I’m not really religious. I’m not sure about the soul, or what happens after you die. I’ve searched for answers and always come up wanting. But there are some things in science that sort of make sense. Concepts related to energy, chemistry, biology, space and time, those touch on my understanding of myself and my humanity.

The only evidence of a soul that I can reckon is the way I feel being around different kinds of people. Some people light me up in a way, make me feel happy, creative, charged up. Others complete exhaust me, leaving me feel drained, dejected, frustrated and sad. It’s as if some people shared or took valence electrons, or something.

I was talking with a friend about photography, and we happened on the topic of selfies. Although I’m a photographer, and have done portrait photography professionally for years, I’m still quite bad at taking photos of myself. I can do better if there’s someone else taking them. But living in a generation defined by the self-image, I’m a little outside that skill set.

There’s some concept I read about that matter in space changes simply by being observed. Perhaps the same is true for me. When I take pictures of other people, I try to form a bond of sorts. Having the camera in the middle is just incidental. However, if I’m in front of the lens, and no one else is there to shoot it, for me, I’m just, well, artificial. The differentiation between the illusion and the genuine thing is a nuance at best, but the pictures where I’m truly happy are the best.

I’ve heard enough about the theory of infinite variable coexisting universes, as one way of explaining the way things are, to begin to subscribe to the ideas. If there’s one concept that appeals to the indecisive Libra in me, it’s the knowledge, that in the alternate universes that exist opposite mine, the decision I just made was reverse, and the consequences are spilling out like ripples across the pond, like increasing concentric circles, expanding ever more as they drift away. The impact of each choice mirrored through every possible scenario until, maybe, in one perfect place it all fits together and I’m happy.

I read somewhere, maybe even fictionally, that they tested this theory, shooting a laser at a material in which the reflected image was the infinite variances that existed ad infinitum. It was postulated that not only was this proof of their existence, but also gave rise to the idea that these multiverses exist on top of each other, perhaps creating a reason for a thing like black holes and dark matter to begin with.

If this is true, in my mind, I imagine that there must be huge buildups of energy where overlapping areas are high. The just out of reach scenario playing out a mere few universal layers away, and yet does the body know it? Can we sense each other on these other planes? If certain elements are drawn to each other in chemical bonding, so too could we not sense those individuals or elements that draw us in on our own plane of existence? Could our desires for people just be the culmination of better overall success rates as determined by the infinite universal average?

Sometimes, maybe the planes run so parallel, they lay perfectly flat over another. In the synchronicity, do we sense the deja vu effect of experiencing something twice because we really are? That we stand so close to the mirror, we can reach out and touch its reflection. The pan-dimensional high five.

While I don’t know if humanity or any life is in possession of a soul, I can say that I believe existence is bigger than what can be contained in a single lifetime. If we ascribe to the big bang theory (the science thing, not the tv show), the universe began with an explosion, and the expansion from that central point can be seen as ground zero for the dawn of this age. All the matter in the universe has shot out in all directions from this central point, determined by a lot of science, but probably as simple as where is the epicenter of universal gravity. It is thought that the universe will continue to expand from that point until it runs out, and then, in the vacuum be drawn back in as the universe collapses in on itself.

And then what?

Well, the process that the big bang theory postulates sounds like it can be measured in a metric of big bangs, because something happens before and after, right? Things don’t just not exist, do they? So, for me, this process sounds an awful lot like taking a breath, only on a ludicrously large scale. That all the matter that exists, may in fact, not be destroyed, but converted into energy. And it is in that energy, we find all things, including the breath of life, but also wind, sunlight, fire. I wonder if it is possible that on a universal scale, that all the energy has a set limit, that truly if all things are interconnected, for every single action there is an equal and opposite reaction. Perhaps, even on the smallest, barely noticeable scale, each bit of energy I consume or produce has its effect somewhere else in the world, based solely on maintaining the delicate balance of chaos.

But as with all things, nothing is constant, and eventually the universe will hit the end, run out of steam, and then collapse back in on itself. And perhaps in the drawing back in, the pressure will become too great, and it will explode back out again. This time, a whole new set of variations and universes to run the numbers out into infinity. Another roll of the dice, another chance.