Speaking of Zoom, the Daniels proclaimed themselves devoted fans of pop science and cosmology. They sent me a copy of “A Vast Pointless Gyration of Radioactive Rocks and Gas in Which You Happen to Occur (A24 LLC),” a collection of scholarly and speculative texts edited by authors such as Jorge Luis Borges and Carl Sagan.
Needless to say, there is not just one theory of the multiverse, but many, depending on the physics you apply. For example, the “many worlds” interpretation of quantum mechanics states that when you make a decision — say, to turn left from your driveway instead of right — the universe splits in two, branching further at each intersection. There’s a universe for every way you can spin, every way a ball can get off Aaron Judge’s bat, every way a cookie can crumble.
Another version of the multiverse stems from string theory, the alleged “theory of everything” that describes elementary particles as vibrating strings of energy. “Theory of Anything” might be a better name; it turns out that the theory has at least 10^500 solutions in 11 different dimensions, each representing an alternate universe, perhaps with its own laws.
Yet another multiverse arises from the prevailing, though not fully corroborated, theory of cosmic inflation. Thanks to a violent whirl fueled by negative gravity at the beginning of time, an endless series of bubble or “pocket” universes branch off from each other at a dizzying, exponentially increasing speed.
The Daniels described their multiverse as a combination of Many Worlds and the cosmic hot tub implied by the inflation theory. “It’s nice to imagine both versions,” said Mr. Kwan. “Both point to infinity or just point to the unknown.”
But, they added, their film is less about physics than how physics makes you feel. “If you could see alternate lives, that would be — that would speed you up,” said Mr. Scheinert. “It would make each of us go into a spiral of sorts, like lives you could have led and choices you could have made…†
The multiverse, they said, could also be a metaphor for the attention-deprived lives we’ve embraced in our bubbles of social media truth. “I think our stories should be constantly looking for ways to calm us down or bring us back to another version of being centered and grounded,” said Mr. Kwan.