DIsclaimer: This is personal interpretation based on in-game perception.
As a precursor to this topic, please review other discussions and interpretations of the bioshock infinite timeline or multiverse, or at least peruse the ones found here:
Also keep in mind these very poignant quotes from the narrative.
"The mind of the subject will desperately struggle to create memories where none exist…" R. Lutece
"Brother, what Comstock failed to understand is that our contraption is a window not into prophecy, but probability. But his money means the Lutece Field could become the Lutece Tear -- a window between worlds. A window through which you and I might finally be together." -R. Lutece
"You see, The Founders ain't nothing but weeds: Cut'em down, they'll just grow back. If you wanna get rid of the weed, you got to pull it up from the root." - Daisy Fitzroy
- The bioshock multiverse/timeline is very dependent on probability. Constants and variables do occur across infinite worlds, or 'lines', but those constants and variables do not hold the same weight. It is all about perspective. For example, the probability that an inanimate object is different across the lines is small. Still could happen, but for the most part a rock in one of the lines is a rock in another. It is much more probable that the rock is in different positions across lines, or that a rock is now part of a wall. As a counter to this, persons are much more variable in the micro and not as much in the macro; for instance, what you have for dinner or when you have it may vary across different lines, but that you had dinner is much less variable. Again, this is all based on probability, so if you only eat pizza like that freak on "weird eaters", the probability that you had pizza for one meal across all the different lines is high.
- Bioshock multiverses or "lines" are discrete, though may be very similar. This confuses Elizabeth early on when she questions whether or not she is the cause of the destruction caused by the vox in her intent to bring Chen Lin back.
- Tears can pull in from the same spatial point and time reference or different lines or even the same lines, or may not. It appears than those tears that pull in from very similar lines take less effort, and those that do not take more effort, shown by the changes of ability after Elizabeth gets the full extent of her power.
- Tears mixes peas with porridge and the effects are "fuzzy" at best. Opening tears in the immediate vicinity of recently deceased causes intense trauma to those counterparts who are still alive in the other tear. Counterpart individuals who are torn through realities can absorb the memories of their similar deceased counterpart, which does cause a strain that manifests itself a la "the butterfly effect" as a nosebleed. However, persons who are very different can die, even in the presence of their counterpart and seemingly not affect the other, shown when Booker murders Comstock, and gets none of those memories. Persons whose bodies are split across tears gain the ability to become aware of tears and use them. Using tears "dilutes" the person who you are/were/will be in the original line you came from.
- Because of the first Lutece quote above "The mind of the subject will desperately struggle to create memories where none exist…", the whole observation and backstory of the first person, Booker, is highly suspect. The best we can say is that the story as we have perceived it, is the amalgamation of at least two Bookers, but may be more.
- I adore the fact that Lutece is the same person but a different gender. Bonus points if you can find a term that refers to this, kinda like homonyms or homophones. (Kinda reminds me of that guy's special in darkstalkers where he turns the male characters female in order to suck their blood). It would make sense that two (or more!) equally brilliant counterparts across two lines would be working on the same technology to communicate across lines, only to communicate with the other. It is a wonderful part of the story, and that they act as a duo across lines is equally fascinating. My question is, what is the probability that there are more Rosalinds than Roberts? Also, are they all working in tandem across all the tears? Do they all think the same thing? I can only hope yes.
- Also I want Lutece to have been the one to have killed that lighthouse guard, in order to cement Booker's delusion/memory change. Another variable!
- The presence of multiple elizabeths at the end presumes either that there were multiple instances of Comstock stealing multiple elizabeths, which also presumes multiple Bookers selling their Annas. Or that neo-Elizabeth brought them all there as a sort of death squad. Both possibilities are great.
- Confused by the playback of Lutece pulling 20-year later Booker through a tear, wherein Rosalind remarks about the AD brand on his hand. Surely, if this had been the 123rd Booker they would have noticed it by now and had been old news, along with all the pictures on the wall about the false prophet and the mark, AND how they knew about the number 77 softball but not the mark that gave him away... But all in all it could also be "The mind of the subject will desperately struggle to create memories where none exist…" or this could have been the memory of the first Booker that had merged with the memories of this Booker. I wonder if Lutece tried using a pre-branded Booker as to create a deception? No mark = no false prophet. Maybe gave him a good haircut as a disguise as well?
- Also along the lines of the 123rd Booker, Columbia wasn't looking so bad before our Booker got there. It's doesn't look as though 122 other Bookers shot up the place first. So, at least 122 other Columbias?
- Comstock could have seen just one tear in which Elizabeth turns fire-and-brimstone and been convinced of prophecy. He could've seen a bigger poll of a thousand. What are the odds on that?
- You have to tear it up by the root. So Elizabeth goes back and kills pre-Baptism Booker to kill Comstock and, well, regular Booker. My problem is that the root doesn't start there. If you ascribe to the infinite lines theory, there must have been infinite lines before that singular instance. So, there very well may have been infinite Bookers in infinite lines already at wounded knee. The question I have is, what is the probability that Booker would seek out Baptism, and what probability of those would end in Booker accepting a Baptism, and what probability of those would end up in Comstock having a crazy vision? And now, is Elizabeth going to kill them all? Or are there infinite situations in which infinite Bookers and infinite Elizabeths make the same decision, and all pre-Baptism Bookers were simarily murdered? Argh my head is starting to hurt.
I welcome any and all thoughts. I am aware that this post is a little past the post of fervent discussion, but I just can't stop thinking about all the probabilities.