Given the tenor of the last week, I have had World War Two on my mind. One of my favorite science fiction authors Philip K. Dick has a novel about a timeline where the Nazis got the atomic bomb first and nuked Washington D.C. It was turned into an Amazon Prime prestige drama called Man in The High Castle. I recommend it.
The more history marches on, the more human nature remains the same. An alternative history is an intriguing sub-genre in science fiction especially because it is so believable. Long Island being the home of the American Reich is an extremely believable outcome if a few key moments in our history had gone a different way.
You can imagine a technology tree unfolding had different people with different circumstances got to a breakthrough first. You can imagine sunnier scenarios. “For All Mankind” is a show that imagines what a more competitive space race between the Soviet Union and America might have given us
A multiverse approach is all that makes sense to me when I see history. You imagine outcomes as inexorable and subject to much larger outcomes than anything any one of us could do on our own.
But you also recognize your own agency. We can exert our own gravitational force on those around us and in turn they impact a wider world. We can help people resist the worst in each other but consistently choosing to see the best in each other is not always easy to do.
I think that’s why it’s important to not assign yourself too much power in the scope of life but also know that you can make a difference. “But there for the grace of God go I.”
I imagine this is why forgiveness and grace are so crucial to human life. Not all of us are handed much in life but we do have each other. We can actively create the outcomes in history we want to see. It just starts at a nexus of control of your own life.