3 min read

The Multiverse ≠ the Metaverse

A brief explainer of the fine differences between the much-hyped metaverse and the multiverse – the space of possibility where every Multitudes experience happens.
The Multiverse ≠ the Metaverse

“The metaverse is here!” so declareth King Zuck.

Well, not exactly here here. More like lurching into the lexicon, a term still so fluid that it can mean a number of things.

At its core, the metaverse is a persistent virtual world where you can exist, unbound by the physical constraints of our physical world.

Don’t like the way you look? You can make your avatar into a gorilla, a dragon, even a giant talking penis (you know someone’s going to try this). Wanna get away? No need for Southwest, when you can just throw on your VR headset and travel to a resort in the Alpha Centauri system.

Welcome to the Metaverse – where you can text your friends while hanging out with friends (and your virtual friends won't know it!) (is that what it means to go 'meta' in 'meta'?)

Other emergent technologies (crypto, VR, and AR) are linchpins in a virtually integrated society in which you will never ever have to log off. And now Facebook — er, Meta — is staking its claim in this space, particularly with key investments in metaverse-enabling technologies.

At Multitudes, we’re curious about the metaverse. In many ways, the experiences we create tread into the neighborhood of metaversality.

But right now, Multitudes doesn't take place in the metaverse – it's in the multiverse.

And there are some key differences with the metaverse that we think you should know.  

The multiverse is rooted in the idea that every person is like a universe unto themselves.

Sure, no person is the “totality of all existence,” but there’s ample evidence supporting the universe-like complexity that each of us possess. Or as Neil Degrasse Tyson puts it, “There’s as many atoms in a single molecule of your DNA as there are stars in the typical galaxy. We are, each of us, a little universe.”

This resemblance isn’t strictly structural; our consciousness unspools in lockstep with the contours of our emotions, which, if you’re anything like me, can look like this:

My emotions be like...

And who you were — 10 years ago, one year ago, even an hour ago — is qualitatively different from the person you are at this moment.

The more we lean into life, the more expansive everything else becomes.

One universe (you) + another universe (them) = the multiverse

The unique assembly that each of us is — genes, abilities, cultures, experiences, and perspectives — all but guarantees that we see things in different ways.  

The challenge that arises from this fact is simple: We can’t ever see from another person’s eyes, to know what love or joy or sadness or heartbreak feels like for them.

That is, unless you find the portal to John Malkovich.

But that doesn’t mean we can’t imagine what it’s like.

We imagine when we interact, when we seek to listen. When we listen to stories about their first crush. Or that time they felt unloved. Or the time they laughed so hard, they let something rip they shouldn’t have.

Listening helps us glimpse their universe and wonder what is it like to be you?
Listening helps us relate.

This is the basis of the multiverse: connection, discovery, and possibility.  

By removing the signifiers of identity, the multiverse enables you to be authentically yourself.

Our brains were designed to make things simple. This is why first impressions are so hard to erase. Our brains anchor to those initial signals, reducing people to headlines and tweets, using labels and singular attributes or events to define them.

The multiverse strips all that away. It neutralizes names and disguises voices, creating a space of anonymity so that what’s expressed is received and listened to without any preloaded preconceptions. So that we can experience each other as the deep, irreducibly vast universes that we are.

Not sure what's going on in this gif, but it feels relevant...
“When a place embodies an idea, it brings a person’s body and whole being into the experience.” —  Priya Parker

This is the true essence of the Multitudes experience: to bring anyone who visits into a space of possibility.

Possibility for connection.

Surprise.

Discovery.

Possibility for wonder.

Welcome to the multiverse; you belong here.


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