I have recently been binge-watching the excellent Devs, the 8-episode limited FX series from Alex Garland (Ex Machina, Annihilation) that revolves around the mysterious ‘Devs’ division of the fictional tech firm, Amaya.
Those who have watched the show will know that it touches on a number of topics that we’ve discussed here previously, from questions regarding determinism vs free will, through the ‘Simulation hypothesis‘, to weird ideas arising out of quantum physics such as ‘quantum suicide‘ and the Many Worlds hypothesis.
Interestingly, my viewing of the final episodes of the show was marked by a series of synchronicities revolving around the name Amaya (both the name of the tech firm, and the CEO’s daughter). I say interesting, because of the way the themes explored in the show link in to an idea about synchronicities that I posted here last year. But I’m getting ahead of myself.
My youngest daughter’s name is Maya, but I had never heard of Amaya before (sheltered life maybe?) – so I was intrigued what its provenance was. The next day at work, I received an email from someone by the name of…Amaya. Strange synchronicity, or Baader-Meinhof phenomenon at work?
That night, after watching the next episode (the penultimate one of the series), during the credits I noticed out of the corner of my eye that one of the actors’ names was actually Amaya (okay, that one can probably be put down to Baader-Meinhof). I searched it up, and came across an article that mentioned that the child actor who played Amaya is apparently named that in real life – Amaya Mizuno-Andre, niece of one of the lead actors in the show, Sonoya Mizuno (Lily).
The universe wasn’t going to let things slide though, as the name of the author of the article (which incorporated an interview with Devs creator Alex Garland) was…Erik Amaya. Not only that, but in the interview, he specifically mentions the name recurrence as a synchronicity (a little like the meta-synchronicities I wrote about in the article mentioned earlier).
For this writer, Devs definitely connected in no small part because of the weird synchronicity of sharing a last name with Forest’s company.
“It must be kind of weird to see that suddenly you’re the head of the corporation that does quantum computing,” Garland quipped when he noted the connection.
As it happens, the name was chosen because the girl who plays its enigmatic face is also named Amaya: Amaya Mizuno-Andre. Often Japanese in origin, the name also appears to enter the Romance languages from the Basque Country — though opinions do differ — where it translates from Euskera into English as “the beginning of the end” or simply “the end.”
“Oh my God, that is hilarious!” Garland said upon hearing about the Basque origin. “That was completely unintentional.”
It’s a nice bunch of synchronicities, but the reason I felt moved to write about it was that the syncs were happening in relation to a show that (in parts at least) discussed the possibility of simulating reality in detail via a super-powerful quantum computer. As mentioned, last year I wrote an article titled “Beyond Time and Space: Are synchronicities evidence that our universe is made of information“, which discussed ideas put forth by Jacques Vallee – namely, how synchronicities could be explained if we considered that the cosmos is in fact generated out of information at its most base level.
As Jacques noted:
The theory of space and time is a cultural artifact made possible by the invention of graph paper. If we had invented the digital computer before graph paper, we might have a very different theory of information today… What modern computer scientists have realized is that ordering by space and time is the worst possible way to store data…[if] we live in the associate universe of the software scientist rather than the Cartesian sequential universe of the space-time physicist, then miracles are no longer irrational events…[instead], we may be traversing incidents by association.
If you believe that the universe is a universe of ‘information’, then you should expect coincidences. You should expect, since we are an information machine – that’s what our brain is, it’s primarily an information machine and consciousness gives us the illusion of a physical world and there is an illusion of time – if this is the case, then you can expect coincidences. It’s like putting a keyword into Google or Yahoo!; you put it in and get a lot of relevant information back. That doesn’t seem strange to me because that is the way that information has been organized. Maybe the universe is the same way. If it is this way, then coincidences are nothing strange. It is just an indication that this is the way that the universe functions.
So, primed with that concept already, it felt to me that the ‘Amaya’ synchronicities I experienced – in connection to a storyline that touches on these ideas – was like the universe winking at me.
So you can imagine how it felt then, when during the final episode – which we decided to watch immediately after I had finished my search for Amaya, with its little syncs – our TV weirdly rebooted itself at the exact perfect moment in the climax of the story. I can’t say exactly what was happening due to spoilers, but believe me that it was so beautifully timed that my wife and I thought it was an ‘effect’ meant to happen as part of the storyline. I literally could not have edited it into the show any better with conscious purpose. (For those in the know: the elevator decision).
So, do I take that all as a fun bunch of coincidental weirdness…or is the universe letting me in on the secret that we’re in a simulation running within a super-powerful computer?