I just came back from watching the film Possible Worlds. Its main theme is somewhat reminiscent of Sliding Doors, but expands on the idea to more, I think, abstract levels. I liked the film, and will likely see it again.
The stories flick regularly between what George, the main character, sees, and the ‘real’ world, but the latter almost seem irrelevant, there only to give the story an anchoring context, to make it appear complete.
George's thoughts/dreams revolve around Joyce, his wife in ‘reality’. In those private spaces, he experiences the varied possible ways things could have turned out between him and Joyce. Some of those scenes made me wish I weren't in his shoes!
This film portrays the ‘what if’ concept taken to its full conclusion. George sees each possible outcome as a separate world, and sees himself living in all those worlds simultaneously.
I am envious of George in the way that he can experience those dreams without reference to the ‘real’ world; he experiences them as though he were really there. In any case, this highlights my point that ‘reality’ is really irrelevant, it's what you perceive that counts.
But in all of us, there are many possible worlds. How many of them are viable is largely a question of how wide we're willing to open our minds. It's a question I must constantly remind myself of: though I consider myself an opportunist, the spectre of pride (among other emotions) stops me from trying all the choices out.
Maybe it's time to seek out and rebuild all the possible worlds destroyed by past ignorance. One of those worlds may turn out to be utopia.