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Seems to be greater and greater emphasis on timelines in Western popular culture. The concept itself has been around for a long time, but Community managed to turn it into a meme and now Marvel are really leaning into it with the whole multiverse thing,

You can chalk it up to just a clever way of recasting roles, recycling IPs and dealing with plot holes, but it clearly runs deeper than that as it's deployed in response to current events too. I don't know how many times I saw people going on about being in "the darkest timeline," during Trump's time in office, but it was a lot.

My current feeling's that this stuff stems from a certain fatalism re: things like corruption and climate change. We can't imagine a solution and too few of us are willing to seriously attempt to come up with and implement one anyway, so there's this desire to just escape the whole thing and go somewhere the bad things and people simply don't exist.
The multiverse, as a canonical framework, is the terminal velocity of franchise potential. Infinite content, where revisions are themselves canon.
re: escapism I think once a more fulfilling mode of virtual socializing can be established, there will be even less holding us back from that sort of paradigm shift.

In a dystopian light it could be considered a virtual exodus from a lethargic world, and in a utopian light it may be considered the arrival of a purer communal solidarity, i.e. eventually communicating pre-articulatively via neural firings that we manage to digitally translate [edit: which of course is predicated on our first understanding them].

Barring some black swan, it seems inevitable. Even an alignment of abrupt climate change scenarios doesn't seem liable to prevent it, but rather just dampen it [edit: a decentralized architecture seems evolutionary favored in this sense, i.e. satellite servers, blockchain etc]
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That is, eventually the consensus may not be that socializing in person is more fulfilling than socializing virtually. The latter may ultimately become more intimate than the former.
Consciousness is just still too shrouded in mystery, as @luka mentioned re: neuroscience.

edit: "too shrouded in mystery" to be represented digitally, that is.
But as far as impacting the popular consciousness goes, I think this multiverse development may be enlightening in certain ways, with children growing up inspired by stories, cinematic myths, that involve an indeterminate array of alternative unfoldings. Promises to shatter expectations of a solitary, correct reality.

If the MCU can take on relativity, that would be even better. The whole Ant-Man theme of quantum mechanics, however soft and sensationalized, may be an occasion for things like this.
Another situation where I can conceive of a positive impact made by a monopolistic force, in this case a cultural one, namely Disney. Sometimes single-bottom line thinking can be a win-win for corporations and consumers, which isn't to say there is no room for apathetic or even sinister agendas.
MCU is also impressive, in my opinion, for how much it manages to appeal to different audiences. Really its an ideal situation. At the very progressive college I graduated from in Chicago, Marvel was a unifying passion among students, arousing lively conversation whenever it was brought up.

Another discernibly positive impact made by Disney, namely the progress MCU is making in terms of erecting a diverse pantheon of heroes. In terms of demographics and proportionality to the population, there still seems to be a ways to go, but progress is being made nonetheless.


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Do you really want to live in a timeline where billions of people die within days as a result of the Shift, Cleansing, Apocalypse

i've talked about the rise of the timeline paradigm quite a lot. marvel mainstreamed it. it's also there in things like the Mandela Effect,

Unable to come to grips with the fact that they had the name wrong this whole time, some fans have even come up with a crazy theory as to why the name was "changed." They believe that the name of the books was actually Berenstein at one point, but we've shifted into a parallel universe — an alternative timeline, if you will — where the title of the books is The Berenstain Bears.

one of the effects of DMT is that it gives you a very visceral sense of having switched timelines, time-tracks, so it's possible that that
the mass uptake of DMT is behind this, ultimately


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not that the idea of parallel universes is new, its built into the idea of infinity in a way and i rember reading an arthur c clarke short story about it that blew my mind as a child. one of those ideas that make your inner world and sense of the possibilities enlarge massively so that you get vertigo on contact.


bandz ahoy
Reminds me of Four Quartets

"Time present and time past
Are both perhaps present in time future,
And time future contained in time past.
If all time is eternally present
All time is unredeemable.
What might have been is an abstraction
Remaining a perpetual possibility
Only in a world of speculation.
What might have been and what has been
Point to one end, which is always present."

The multiverse perhaps makes time "redeemable" – insofar as "what might have been" could be more than an abstraction (even though to all intents and purposes it remains one in our heads). It could exist somewhere.

I don't think most people are very imaginative when they think about the multiverse – at least, I'm not. It's more like "imagine a universe where I went to that party".
Yep agree with version's interpretation far more than the concept of hopping between timelines

A lot of people are struggling with the huge quantity of information and/or substantial societal changes and thus these conceptual ideologies are becoming more widespread as a coping mechanism. Oh look things are going to shit, we have shifted to a parallel universe. The idea runs concurrent with massive technological progress, unprecedented climate change, huge overwhelming media saturation etc. It's a lot easier to retreat into fiction or treat life as a non-linear experience

I understand the ability to perceive these ideas through hallucinogen/psychedelic use and there's definitely some validity to the communal experience in terms of the similarity of supposed unlocked door leading to multiverse/parallel universe perception. But equally the concept allows you to step away from the real bullshit knocking on your door

I think talking about wanting to descend into virtual socialising is endemic of a problematic future- no offence- where we retreat from real-life experience because it's too much for a lot of people to cope with now. Digital anxiety
You could also think of the multiverse as an array of cosmic permutations, every universe an extropic crucible, perhaps with different starting parameters.


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in a sense the idea of the rapture informs it, but instead of a one-off event lifting you into heaven, you have
a randomised quantum leap effect


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if you follow the new age accounts they are full of the idea of gateways, heighten your vibration to the correct pitch to make it through the next gateway


bandz ahoy
Going back to that Eliot quotation, another thing that certain people might wish to escape or "redeem" is the sense of fatalism governing our actions that accompanies becoming more and more educated about evolution/neuroscience etc.

I don't like the idea that everything I do isn't something I've chosen to do, but something that I was destined to do, given my genetic makeup and circumstances. I don't think anybody likes that thought. Nor do people like the idea that you can't blame people for what they do, even the most horrific things are things they were destined to do and couldn't have stopped themselves from doing. It goes against our deepest instincts, our sense of ourselves as free agents making choices and of there being "evil" and "good" in the world.

Perhaps the multiverse idea doesn't get rid of this problem but it seems to offer the hope that things could have been differentand that one of the things governing that potential difference is the choices we make.