If the theory of the multiverse is correct, our universe is not alone: it’s just one in a sea of universes. If you could escape them all and look back at where you’d come from, you’d see an endless array of bubbles (or boxes or maybe doughnuts) stretching out in all directions, expanding and contracting, evolving and failing.
This is slightly different from the “many-worlds” theory of quantum physics, which believes that every decision we make shapes the universe we’re in. According to that hypothesis, every time we pull one book from the shelf instead of another, or select this brand of cereal instead of that one, we create a new universe. We live in an an overlapping network of parallel universes, universes that are constantly branching off in new directions, existing side-by-side but never touching. Timespace is like a hall of mirrors, only none of us can see our reflections.
If either of those theories is correct, then there are an infinite number of universes. And if both are correct, well, it’s hard to wrap my head around that.
But here’s the interesting part: if there are an infinite number of universes, then any scenario we can imagine is not only probable, but certain:
- In one universe, things are exactly as they are now, except I’m wearing a swimsuit instead of khakis.
- In another, my skin is green.
- In another, my dogs can talk.
- In another, I am straight, and Jonno is a leggy blond woman.
- In another, I am straight, and Jonno is a leggy redhead.
- In another, I never met Jonno at all.
- In another, I am very much alone.
- In another, I am already dead.
Religious leaders often talk about how precious life is, how lucky we are to be here. Physicists make the same point, but they do so much, much better.
Eight billion years ago, there was another.
Others came before and after.
Microscopic debris from those massive explosions spread throughout the universe. Some of the atoms arrived in our solar system, where they coalesced to form Planet Earth. Over time, they have become many, many things:
- The computer on which I am typing these words.
- The sofa on which I’m sitting.
- The house that contains the sofa and the computer and a thousand other things both necessary (food in the refrigerator) and unnecessary (a DVD of Josie and the Pussycats).
- The three hounds sprawled in front of the heater on this unusually chilly April morning and the ashes of their predecessors, kept on a shelf across the room.
- The silver in the ring that Jonno gave me after we confessed our love for one another, the ring I haven’t taken off in years symbolizing a marriage that wasn’t even possible when I received it.
Considering how long it took for those atoms and molecules to become what they are now, 16 years is a flash, a blink, no time at all. Even so, I can’t remember life without Jonno, and I hope I never have to face it.
Our love has changed over the years, matured, morphed. New elements — one in particular — have kept us on track and even deepened our relationship. But more about him later.
For now, I’ll just say: I am happy, Jonno is happy, and with luck, our atoms will live on to make others happy billions of years from now, trillions of miles from where I’m sitting.
Happy anniversary, Jonno. I love you.
Based on oral arguments that took place at the Supreme Court this week, I’m hopeful that the Defense of Marriage Act will soon be struck down. I’ve got my fingers crossed about Proposition 8, too, but if the ruling does go in our favor, it’s probably not going to be a broad win for LGBT folks who live outside California.
That said, there were some amazing moments during Tuesday’s oral arguments. Here’s a clip of Attorney Charles Cooper attempting to justify Prop 8 to Justices Sonia Sotomayor, Anthony Kennedy, Elena Kagan, and apparently, himself. At the end of the excerpt, tone-deaf Antonin Scalia tries to get a rise out of the liberal justices (and every woman on Planet Earth) by making a wisecrack about Strom Thurmond, but the only person who chuckles much is Scalia. Kagan gets far more laughs a few minutes earlier when she ridicules Cooper’s “marriage is about fertility” argument.
Today, the United States Supreme Court will begin hearing arguments in two cases regarding same-sex marriage — one on California’s Proposition 8, the other on the federal Defense of Marriage Act. (For the infograph-ophilic, the New York Times has a handy flowchart showing how these rulings could come down.)
I’m neither an optimist nor a lawyer, but a microscopically small part of me hopes that the justices will see not only that history is on the side of marriage equality, but also that laws concerning the LGBT community deserve heightened scrutiny. (Ari Waldman presents a good summary of the principle here.) Both perspectives would help our argument for marriage and other LGBT rights cases down the road.
Whatever the nine justices decide, what’s remarkable isn’t just that we’re being heard in America’s highest court. What’s truly remarkable is that we’ve gotten there so very, very quickly. Many of us quietly doubted we’d live to see it happen, but across the nation, cities and states are galloping toward equality at breakneck speed.
Consider this: Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation in 1862. African Americans weren’t given full equality (legally speaking) until nearly a century later, in 1954, when the Supreme Court decided Brown vs. the Board of Education. They weren’t guaranteed workplace protections until 1964, with the passage of the Civil Rights Act. And interracial marriage wasn’t fully legalized until Loving vs. Virginia in 1967.
Though many argue — and rightly so — that the real fight for LGBT equality began early in the 20th century, the watershed moment came in June of 1969, at New York City’s Stonewall Inn. Just 44 years later, we find ourselves at the doorstep of the Supreme Court, which could issue rulings that provide for marriage equality and set the stage for other LGBT protections.
How did we get here so fast? I think there are a handful of very important reasons:
Shoes. Shoes are a problem.
These are among my favorites. They’re nothing fancy — just some Sketchers I picked up at an outlet mall. Still, they’re comfortable, they fit perfectly, and after six years, they’ve held up very, very well.
They are also made of leather. Cow skin. Ugh.
Finding vegan belts, bags, and other accessories is easy. Vegan shoes? Not so much.
First, you have to vet the ones made of leather and suede. That eliminates 90% of shoes right off the bat — especially dress shoes.
Then, there’s the question of adhesives. Most shoes are held together, in part, by glue. And glue, of course, is often made from animal products. So, even if a shoe is constructed almost entirely of canvas and rubber — like, say, the much-beloved Converse All-Star — you’re rarely sure what’s gone into it, much less that it’s cruelty-free.
In my book, the only way to find truly vegan shoes is to look for those that are advertised as such. I’ll warn you, though: the pickings are slim.
Dr. Martens has some vegan shoes in its lineup. They’re not bad, but they can read a little “80s”.
Macbeth sneakers? Cute, but a tad monotonous.
Flip-flops? Crocs? Not exactly work-friendly Read more…