possible worlds

Does possible worlds exist? I would like to believe so. Dabbling in semantics, of course, has given me that perspective. Even thinking beyond the world of modal realism and Lewis, I want to entertain the possibility that they are just as real as our world. There is a conceptual advantage to thinking this way. Many of our dreams, many of our desires we feel will come true at some point, if not now, in some particular point in the future. This anchors life into a comfortable pedestal from where you can project each of your desires onto a possible world. Imagine this vibrant universe, composed of a plurality of all these distinct, unique elements. In some sense, a point of view represents a unique possible world. If there can be multiple points of view, there should be multiple possible worlds, right? This model can now help evaluate flavors of necessity and possibility, similar to our own notions and conceptions of what is possible, what can be, and what we want it to be.

The notion of possible worlds also ties up with our view of history. A question we can often ask when we read about the history of Zimbabwe, or the historical developments of the rise of industrialization is the question of whose history are we really talking about? We all know how power plays a role in decision making, say, in media, in policy making. Power determines consequences, fate, our reality and morality even. If we do admit then that the history we read as we read it is the history of the majority, the ones in pivotal power position, we could ask if, in a different possible world, would the same history have been rendered differently. Would somebody else's tales be sung gloriously and written for centuries to read and wonder.

Parallels to possible worlds can also be found in literary fiction which makes it possible to talk about fictional worlds without reducing these texts to actual representations of the truth. The author carves a world, albeit with fictional characters and this fictional text makes accessible, reference to the imaginative existence of a world and a precise state of affairs. This new world which has been created determines its own horizon of possibilities. The text exerts a kind of expressive power over your sense of reality. Suppose you are reading your favorite novel and you encounter the term, red lion. Even though you have never seen such an animal before, you would construct a visual of the real world lion with 4 legs, a mane and a tail and this visual would represent a real world lion in all respects except the color. In constructing fictional worlds, the reader fills in these literary gaps by assuming a mapping from a real world, thus connecting this world as you know it to a possible world, a world in which lions can be red.

Dreams may be considered in the same realm of things, as happenings in the subconscious part of your brain/mind. Sometimes you remember the most bizarre incidents, with people you may never have met, or sometimes images from your past, school days. These can now be thought as representing again a connection between the world of your reality and the world of your desire or possibility. In dreams, you construct what you want to see, maybe you even see things which are on the verge of happening in a remotely near and accessible future. Dreams connect your intersections at time points, the past with the future and the present with the past. They are sometimes indicative of changes which are going to happen.

A postmodern narrative best describes the possible world scenario. The shift from modernism to post modernism brought about a radical change in the epistemic base. Modernism was concerned with epistemological concerns whereas post modernism worries about ontological concerns. The radical ways of thinking posed questions such as, 'What is a world', 'What makes a world real?'. The intricate layers of reality can be seen best in David Mitchell's 'Cloud Atlas', which consists of six nested tales describing how history is repetitive and connects people through centuries and generations. Marquez's magical realism and Calvino's symbolism and style are all characteristic of this.

So, ask yourself this question today. Are you alive in the real world? Or is this "real world" just a figment of your imagination. A possible world through which you access the real world and traverse back and forth from it. After all, we all love our possible worlds, in which we are successful, in which we are happy, in which we are with our dream man or woman. These possible worlds and their reality helps us get by a little by little in our otherwise dreary and hectic humdrum of everyday existence. If you haven't discovered the possible worlds yet, now might be the time to do so.