is a wall. Then you grab a Nerf gun and start shooting on the wall. If your magazine is empty and you look at the back wall, you would expect a pattern of darts to be seen that often looks like a straight line directly behind the crack. And you would be right.
You repeat the experiment, but this time there are two slits. By firing the arrows on the wall, you would expect to see a pattern of two lines when you're done. But if you do this experiment with electrons instead of darts, that is not what happens. Instead, you see a series of many lines, where the darts (electrons) interact, collide and fall away.
By introducing a second opening, you have opened the possibility of a wave opportunity. In short, instead of the darts being forced into one event, you have admitted all possible conclusions. If this all sounds unrealistic, you are not alone in that thought.
What is more, if you observe the path of the arrows or electrons by placing a measuring instrument in the vicinity of one of the openings, they no longer behave as an opportunity. The wave function collapses and you see what was originally expected, a pattern of two lines at the end of the openings.
This suggests that at the quantum level reality behaves as a series of opportunities. Everything that can happen will happen, at least until the event is observed. This is the most important concept behind the famous thought experiment by Erwin Schrödinger.
Although Quantum Mechanics survived rigorous experiments, the interpretation of the data has been the subject of much debate. Different hypotheses have emerged from the data. The Copenhagen interpretation is such a conclusion and suggests that measurement, or subjective experience, collapses the wave function of quantum behavior and forces only one reality to exist. Meanwhile, the interpretation of the many worlds suggests that all possible outcomes exist within their own limited realities; the cat, who is both dead and alive before observation, then remains both dead and alive, in different realities.
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The Many Worlds hypothesis was first suggested by Hugh Everett III. His paper The Theory of the Universal Wave Function laid the foundation for his ideas. According to Everett's colleague Keith Lynch, "Everett firmly believed that his theory of the many worlds guaranteed him immortality: his consciousness, he argued, is bound by every branch for whatever path does not lead to death – and so continue to infinity. " Unfortunately, at the age of 51, Everett died of a heart attack, at least in this reality.
His thought experiment, loosely based on the same ideas that govern Schrödinger's cat, takes the observer into the box. The chance of survival is the same: 50 percent. But the observer, now in the box, can only experience one outcome, those in which they survive. By repeating the scenario infinitely, we see that the experimenter always lives, while the chance of life is getting smaller and smaller.
The final conclusion is that as long as there is a non-zero chance of living, the observer (you) will survive.
By taking this idea to the limit, when you look at the increase in medical technology and ideas suggested by futurists, the chance that you will live an incredibly long time is not zero; therefore, according to Everett, you must never personally experience your own death. Instead, you can experience a succession of close-knit calls that never come to fruition while your beloved in other areas of existence bury infinite versions of you. In the same way, those you have lost can continue to exist in other areas of existence that you are not familiar with. There may be some comfort.
Maybe Everett laughs through the quantum wave function somewhere up to eternity. Who knows? If Quantum Immortality is to be believed, it suggests that we can all live forever, although our experience of that immortality can be incredibly lonely when we see our loved ones fall away in their increasingly unlikely opportunities.
Yet the world was ahead Russian doll is an enviable one. It is a world in which your mistakes can be corrected, a world in which the most serious consequences are not permanent and a way out is always on the other side of a car accident. The payment is high, but that also applies to the payment.
In any case, for now, we should all strive to update the most ideal of our potential eventualities. Because we might live forever, but maybe not.
Russian doll is now available on Netflix.