264: Choices: Part 1

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Choices: Part 1
Wait, damn, I think I spotted a new email on the last refresh.
Title text: Wait, damn, I think I spotted a new email on the last refresh.


Megan is sitting at her computer, not waiting for a particular mail, but still refreshing every few seconds. This is an illustration of boredom and pointlessness in life. But suddenly the wall in front of her is opening. She considers running for the door, but curiosity overtakes her. She enters the hole, closes it behind her, and with that, she enters a different world. The hole appears as if it is a rip in a sheet of paper, implying that since they are drawings (which they are)[citation needed], this would be essentially a hole in space-time from their perspective. Most people would run away from such a thing, but Megan seems to feel that since she is currently bored (shown by the fact that she is constantly refreshing her E-mail), this is a break from her normal life, and she may not fully be realizing/acknowledging the inherent dangers of leaving her realm into an unknown universe.

In the title text, she worries that she is missing an email, though, much as a person often does resist breaking from routine.

This series was released on five consecutive days (Monday to Friday) and not over the usual schedule of three comics a week. These are all the comics in Choices series:


[Megan sits at a desk, using a computer, refreshing the page.]
[She sits back and looks at the monitor.]
[She refreshes the page on the computer.]
[She sits back and looks at the monitor.]
[Megan leans forward and clicks the mouse.]
[A hole opens up in the panel. It appears to be the torn paper of the comic itself. A light-blue, sky-like background is revealed. Megan jumps in surprise, nearly tipping over her chair.]
[Megan stands up as the chair falls over completely.]
[Wide view. Megan looks back at the door furtively.]
[She begins to climb into the hole.]
[By now, Megan is entirely inside the hole. She is closing it behind her.]
[Only her head and arms are visible.]
[The hole is closed, revealing a formation of ripped paper.]
[Large frame, where Megan appears to be in space, with blue not black background. Stars dot the sky, and rays of light seem to originate from a point to the right, and then traverse the frame both horizontally and vertically, almost like lightning. Megan is in a bubble, floating disconnectedly. Both she and the bubble have become white, tinged against the backdrop.]


The text "Megan is in a bubble" is from the original transcript by Randall. At all other lines in that transcript, she is just "a girl".

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Megan dreams

At the parts 1 to 4 Megan is dreaming. This becomes more clear in part 4 where the clone says: "You'll forget this trip...". So the dream should be part of the explanation.--Dgbrt (talk) 11:31, 1 July 2013 (UTC)

Citing from part 4:
Megan: Am I going to wake up thinking this was a dream?
Clone: This is... think of this as after the game, outside the theatre.
If she is dreaming, she certainly does not realize it!
"You will forget this trip..:" does not indicate that it's a dream, does it? –St.nerol (talk) 14:24, 2 July 2013 (UTC)
So, is Megan at our "real world" or just having a mystic dream?--Dgbrt (talk) 15:10, 2 July 2013 (UTC)
That is a false dilemma. She enters another world, which seems to be something like the afterlife. Just because supernatural or absurd things happen, we can't draw the conclusion that some main character is dreaming! Cf. 1013: Wake Up Sheeple.
One concern Randall has expressed more than once — about the unhealthy tendency of people to leap to conclusions and then feel certain without proof — is manifest on Explain XKCD frequently when people irrationally make claims of certitude about the meaning of a cartoon. In Conspiracy Theories Cueball talks about how theorists are sometimes correct but always (methodologically) wrong because they lack proof. Likewise the OP in this thread states with certainty something that is no more than a guess. Another example is Certainty, making a similar point in regard to political discussion. It's scary that someone can see comics like those ones that come right before this, and still make the irrational mistake of conflating evidence with proof. That you think you figured something out doesn't mean it's definite. When you read into what someone says, you are only guessing, and feeling certain shows your worldview is too simplistic. —Kazvorpal (talk) 15:01, 29 October 2019 (UTC)

Who else would probably do this if it happened to them? I have to admit I probably would, even though technically a hole in reality would be the most likely thing to kill me horribly ever. -Pennpenn 02:38, 10 February 2015 (UTC)

As I learned in science class, horizontal cracks in the universe lead to Amy Pond's bedroom. In other words, yes, I'm going through the crack. 09:17, 16 September 2015 (UTC)

Surely you're more likely to be killed horribly by any of a large number of other things. (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)

Not necessarily! Have you ever *seen* a hole in reality? If not, that may be because such phenomena are so destructive that any universe in which they occur is destroyed in horrendous cataclysm. It is possible that the reason we do not observe holes in reality is that such holes annihilate any universe in which they occur. In such case, it could be argued that *if* such a hole existed, it would then be more (100%) likely to kill you than any other thing (heart disease: 28%). This indirectly pertains to my phobia of being killed by a meteorite: It is perfectly reasonable to fear riding in automobiles (auto accidents are the leading cause of death for ages 18-35) & they can be avoided, therefore a strong aversion to riding in autos is reasonable, not necessarily a phobia. (Off topic: Contrast with the miniscule fraction of people killed by bullets; Yet guns are considered by many to be a more serious danger than cars. In practical terms, regulating car use would save far more lives annually than regulating guns. Why? Cars are simply more common & have an absurdly high rate of criminal misuse. If any other product were dangerously misused as frequently as automobiles, that product would face severe litigational barriers or outright prohibition.) A human being killed by meteorite is exceptionally rare (so far) but cannot reasonably be avoided; In such a case what makes the aversion an unreasonable "phobia" is not the low actual likelihood of occurrence, but the futility of practicing avoidant behavior. In the case of potential risk related to holes in reality, I would guess that they fall neatly into the "incredibly dangerous & difficult to avoid" zone of this particular Venn diagram. Much more dangerous than cheese. (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)
Comments like these make me believe that we should try and get <rant></rant> tags approved in the html standard and make browsers render them as blank space unless you click on them. I could write a bigger rant in response to this, because, you know, someone is wrong on the internet. But I will restrain myself. 01:43, 17 April 2016 (UTC)
A more likely reason we don't see a "hole" in reality is that it could be invisible from inside the universe. Light and everything else may just go around it, being limited to functioning in this universe. At best, it'd probably bounce off. But perfect mirrors can be hard to see if they're a hole in reality. And just as likely, anything passing into the "hole" may cease to exist. Remember that one reasonable model of matter and energy is that they are condition states of the fabric of the universe, itself. If an atom is just a collection of quarks that each are nothing more than the status of a quantum of universe, then they can no more leave that fabric than a the characters on your screen can leap off and run around on the desk in front of you. They would cease to exist, because they're just a condition of the display you're looking at. Your body may simply be a data state of the universe where you are, like the pixels on your monitor. — Kazvorpal (talk) 15:10, 29 October 2019 (UTC)