A Review of Greg Bechtel’s “The Everett-Wheeler Hypothesis (Or, the Many-Worlds Interpretation)” from Boundary Problems (Freehand Books, 2014)
By Derek Newman-Stille
We all have a desire to figure out the world around us and our place in it. In Greg Bechtel’s “The Everett-Wheeler Hypothesis (Or, the Many-Worlds Interpretation)”, Matthew keeps finding himself in positions where he is near to uncovering the patterns of the world, the hidden aspects of reality. He desires a deeper understanding of the world, a form of belief, but is kept back from his desire by his own doubt. Matthew is attracted to women whose occult engagements give them insights into the secrets behind reality, but he feels withdrawn from their ability to see beyond through his own desire to EXPLAIN, to put knowledge into boxes that he can understand.
Matthew is haunted by his disbelief, by his withdrawal from the magical world around him that keeps speaking to him through the women who find him. But, more than the unusual and strange, he is haunted by the spectre of violence that his partners experience, haunted by their memories of the violence they have experienced and how that violence shapes their relationship with him: their fears, discomforts, and inability to trust yet another man who could bring violence into their lives. The past keeps intruding into the present of his relationships, shaping his understanding and experience of the world around him. The world is shaped by convergences of different pasts, different stories and ways of articulating experiences and, as Matthew is told by Freya “I love the past. It’s the only thing we can change” (223). Reality is a series of permeable worlds, a series of stories extending into the past and the future, constituting our experience in the moment as one that is made up of our accumulated past stories and our accumulated imaginings about the present. Bechtel invites readers into this space of flexible reality, a place of pondering the intersection of possibilities and a place where stories construct US.
Like Matthew, we want a way to explain the world, especially when haunted by the ever-present spectre of violence.
To read more about Greg Becthel’s work, visit his website at gregbechtel.ca
To check out Boundary Problems and other Freehand Books publications, visit their website at http://www.freehand-books.com/.