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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“His dad Hugh Everett was a theoretical physicist at Princeton, who, I don’t know if he invented the multiverse theory, but if he didn’t invent it, he refined it.” I wonder where this is going.

Mark found his father, Hugh, dead of a sudden heart attack, she continued. “He was a very distant father. So there were two children. [After] the father died, the daughter, Mark Everett’s sister, committed suicide so that she could be with her father in a parallel universe.”

“Oh my God,” was all I could muster. The sadness and dangerousness of theoretical physics. Like love songs. It’s all about attraction and separation isn’t it?

“It was horrible. So Mark Everett is the last of his family left. He went to Princeton and talked to his father’s colleagues and tried to understand the multiverse theory so he could find out who his dad was. And the BBC did a documentary about him. So I went to see them speak, these physicists and Mark. There was a Q&A with the audience and the last question, this woman asked the physicist, ‘So is heaven...when you die, do you just go to a parallel universe? Is that what heaven is?’”

“Is that what heaven is?” Song title!

“None of the physicists wanted to touch this question. They looked at each other and then finally one of them said, ‘It’s possible.’”

“How could it not be possible?” I ask, carried away by the novelty of the idea.

“Right,” she says. “But if it’s true, the you that’s in the parallel universe—is that the real you, and the one here is the specter?”

I feel myself being shifted, flung, back and forth between potential universes. Heaven. And, of course, I remind myself, hell. My gloomy side prompts me to say, “And there could also be a million suffering yous.”

“Exactly, exactly,” says Rosanne, who does, after all, write about suffering.


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