Why are we obsessed with the multiverse?

Joan Westenberg
3 min readNov 28, 2023
Source: DeviantArt

Why are we so drawn to the idea of multiple realities? More than a trend, it seems to come from a deep emptiness within us — a longing for a place where our world’s limits don’t exist, where anything is possible. From the alternate timelines and worlds of Scott Pilgrim Takes Off to the phenomenon that was Everything, Everywhere, All at Once, to Marvel’s critically acclaimed Loki series, the idea has caught hold. And it’s not letting go.

Our fascination with alternate realities tells a lot about where we are now. We’re living in a time where it often feels like our lives are out of our hands, shaped by technology and what society expects of us. Our paths seem set out for us, our futures decided by algorithms and social norms. That’s why the idea of a multiverse is so appealing. It’s not just a sci-fi idea; it’s become a symbol of hope, of freedom, of a world where unpredictability is the norm. It’s a quiet admission that maybe we’re not heading toward a future we want, a way for us to process feeling small in the face of huge global problems.

In our universe, we’re facing a climate crisis. The health of our planet hangs in the balance, threatened by rising temperatures, extreme weather events, and human failures. There is a growing fear that our home will become utterly unliveable in our lifetime. And more immediately, there’s a housing crisis, with affordable homes becoming increasingly scarce, leaving too many of us struggling to find stable, secure places to live. An economic crisis looms, marked by job insecurity, widening inequality, and financial instability that affects millions. And now, we’re grappling with an AI crisis, where the rapid advancement of technology raises questions about privacy, ethics, and the very nature of work and human interaction.

In the shadow of these colossal issues, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed and powerless. Many of us are terrified that it might be too late to turn things around. Our individual actions — like recycling, voting, or advocating for change — seem insignificant in the grand scheme of things. This feeling is compounded by the fact that even the content we consume is no longer in our control. It’s determined by algorithms that decide what we see online, shaping our perceptions and choices without us even realizing it, making the path we’re on feel absolute…