Rosanne Cash and the Many Meanings of Love

One of the most gifted singer-songwriters of our time talks love, science and the deep space between men and women

Rosanne Cash, the daughter of Johnny Cash, is not a country and western singer in the tradition of her famous father. She's American music's theoretical physicist of love. (Deborah Feingold)
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“I had a conversation with Brian Greene [the celebrated physicist and author]. I asked him if God was the unified field. Greene’s response, she says: ‘It depends on your definition of God.’

“Theoretical physics is like a religion to me,” Cash continues, “and I have a lot of friends who are scientists. And I can only grasp this little part over here. I have a friend Lisa Randall, she’s one of the top theoretical physicists at Harvard. She just came out with a book, Knocking on Heaven’s Door. She’s very pragmatic about all of this stuff even though she’s a theoretical physicist. But a lot of her colleagues go way off into parallel universes.”

“Multiverses?” I say (realizing only later that songs are multi-verses, in more ways than one).

“Multiverse theory” is the idea much discussed recently in theoretical physics that there may be a potentially infinite number of possible universes encompassing all possible eventualities, in which infinitesimal and grand differences play themselves out.

“It’s freeing to me,” Rosanne says. “The choices I’m making in another universe might be better, but they might be worse. I might be doing pretty well.”

She says her friend Randall is a multiverse skeptic. “She thinks it’s narcissism.”

“Why narcissism?”

“Because she doesn’t think that every choice you do or don’t make opens up a parallel universe. It’s not all centered around you.”

Then Rosanne tells this amazing story that might be very sad or very uplifting depending on which emotional universe you’re currently inhabiting.

“Do you know the band the Eels? OK, it’s not a very well-known band. Mark Everett, it’s basically him.


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