Reality hangs by a thread …
I was channel surfing last week, stopped on a rerun of the “King of Queens” for a bit and then decided to check out what was on PBS just in case one of my faves, History Detectives, was back on (I can never figure out that show’s schedule). Instead I came across an image of a bearded man talking about his father, a physicist. There was something truly engaging about the frankness with which this man was talking about his family and I stayed and watched. Mark Everett, aka “E,” is the lead singer of Eels, an L.A. band that was consciously unknown to me. Subconsciously I had enjoyed their music in the Shrek movies and many other television shows (Scrubs for one) and movies. Hugh Everett was Mark’s father.
Hugh Everett was the proponent of the parallel universe theory – the same theory I read about a few years ago that sent me into a mental free fall when I started thinking about what it truly meant and all the implications. For a non-mathematician and one prone to flights of fantasy, the idea of the existence of infinite universes where every possibility of every moment is played out is just mind-blowing. I distinctly remember driving after having read an explanation of the idea on the Internet and just imagining every possible variation of every action I was taking and multiplying that by the actions of everything around me and arggghhhhh….. And what seems to me at this moment in 2008 to be fantastically “out there” in terms of science was put forth in the mid 1950’s by Everett. Amazing.
But the true reason, you should make sure to watch Parallel Worlds, Parallel Lives, is the film itself. The examination of the life of Hugh Everett and Mark Everett as it relates to the father/son relationship is given equal if not more weight to the scientific life of Dr. Everett. It shows Mark going back and discovering who his dad was through meetings with his father’s colleagues and people who were deeply influenced by his father’s work. The documentary does not drop to the level of maudlin sentimentality over the facts of the Everett family’s life nor is it some sort of rock exposé. It just is and it is fascinating to watch.
Mark Everett makes a comment about how we should all be so lucky as to be able to make a documentary about our dads. He is right. Check your PBS schedules and make sure to catch this if you can.
Here are some links that give a more cohesive explanation of the film, the Everetts and E:
The documentary opened doors for me – further exploration into Hugh Everett’s theory (that I will do slowly and carefully, lest I myself take a trip to a parallel universe) and the music of E and the Eels whose lyrics, music, style, whatever you want to call is so in tune with what I am drawn to, that I wonder how I was not truly aware of it before now. Wow. That was a poorly constructed and convoluted sentence but I can find no other way of structuring the words so that it carries the same meaning. I don’t think any one will read this far down in the post anyway, so I won’t worry about it too much.
BTW – the film’s director and producer is Louise Lockwood who did an excellent job. I could find next to nothing about her in a limited IMDB search but I will keep an eye out for her future projects.