The Berenstein Bears – The Smoking Gun of The Matrix?

Hollywood has had a great deal of fun with the ideas of time loops, alternate universes, reality shifts, and parallel timelines – “glitch in the Matrix”, “Groundhog Day”, “Back to the Future”, to name a few that have entered our collective consciousness.

But that’s just entertainment.

In our reality, once in a while, something seems to be amiss in a similar manner. Years ago, there was some speculation about the “Mandela Effect”, the idea that many people seem to have remembered that Nelson Mandela died in prison, which, of course, he didn’t.

At least not in this universe.

It seems that this was sort of a “soft glitch”, because only some people remembered the event – one of those cases where you don’t quite remember where you heard the news, but it is in your memory. Perhaps it was just an urban legend that got passed around through word of mouth.

Then, yesterday, one of my friends posted this link on Facebook about the apparent glitch in reality where the Berenstein Bears became the Berenstain Bears:

I remember it being pronounced “Ber-en-steen” and spelled “Berenstein.” Do you? Turns out that not only do all of the friends and colleagues who I asked, but also most of the people who have weighed in on various blogs and articles about this topic throughout the Internet and Twitterverse. The originators of the book series only recall their names as “Berenstain” and seem perplexed by everyone else’s recollection. Is it a case of mass confusion, an example of a parallel universe in action, or a rare and extreme piece of evidence that our reality is purely subjective?

MWI (Many Worlds Interpretation) Quantum theorists would have one possible yet incomplete explanation. In this theory, reality bifurcates constantly every time a quantum mechanical decision needs to be made (which occurs at the subatomic particle level countless times per second, and may be influenced by the observer effect). The figure below demonstrates. At some point, one of the ancestors of Stan and Jan Berenstein, the creators of the Berenstein Bear book series, encountered a situation where his name could have been spelled one of two ways. Perhaps, it was at Ellis Island, where such mistakes were common. For whatever reason, the universe bifurcated into one where the ancestor in question retained his original name, Berenstein, and another where the ancestor received a new spelling of his name, Berenstain (or vice versa; it doesn’t matter). Down the Berenstein path travelled we and/or all of our ancestors. Our doppelgängers went down the Berenstain path.


According to MWI, all of these realities exist in something called Hilbert Space and there is no ability to travel from one to another. This is where MWI fails, because we are all in the Berenstain path now, but seem to remember the Berenstein path. So, for some reason (reality just messing with us?) we all jumped from one point in Hilbert Space to another. If Hilbert Space allowed for this, then this idea might have some validity. But it doesn’t. Furthermore, not everyone experienced the shift. Just ask the Berenstains. MWI can’t explain this.

The flaw is in the assumption that “we” are entirely in one of these realities. “We,” as has been discussed countless times in this blog and in my book, are experiencing a purely subjective experience. It is the high degree of consensus between each of us “conscious entities” that fools us into thinking that our reality is objective and deterministic. Physics experiments have proven beyond a reasonable doubt that it is not.

So what is going on?

My own theory, Digital Consciousness (fka “Programmed Reality”), has a much better, comprehensive, and perfectly consistent explanation (note: this has the same foundation as Tom Campbell’s theory, “My Big TOE”). See the figure below.


“We” are each a segment of organized information in “all that there is” (ATTI). Hence, we feel individual, but are connected to the whole. (No time to dive into how perfectly this syncs with virtually every spiritual experience throughout history, but you probably get it.) The “Reality Learning Lab” (RLL) (Campbell) is a different set of organized information within ATTI. The RLL is what we experience every day while conscious. (While meditating, or in deep sleep, we are connected elsewhere) It is where all of the artifacts representing Berenstein or Berenstain exist. It is where various “simulation” timelines run. The information that represents our memories is in three places:

  1. The “brain” part of the simulation. Think of this as our cache.
  2. The temporary part of our soul’s record (or use the term “spirit”, “essence”, “consciousness”, “Being”, or whatever you prefer – words don’t matter), which we lose when we die. This is the stuff our “brain” has full access to, especially when our minds are quiet.
  3. The permanent part of our soul’s record; what we retain from life to life, what we are here to evolve and improve, what in turn contributes to the inexorable evolution of ATTI. Values and morality are here. Irrelevant details like the spelling of Berenstein don’t belong.

For some reason, ATTI decided that it made sense to replace Berenstein with Berenstain in all of the artifacts of our reality (books, search engine records, etc.) But, for some reason, the consciousness data stores did not get rewritten when that happened, and so we still have long-term recollection of “Berenstein.”

Why? ATTI just messing with us? Random experiment? Glitch?

Maybe ATTI is giving us subtle hints that it exists, that “we” are permanent, so that we use the information to correct our path?

We can’t know. ATTI is way beyond our comprehension.

15 Responses to The Berenstein Bears – The Smoking Gun of The Matrix?

  1. Jo says:

    I clearly remember from my early childhood the name being SPELLED Berenstein yet PRONOUNCED Berenstain. I remember it so clearly because at the time my parents were teaching me phonics and made a point of noting to me that ‘-stein’ is usually pronounced either STINE or STEEN, and this pronunciation of ‘ei’ was an unusual exception, as in ‘neighbor’. I was rather surprised a few years ago when I came across one of my old books and saw that it was actually spelled Berenstain because my memories to the contrary were so particular and vivid.

  2. Mark Porritt says:

    Unfortunately, because I live in England I am not familiar with these books. This is very strange though why so many people recall them spelt as BerenSTEIN! if we conducted a poll I wonder how many % would say STEIN and how many % STAIN?….

  3. nio says:

    Do you all believe that our reality is driven by quantum mechanics or space and time?

    • jim says:

      Not driven by Quantum Mechanics, but rather, I think the oddities of QM are due to the fact that we fundamentally create and/or influence our reality. It’s driven by a process of continuous improvement and it appears to be programmatic.

  4. Pingback: Rewritten Reality: The Berenstein Bears -

  5. Chela says:

    I’ve been getting the sense, lately, that the Programmer of our Reality has been purposely throwing in glitches in the system… as if giving us clues/hints to slowly awaken us to the true nature of the reality we live in.

    • jim says:

      Good observation! I think he, she, it, or whatever, is certainly getting a little more bold with the glitches. As if warming us up to some significant realizations about our reality (e.g., being subjective not objective).

    • SoAndSo says:

      Yes! Also related: to keep things interesting and more meaningful, adding these “glitches” may have only happened in more recent versions of the software. Previous versions may have been more predictable, more boring and less meaningful. Perhaps if this is a multi player game, we all contribute to the settings in the next version of the software?

      Extended interpretation: Perhaps this berenstein phenomonon is actually the sewing back together the branches? What is we all want to play this game together yet follow the paths (branches) that we think we’lllike best? But, if due to computational limitations (not enough ram/CPU), or due to players all wanting to enjoy a finite number of “endings”, we may merge branches (like source control, SVN, git), but doing that is REALLY hard/messy and no algorithm can do a perfect job (yet, in the time slices available for this game running on AWS-like infrastructure) so we get to wonder about these anomalies. I would love to live in a reality configured and co-created like this. Can we have our cake and eat it too?

  6. Caroline says:

    I also remember it as Berenstein, however my father spelled it correctly! Maybe he’s part if the conspiracy :/

  7. brian says: — this phenomenon has totally consumed me for now. I’ve written about some of the flaws I’ve found. My question – is why/how can only SOME people notice these momentous changes?

    Are people really that stupid? Am I truly part of a race of cows?

    • Scott Brown says:

      Just read your comment and I’m with you %100,you should read my comment.We are two of the smartest people in the world now,lol.

  8. Pingback: Dolly, Jaws, and Braces – The Latest Mandela Effect | Musings on the Nature of Reality

  9. Scott H. Brown says:

    I’ve asked upwards of 15 people and its always the same,I start out have you heard of the mandela effect making sure I present it in a friendly playful manor.I then ask if they believe a bad memory is contagious,no one ever says it is.Then I ask them 10 questions offering $10 dollars if anyone can answer more than 3 out of 10 question correctly,no one has won the $10 dollars yet.
    If I were to present this as a biological terror attack people would believe because humans have been conditioned to love terror,it makes sense and they can get behind it but this they cant so they just laugh and think they misremembered or I did a trick or Im crazy,even though they answered wrong.
    Some people say oh well they change things what can you do but when I say it never was I can watch them form the opinion I’m crazy and the conversation ends abruptly and I keep my money.
    I cant help but wonder why no one misremembers how to spell porn because if I said it was spelled porne they know its not and would prove it but this they quickly conform.
    If their computer had a virus and was glitching they would get to the bottom of the matter very quickly but this us only life so LOL.
    Critical thinking is a luxury,I’m just going to call people’s nose a penis from now on,hey dont pick your penis,or your penis is running you better wipe it,or do you need a tissue to blow your penis? Because thats gow ridiculous this is.
    The first lady could lay her penis on someone’s face and they’ll say its CGI and not real.
    I wish I could live life so oblivious to my surroundings then I could forget that I feel like a 12th grader in prescool.
    If the news said “Dont breath ir you’ll die” you would see most of the population passing out from a lack of oxygen.

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