A Child Of The Cosmos, A Ruler Of The Skies
I personally had a difficult time finding a connection with Joanna Russ’s The Female Man — with the characters (even the multiple facets of Joanna) or the the story itself — although I admire Russ’s brave, ahead-of-her-time writing, given the context of when this novel was written.
Anyway, I didn’t have a particularly deep connection with The Female Man, but my blood got pumping when the universe was brought up. I am such a believer in the universe — in its energy (as we creatures are comprised of the very same elements our universe is), the notion of frequencies and vibrations, and that ultimately the universe allows for things to happen as it is meant to be. I am not super knowledgeable on this topic, but I am thoroughly intrigued by it and will always try to learn more about it.
The short excerpt in this novel about the universe was a little confusing, so I want to try to pick it apart. I want to focus solely on the notion of multiple universes.
Jael begins with, “If we admit among the universes of probability any in which the laws of physical reality are different from our own, we will have an infinite number of universes. If we restrict ourselves to the laws of physical reality as we know them, we will have a limited number” (160). I think this is easier to understand if you don’t think of “universes” as a physical thing. Think of it more as a possibility.
It can’t really be argued that the choices we make pave the way for the rest of our lives, especially those major choices like getting married, having a child, moving, etc. I like to focus more on the small choices we make daily when thinking about fate — those small choices we overlook. For example, two years ago I had gotten pulled over for speeding. That morning, on impulse, I took a different way to school than I usually do. Had I taken the other way, the way I always take, would I have gotten pulled over? Maybe not, you could almost say probably not, but maybe it was inevitable — the universe just wanted me to get pulled over that day and would have aligned just right to put me in that situation.
So, the universe in which I got pulled over that day was the universe in which the police officer took Hwy 8 and so did I. Had I taken the back roads and the officer had taken the highway, that’s another “universe.” Had both the officer and I take the back roads, that’s yet another “universe.” It’s almost like the concept of having multiple “Not Selfs,” to refer back to Huxley.
Small choices like which road you take to work aren’t going to alter your life immensely, but it could have smaller impacts, negatively or positively. Jael also said, “I take it that it must be possible to distinguish the very smallest differences. . . for otherwise we could not find our way to the same universe time after time, nor could we return to our own” (160). I think this is to say that these smaller choices won’t lead you too astray from your ultimate path in life, from the place you’re supposed to end up — which isn’t to say that your fate is already decided. I’m still deciding on how I feel about that, but I do think we are deciding our fate as we go.
Russ, Joanna. The Female Man. Boston: Beacon, 1986. Print.
Space Oddity. Prod. Mick Rock. Perf. David Bowie. YouTube. N.p., 9 July 2015. Web. 29 Sept. 2016.