Own Your Own Universe: Buyer Beware of Fakes


For the credulous person who has everything–why not a title deed to their own universe? If we live in a multiverse in which every possible outcome to every event splits the universe into two universes following their own separate time-lines, then there must be a nearly infinite number of universes.


So these enterprising folks are offering title deeds to your very own universe. You scoff. But as they explain, if all possible universes exist, then surely one for which you hold the deed must also exist and so you are in fact its owner. Sample deed below.

Authority for Universe Ownership Certificate

Too good to be true? Well, physicist Paul Davies points out that there is the problem of simulated universes.

Among the myriad universes similar to ours will be some in which technological civilizations advance to the point of being able to simulate consciousness. Eventually, entire virtual worlds will be created inside computers, their conscious inhabitants unaware that they are the simulated products of somebody else's technology. For every original world, there will be a stupendous number of available virtual worlds -- some of which would even include machines simulating virtual worlds of their own, and so on ad infinitum.

Taking the multiverse theory at face value, therefore, means accepting that virtual worlds are more numerous than ''real'' ones. There is no reason to expect our world -- the one in which you are reading this right now -- to be real as opposed to a simulation.
So you just might be getting a deed to a fake universe.

NEXT: Right(ish) Answer, Wrong Arithmetic

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  1. Hat tip! Finally something lamer than the “gift” of naming a star after someone.

    Rocky Mozell must be pissed!

  2. I always thought the multiverse was a commons problem just waiting to be solved.

  3. So, like, dude, what if we where all trapped in The Matrix, man?

  4. Not every person will be able to own their own universe. If there are N people in a universe (assumed to be constant), then each time one new universe arises so do N more people. Even though both quantities are infinite, there will be more people than universes, hence they can be treated as a scarce resource.

    Also, if you define a universe by a single life like that company intends, an infinite number of timelines pass through it. Sure, things could go better after you get that new BMW, but there’s also a history where you die the next day.

    I’d take a virtual world. It’d be like The Matrix!

  5. I meant that the universes are scarce, and that they are defined by events, not lives. Should’ve previewed that comment.

  6. My cat’s breath smells like cat food.

  7. I think the problem in your logic Savantster is you assume that anyone in the universe wants to buy crap like this; much less a large percentage of them.

  8. “I’ve been investing a little bit of the band income. I’ve heard that the place to go is real estate. So I took the liberty of purchasing three planets for the band. I got Planet Jemaine, Planet Bret, and Murrayland. Planet Murray was taken, but I figure Murrayland has a good sound to it. I figure that when we get out there, we might discover that our planets are full of resources. Planet Bret could be filled with coal. Imagine that. A planet full of coal.”

  9. Is there a universe with a simulation where I have magical powers? I want the deed to that universe.

  10. So if I buy a deed to an alternate universe, that means a large number of alternate versions of myself have also bought the same deed.

    This is all just a ploy to make some extra-dimensional lawyers a lot of money, isn’t it?

  11. I want the deed to the universe where I am Hugh Hefner’s son!

  12. I call for immediate legislation to regulate multiverse ownership and to ensure fair trade of universes.

  13. Naga,

    Unfortunately, in that universe you were born with syphilis and died in childhood. Emperor Hefner has no male heir and pretenders are riddled with staple guns on sight.

  14. I thought DC was in it’s own little universe. Clearly, reality-based laws don’t operate the same there.

  15. BTW, I just observed my own universe, fixing the solution, and collapsed all of your universes. Your deeds are worthless.

    Oh, and some freaked out cat owned by this dude Schrodinger is pissed.

  16. I want the deed to Earth-2. I always liked it better than Earth-1.

  17. “better than moon property”. Classic.

  18. …there must be a nearly infinite number of universes.

    People throw around the term “infinite” too freely, when they really mean “a staggeringly large but still finite number”.

    Strictly speaking, zero is as “nearly infinite” as a googolplex.

  19. savantster at 11:44–Infinity doesn’t work like that. There will indeed be the same number of universes as people in that case, in the same way that there are just as many even integers as integers as a whole.

    So that means this company is totally legit, man!

  20. God tried to pawn off his deed to this universe on eBay, but some muckety-muck canceled the sale. Nobody would’ve wanted the rickety-ass thing, anyhow.

  21. If Obama is elected I swear I’m moving to the alternate Canada.

  22. For Sale:

    Cosmic Treadmill. 1 owner, fully retconned.

  23. If you can find me the universe where I have a Tantalus Field, I’ll buy that one right now.

  24. “If we live in a multiverse in which every possible outcome to every event splits the universe into two universes following their own separate time-lines, then there must be a nearly infinite number of universes.”

    Actually, there is an infinite number, period. Whether that number is countably infinite or uncountably infinite is open to debate.

    Also, choosing an event as a way of identifying universes has the effect of specifying an infinite number of universes as well — a whole -plex of universes, which include and branch off from the given event. Perhaps “identification by event” should be seen as indicating the ROOT universe that contains the specified event, with the children universes being up for grabs (although that opens up questions of “what is time” and whether there truly is IF-THEN causality in the multiverse).

    Is a simulated universe any less real than a “real” one? As far as dealing with this question, I found “The 13th Floor” to be a lot more satisfying than “The Matrix.” Several episodes of the various Star Trek series have also ploughed this field fairly well.

    I find the scarcity arguments underwhelming. If there are an infinite number of universes for each person, and an infinite number of universes branching off from any particular event, where is the scarcity? Just because our ability to pinpoint and distinguish between subtly different universes may be crude at this time, that doesn’t mean we won’t get better at it, opening up more universe “bandwidth” with better technology over time. So best NOT to begin with an FCC for universes based on a specious “scarcity” argument. We’ve seen how that story goes in the electromagnetic spectrum, and we don’t need to repeat the experience to know we don’t like it.

  25. SugarFree,

    Then I’ll buy the one where I survive my bout with syphilis and go on to man whore my way through the mansion.

  26. Iris Allen | July 28, 2008, 12:44pm | #
    For Sale:

    Cosmic Treadmill. 1 owner, fully retconned.

    Are you sure you want to sell? I hear the original owner is coming back.

  27. Naga,

    Just wrap up your willy. (Or occasionally hop on over to the Heinleinverse, where they cured all STDs with time travel and incest.)

  28. David (not that one)

    Strictly speaking, zero is as “nearly infinite” as a googolplex.

    One is, but I don’t know about zero. That’s dizzying to think about.

  29. You guys are wasting your time.

  30. pardon me, a cosmic ray must have struck a neuron in my head, causing me to mispell my own name.

  31. Hello leggy blonde.

  32. There is no reason to expect our world — the one in which you are reading this right now — to be real as opposed to a simulation.

    Clearly somebody has removed the safeties on this particular holodeck.

  33. I was going to get myself one, but I already have a star named after me and own a plot of land on the moon.

    Why be greedy?

  34. Hey! This could be the next big bubble! It would get us out of this so called recession!

  35. a multiverse containing one universe for every possible outcome of every event would presumably contain a universe in which some life form both develops and utilizes the means to destroy all universes. since we are presumably still here, this scenario can not be possible.

  36. jimmy, not quite. It just hasn’t happened yet. Check the Mayan calendar for the date.

  37. jimmy–I already did that, except for this one. Keep up man!

    Next, I shall create beach front property in Nevada. Miss Tessmocker!!!

  38. I want to own the universe in which Salma Hayek is my insatiable love slave.

    And Hillary Clinton is mute.

    And police officers are penalized if they break into the wrong house and kill the wrong person.

  39. Ron, if we live in a virtual world, then wouldn’t the creator be an … intelligent designer?

    Just causin’ trouble …

  40. In Yakov Smirnoff’s universe, universe owns deed to you!

  41. If Lonewack ever tries to sneak into my universe I’m deporting his sorry ass.

  42. And, yes, his name is “Lonewack” in my universe. All I could afford was a DOS-based universe.

  43. If there are a nearly infinite number of universes, and nearly all of them have a copy of you, then there are nearly an infinite number of you that have deeds to the same universe. The probability that you will be sued by yourself approaches infinity…

    Strictly speaking, zero is as “nearly infinite” as a googolplex.

    Speaking of which, I happen to live down the street from the Googleplex. It’s not massive enough to warp space and time, but it does manage to warp housing prices in the vicinity.

  44. I like the way the deed for the alternate universe shows that only in an alternate universe will this guy’s wife get him a BMW for Christmas.

  45. But the deed doesn’t specify which Christmas! Does that mean that if his loving wife Karen Thompson presents him with a BMW at a future Christmas, that he owns THIS universe?

  46. This would appear to be infinitely pointless.

  47. What we are forgetting here is that not everything is possible. There is no possible world in which 1 is not equal to 1. If there is, then my if statement is meaningless… maybe. You see, messing with logic is beyond ourselves. Therefore, logic must work in all possible universes. If you doubt me, I will counter with an infinite regress!

    Anyway, not everything is possible, and I suspect that one of those impossible things is for an entity in one universe to claim ownership over another, casually disconnected universe. After all, how would you enforce your rights? And how would anything in the universe you purport to own even know that you, an entity in another universe, own them?

  48. And wouldn’t buying one of these certificates make you lose ownership over all universes that would have been yours if you did not buy a certificate?

  49. I just wanna be in the universe where I run the nude women’s prison for 18 to 28 year old bisexual women gymnists hot for fat, middle aged bureaucrats – it there are infinite universies, than thats the one I want.

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