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(This is a bit of a science/science fiction type of question from River Archeron in the 'Comicality Library'! Anybody here want to give your thoughts? I'd love to add it to this month's issue of Imagine Magazine! It makes for a thoughtful discussion! Let us know what you think down in the replies below! And you can find my answers in this Library link, https://www.voy.com/17262/26637.html , if you want to see my two cents! :P It's fun to give the old brain a work out from time to time! Jump right in! And THANKS, River! I like this!)
Okay, on the surface, this seems like a ridiculous question, and any self-respecting materialist would scoff at the very notion! However....the answer really is not so clear cut as it may seem, from a psychological point of view, a philosophical point of view, and even a quantum physical point of view.
First of all...lets talk about a relatively new psychological idea known as the psychosphere. Apart from being a badass name for a Black Metal band, the psychosphere is the essence of all sentience, of mental intelligence. Basically a "world" of thought outside our physical universe. Okay, fine so far...but is it REAL? I would answer, "What does "real" even mean?" To quote The Matrix, "how do you define "real?"" It's an interesting notion. Our thoughts, our ideas, our stories are created by us, right? So in this sense, they exist. Sure, there is no physicality, not REALLY, but then again OUR reality is not physical either at the fundamental level. Physicality is an illusion. What we perceive as solid - as matter - is really just energy at it's core. Everything is. You don't slam into a brick wall because it's "solid", you do so because of the repulsiveness of the electromagnetic force. Then....are we SO different from our thoughts? Do our thoughts and stories exist "somewhere"? Are these fictional characters and the stories we create for them acted out "somewhere?" (It also makes one ponder if WE are a "fiction" to someone or something else.) Some believe it takes a form known to New Agers an the Astral Plane, but the more skeptical think the psychosphere is a bit more ephemeral than that. Too abstract to even ponder, yet must be given credence.
But.....could fictional characters ACTUALLY exist in our physical reality? Ah, that's where the notion of the Multiverse comes into play. There are many different kinds of parallel universes theorized by modern theoretical physics, but I will focus on two. (The other two popular ones, a String Theory Multiverse, and the bubble universes of Inflation Theory are so fucking interesting, but I can't begin to describe them here without insane math.) lol. But the other two I can sum up. The first comes if you accept that space is infinite. (Which is still debated). If the universe IS infinite, (INFINITY is the key here and I cannot stress that enough!!), and since particles can only be configured in a LIMITED number of ways, then *every...single....possible* configuration must be repeated an infinite number of times. (Travel far enough and you'll find a planet that is also called Earth and it's identical to ours. And another one where the South won the civil war. Another where the characters and episodes of 'Friends' and 'Cheers' ACTUALLY happened.) Get it? With infinity, not only is every conceivable possibility likely, it's a must! Basically, if the multiverse is real (and many many physicists believe it is...some even say it must be), then the multiverse contains infinite realities. As a consequence of that, there must be infinite realities where characters who exist as fiction, exist as actual entities in others. The same is true of the opposite. There must be alternate realities in which WE are the fictional characters. There would also exist realities EXACTLY like ours, there's another "you", except that cup of soda you put down is just a millimeter to the left.
Another form of the multiverse is the Many Worlds Interpretation. AKA the Quantum Multiverse Theory. The consequences would be the same as above, but they arise different. It's a BIT complicated and has to do with something called the wavefunction, which is just a mathematical description of the quantum state of an isolated quantum system. Basically for every choice that's made, the universe literally branches and splits. Flip a coin....the universe splits. Heads in one, tails in the other. Pretty much same as the other multiverse theory, but instead of distances in space, this has to do with a universe constantly splitting due to quantum decoherence. And the evidence is piling up with this theory. Quantum decoherence we KNOW happens. It's a issue with quantum computers actually. And in fact some say that since quantum computers ACTUALLY work, the Many Worlds Interpretation must be true.
So...are fictional characters real? Have your favorite books, online stories, movies, tv, and even fanfiction have played out somewhere, sometime, in some reality? It's POSSIBLE.
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