BioShock Infinite

BioShock Infinite

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GDFa Aug 28, 2015 @ 12:35pm
A different approach (Theory) [SPOILERS]
WARNING: BIOSHOCK INFINITE SPOILERS AHEAD!

This theory is my attempt to explain many details left over for interpretation on Bioshock Infinite's story, and to clarify the plot without leaving any "hole".

I'll be explaining many in-depht aspects of the story that most ending theories do not approach on. This is not an "ending explained" text, altough it has a brief explanation on the ending as a story recap, but rather a profound theory, for those who want to understand the game's story more deeply.

Feel free to leave a comment on what you think of my theory, or point out something I missed, it will be a big help! :)

Story recap (a brief explanation on the ending of Bioshock Infinite):
I'll start the story recap with Booker's past.

Booker's past:
Booker is a private detective with gambling and drinking problems.
He owes a debt to someone.
Comstock appears and offers to pay the debt for him in exchange for Booker's daughter, Anna.
Booker accepts, trades his daughter for the paid debt.
He regrets this decision, tries to get his daughter back from Comstock.
Anna gets her finger caught in the tear closing.
Booker lives with his regret for 19 years.
During this 19 years Comstock raises Anna as his daugher and renames her Elizabeth.
After 19 years, the Luteces show up, give Booker a chance for him to be once again together with his daughter, and so, bring him to Columbia.
Then the events of Bioshock Infinite happen.

Then, near the end of the game, Elizabeth brings Booker to the Sea of Doors, a space between realities where you find "million, million doors", each one being a doorway to a reality. Booker then relives his past and "remembers" everything he's done to Elizabeth. Elizabeth takes him to a place in his past where he decided to present himself at a baptism in order to get forgiveness for the things he'd done during the Battle of Wounded Knee.
And then, other versions of Elizabeth appear and they all drown Booker before he makes the choice to either accept or deny the baptism.
But why did Elizabeth do that?
Because when Booker chooses to accept the baptism, he becomes Comstock.
How can Booker be Comstock?
Booker is Comstock in a different reality.
Booker accepting the baptism and becoming Comstock is a reality, and Booker denying the baptism and "staying" as himself as a private detective with gambling and drinking problems is another reality.
And how does this "multiple realities" work in Bioshock Infinite?
That will be explained in this theory.

I'll start my theory explaining it's base premise for Bioshock Infinite's universe: one universe, multiple realities.
But how can there be "multiple realities" but only one universe?
As evidence for this premise, there's Lutece's recording "Whispers Through the Walls", and the way Rosalind communicated with herself in the other reality.

"The Lutece Field entangled my quantum atom with waves of light, allowing for safe measurement. Sound familiar, brother? That's because you were measuring precisely the same atom from a neighboring world. We used the universe as a telegraph. Switching the field on or off became dots and dashes. Dreadfully slow -- but now, you and I could whisper through the wall..." - Rosalind Lutece (recording "Whispers Through the Walls")

To explain this recording, I'll have to use the duality of electrons concept. For those who doesn't know, electrons have both particle and wave "behavior", as seen in Louis de Broglie's theory regarding the wave-particle duality, making those describable by a wave funcion (quantum mechanics wave funcion postulate). Rosalind, using the Lutece Field, managed to "entangle" the atom with waves of light, making it possible to measure this atom. And by measuring it, it means the electrons in it were "behaving" as single particles, and no longer in a duality way.

And the fact that her brother was measuring exactly the same atom that she was, means that there couldn't be various universes, but one single universe with various realities, and all these realities "have" the same atoms presenting different "forms" in each one. So, when Rosalind "got" her quantum atom to "behave" as a single particle, she stopped it's duality, and as this atom exists in all dimensions, it also started "behaving" as a single particle in Robert's dimension. This allowed them to communicate by "Switching the field on or off", since when Rosalind switches the field on, the quantum atom starts "behaving" as a single particle instead of in a duality way, and Robert is able to see it from his dimension, allowing them to send messages in morse code, determined by how long they switch the field on (dots being a short time and dashes a long time).

So, a question remais: if an atom "travels" from one reality to another, how can this atom be in different "forms" in the same reality? Because Robert did go to Rosalind's reality, and they are both the same "amount" of atoms (if Robert is Rosalind in another reality, then they are the same atoms but in different "ways", once there's only one universe), and he stayed in the same reality as her for quite some time.

To answer this question I'll have to explain how trans-dimensional travel works. Since the same atom exists in a "different way" in each reality, to change between realities, the atom would have to theoretically change it's state to a non-specific one, a quantum superposition. A quantum superposition is a state in which the atom is not in any specific form, in other words, if you "gather" all the "different ways" in which the atom is across the realities into a single one, this atom would be in a quantum superposition state, because it wouldn't be in any of those specific "ways", but in all of them at the same time. So, since the quantum superposition state is the only thing that different realities have in common with each other (main assumption of this theory), to travel between realities the atom would have to enter a brief quantum superposition state (because it is all it's forms across the realities) and then enter another different reality, where it is in a different form. Therefore, the quantum superposition state may be seen as the "connection" between different realities.

This also explains Lutece's theory: "The mind of the subject will desperately struggle to create memories where none exist...", because when the atom enters a quantum superposition state, it loses it's specific "characteristics", thus causing memory lost and confusion related to being in another reality. Furthermore, as we see in the gameplay of Bioshock Infinite, altough trans-dimensional travel causes memory lost and confusion, these symptons cease after sometime (Booker did not have confusion and nose bleed all the time, but just when he arrived in Comstock's reality, and during the times he "remembered" something he had forgotten after the trans-dimensional travel). This can be explained by considering that the confusion and nose bleed is related to the quantum superposition state, specifically because of the lost of specific characteristics caused by it. So, as time goes on and Booker is staying in a different reality, his atoms are setting again their specific "form" (thus "he's manufacturing new memories from his old ones" - Robert Lutece), and when this happens, he is no longer in a quantum superposition state, since he's now "acquired" new specific "characteristics" from his old ones, no longer presenting "all the characteristics in one", but only this new one associated to this new reality. And, when someone or something cause Booker to remember something related to his old reality, the connection between the dimensions is briefly re-established, causing a slight quantum superposition "simulation" (because of the "gathering" of more than one specific characteristic (memorie) across realities).

Now, regarding Elizabeth's state after drowning Booker at the end of Bioshock infinite.

When she drowned Booker, she kept him from ever making the choice of either accepting or denying the baptism. However, that only happened in the dimensions in which Booker was going to accept the baptism and become Comstock. This is the case because when Elizabeth brought Booker to the Sea of Doors to "show" him the events on his past, she actually merged him with his past version each time they entered a reality from his past (when he sees an event from his past, it is actually him merged with himself in the past, re-living that event). This can be seen as Booker does exactly the same actions he did in the past, so the "current" Booker that Elizabeth brought there is just acting as a spectator, and he also gets physical changes according to his past version, as we see when his AD brand disappears when he merges with the past version of himself that hasn't branded it yet.

So, as we see, Elizabeth merges Booker with two "pre-baptism" versions of himself (not simultaneously, but first with one version, and "later" with the other), one refused the baptism, and the other was drowned by the many versions of Elizabeth. These other versions of Elizabeth were actually "base" versions of her, or, in other words, "minor quantum superpositions". Since quantum superpositions are the "gathering" of all the "ways" an atom can be across the realities, a "minor quantum superposition" is the "gathering" of only some selected "ways". Like, when we see the many Elizabeths in the final baptism scene, each one is actually a "group" of many Elizabeths "merged" in a single one with just a few specific characteristics (the bird or cage brooch, for instante, which is a very specific characteristic which variates across the realities, is not present in any of the groups of merged Elizabeths in the final baptism scene, since they present only major characteristics from each group which are common in all of merged Elizabeths). This "merge" also happens with the Booker in the final baptism scene, with him being the "current" Booker merged with all his past versions that accepted the baptism. So, in other worlds, the Booker in the final baptism scene is actually a "minor quantum superposition" presenting the major characteristic of accepting the baptism.

This makes possible for Elizabeth to drown Booker only in the realities where he chose to accept the baptism, keeping only Comstock's realities from ever existing. So, if Booker was only drowned in the realities where he chose to accept the baptism, all the others in which he denied it kept existing. The fact that Elizabeth wasn't existing only in Comstock's reality, but in both Comstock's and Booker's at the same time (since her pinky is in one reality and her body is in the other one), added to the fact that only Comstock's one ceased to exist, and that Elizabeth was the only factor that caused the drowning event to happen (since that baptism had already happened, and what differs the one that already happened from the one that Booker was drowned was the presence of Elizabeth), made it possible for her to not cease to exist as the realities of Comstock did. And so, since only Comstock's realities faded away and Elizabeth's presence was set mostly in those, her versions stayed without a reality to be set in with "specific characteristics", causing her to become a quantum superposition (all the specific "ways" she was set in each dimension "gathered" in a single version).

Now, regarding the post-credit scene.

Booker is, as we see in the scene after the credits of Bioshock Infinite, alive (existing) after the drowning event on the final baptism scene. To explain this, I'll first have to explain how the Lutece Tear (device used by Comstock to bring Anna to Columbia, which opens tears connecting dimensions) works. During the Sea of Doors gameplay (the time when Booker relives his past), it is possible to check out that Comstock did not have the common symptons of trans-dimensional travel (confusion, nose bleed and memory lost) when he got to Booker's reality. This happened because he used the Lutece Tear to get there, and this device has a similar way of work with the infusions that we find during the gameplay throughout the game. The infusion (health / shield / salt upgrade) is basically a quantum superposition (all it's 3 "ways of being'' merged in a single form, presenting not a specific characteristic (health or shield or salt) but all 3 of them (health AND shield AND salt), making it "blink", switching between this 3 characteristics, as seen when looked at it), and when Booker picks this infusion and chooses one of the 3 "characteristics", for exemple health, it collapses into a single specific "way" in that reality, and that happens without Booker entering a quantum superposition state to bring the specific characteristic "health" from a quantum superposition (health + shield + sault) to a single form (only health). The same happens with the Lutece Tear, Comstock is able to "access" different realities without entering a quantum superposition state, since the device "does that for him" (just like the infusion, that is already in a quantum superposition state so Booker doesn't need to enter a quantum superposition state before choosing a different specific form of the infusion).

So, if Comstock never entered a quantum superposition state to get to another dimension, his atoms did not "set" their specific form in any other reality (when I explained Luteces theory ("The mind of the subject will desperately struggle to create memories where none exist..."), I pointed that the atom gradually "set" again a specific "way" in the new reality when leaving the quantum superposition state after a trans-dimensional travel), thus his presence is only connected to "his" own reality, Columbia. And as Elizabeth drowned all Bookers that were going to accept the baptism and become Comstock, Comstock never existed, never built Columbia, and also never got a "atom preservation" ("atom preservation" is what happened to Elizabeth when she got her finger caught in the closing tear, making her presence be connected to 2 realities (Booker's and Comstock's) and so, causing an "atom preservation" in Booker's reality even after she had her presence in Comstock's one "erased". This "atom preservation" did not happen with Comstock because his presence was only connected to his own reality, which was "erased'). Hence, Comstock in Booker's dimension also got "erased" along with his other versions in Columbia, causing Booker to never sell his daughter to Comstock. Therefore, Anna is in her crib during the post-credit scene.
Last edited by GDFa; Jan 28, 2017 @ 11:39am
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Showing 1-10 of 10 comments
Mandelbrot Aug 29, 2015 @ 1:16am 
Seems pretty close to how most people interpret it.
Solarmech Aug 29, 2015 @ 5:39am 
Just one point you may not have considered. WhenRobert uses the portal to go to Comstock's reality you can see him on the other side and he does not have a problem. BUT we know that later on after the portal closed he suffered Tear Sickness and almost died. So Comstock not getting Tear Sickness when he entered Booker's reality is likely a function of the Lutece Device. sm
GDFa Aug 29, 2015 @ 12:53pm 
Originally posted by Keyur Joshi:
Seems pretty close to how most people interpret it.

Similar conclusions, different paths.
GDFa Aug 29, 2015 @ 12:54pm 
Originally posted by Solarmech:
Just one point you may not have considered. WhenRobert uses the portal to go to Comstock's reality you can see him on the other side and he does not have a problem. BUT we know that later on after the portal closed he suffered Tear Sickness and almost died. So Comstock not getting Tear Sickness when he entered Booker's reality is likely a function of the Lutece Device. sm

I think I tried to say something like that, please correct me if I'm wrong. In my text I pointed that Comstock did not have the confusion and nose bleed because he used the Lutece Tear to get to Bookers dimension, but not directly because of a function of the device, but because these symptons are connected to the brief quantum superposition state one enters when traveling through dimensions, and he never entered this brief state because he was using the device to access Booker's reality.
Solarmech Aug 29, 2015 @ 1:40pm 
The problem is that when the device Comstock used is turned off, Robert Lutece who used the same portal, *does* get tear Sickness. That would indicate that the device (at that point) worked with a little bit of different set of rules than the tears created by Elizabeth or the ones created by later version such as the one in Rapture. sm
GDFa Aug 29, 2015 @ 1:55pm 
Originally posted by Solarmech:
The problem is that when the device Comstock used is turned off, Robert Lutece who used the same portal, *does* get tear Sickness. That would indicate that the device (at that point) worked with a little bit of different set of rules than the tears created by Elizabeth or the ones created by later version such as the one in Rapture. sm

Oh yes, that's right, now I get what you're trying to say, the device only "secures" one from having the symptons of trans-dimensional travel while turned on, and if turned off (portal closing), the symptons would appear, as they have in Robert after the portal closed.
ryok. Aug 29, 2015 @ 5:10pm 
Amazing, simply amazing.
V12LIVESMATTER Aug 29, 2015 @ 5:29pm 
Wow.. Hats down THE Best explanation of Bioshock Infinite on internet! Thank you sir.
GDFa Aug 29, 2015 @ 6:35pm 
thanks :)
Mandelbrot Aug 30, 2015 @ 1:52am 
I wouldn't call it the best, but it is definitely comprehensive.
In any case, good job.
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Date Posted: Aug 28, 2015 @ 12:35pm
Posts: 10