Tuesday, May 16, 2017

What if "ifs and ands were pots and pans..."?

Well..."there'd be no need for tinkers" was the answer to that old rhyme.

Our fates and destinies rest upon delicate threads. Butterflies and hurricanes. One tiny, meaningless, almost imperceptible variation in the scheme of things could change history.

For instance, what if Edward VIII had never met Mrs. Simpson and had been Britain's King in place of George VI? Would he have married some fresh-faced gal, had a clutch of kids, the eldest of whom would now be on the throne? There would have been no Prince Charles and Diana - nor the tragedy that followed.

Would Britain still have declared war on Germany in 1939 with Edward VIII on the throne? Some sources believe that Edward VIII was far more friendly to the Hitler regime than has been reported. The British royals are closely related to German aristocracy. Would Britain have supported what was happening - could it possibly have done so? I doubt it. Winston Churchill was around - or was he, in this scenario? Could Britain have become an arm of the Third Reich, aiding attack on the rest of Europe and Russia?

What part would the USA have played in this other dimension?

What if Hitler had managed to become a world-famous German artist? Would an alternative, equally manic dictator have arisen to take his place? Would the holocaust have happened? There would doubtless have been some minor wars and perhaps a less stringent attempt to expel Germany's population of Jewish people. But would Japan have bombed Pearl Harbor?

Would Britain and most European countries have become the 51st to 65th states of the USA, after defeat at the hands of that country's mighty armies?

Enough already!

Our world situation these days often seems precarious. One tiny variation of events, in decades past, could have brought about something quite different - even more precarious ? Or equally so but in a different way?

The comments under a 2011 post of mine of which the above is an edited extract, brought up some interesting thoughts, worth a blog post of their own. I haven't included any references to astrology, made by myself or by commenters, as that involved a different strand of the discussion.

anyjazz said...

It's like the game my children played, only we called it "'Tend-Like." They’d set a situation, name the characters and then act out the way they thought it would be. Of course each scenario only lasted a minute or so and then they’d change it. “’Tend like you’re lost in the forest and I have a horse.”

The idea provokes lots of thought processes. And as you know, I think “thinking” is good. Of course the ultimate scenario is the one where we imagine what small thing we can do differently now that will change everything in a future we have already foreseen.

Twilight said...anyjazz ~~~ Creative imagining is great experience for children - and they are so good at it! I suppose every action we take, every experience we encounter, has a consequence somewhere along the line. Like the butterfly flapping its wings in the rain forest.....

Gian Paul said...

In simple terms, if (IF!) this were a forum in the Catholic Church (or similar religious organization, muslim, jewish etc.) your raising such a question, must be considered as being a sin.

Why? If (IF!) destiny exists it must be unbendable. So any "ifs" are equivalent to arguing with God or Destiny, and that is a sin under the definition of Destiny being unbendable. Or "He knows best" as the Muslims say.

Twilight said...Gian Paul ~~~ I was really just writing down a train of thought I'd had recently and had found intriguing. It's probably just a load of blah! But it interests me. Such things do. Religions? Not my department. Screw 'em -and the horses they rode in on!
:-D Hmmm - destiny unbendable? I don't think so.

R J Adams said...

'What-ifs' are infinite in number. Every decision, every happening produces a 'What-if'. This is true both in our personal lives and probably throughout the Universe.

When I chose to use the internet to find a partner, I utilized Yahoo's 'Find a Friend'. (Yes, it was back at the turn of the century!) I wanted to correspond with someone from America, but in those days Yahoo would only accept a US zipcode as part of my identity. I made one up. It turned out to be the town of Schenectady, in New York state. The woman who is now my wife lived in Illinois. She was also looking for someone, but not too close to her, so she chose to look only in New York state. When she responded to me, she was somewhat surprised to find I lived in Wales, UK.
Ten years later, we both believe we found our soulmate, but 'What-If' she'd chosen another state, or (What-If) I'd randomly picked some other set of numbers for a zipcode?
We have no control over our 'What-Ifs', as we cannot foretell the future, but maybe - just, maybe - the Universe does. I like to think so.

The zipcode I chose? 12345, of course.

Twilight said...RJ Adams ~~~ Ah yes! I considered adding a paragraph about my own experiences in internet relationships - similar in some ways to your own.
:-) Thanks for adding yours.

There are points in our lives (and in history) when these special "what ifs" stand out most clearly and would have the most impact. Hmmmm - better stop there or I'll be off again looking for some more... ;-)

Anonymous said...

This has all been mused upon endlessly. In 1961 Robert Heinlein wrote a science fiction novel wherein an astrologer creates a chart for the first human born on Mars. The description is plausible and elaborate enough that I think he consulted an astrologer.

But what you are talking about is the "Multiverse." Every event splits the universe into different time lines. For example, I turn left instead of right on the way to work, there are two universes created, one where I get to work safely, the other one I die in a car crash. But multiple universes are created for EVERY event in the universe. A subatomic particle goes left instead of right, new universes are created that are almost identical to each other. That's a hell of a lot of universes. The quantum physics interpretation that I like is that the multiverse has 14 spatial dimensions, all those multiple universes that we experience as 4D (3d space plus time) are in the same space, overlapping. The next universe is so close to us, we cannot feel it. It can only be perceived as different by a higher being that can see in 5D.

Twilight said...Anonymous ~~~ Hi there! Thanks for adding an extra dimension to this post. :-) Yes, it's a fairly common sci-fi theme, and often with variations. One of which might soon come out of the sci-fi into the real. Although I fear our minds, as they are at present, are not up to fully understanding the implications.

Perhaps we'll gradually evolve sufficiently to take it all in. We've evolved far enough to accept the technology we have - unthought of a few hundred years ago. No reason to think we'll stop now.

Wisewebwoman said...Great post, T. There are several movies with this theme as you know and I loved them.

One of my favourite "whatifs" is if there were no belief in a god. The Imagine of John Lennon, brought to life. No religions. No nations. And capitalism never even invented.
I can spin off on that for a while.
We would never miss what we never had.

Twilight said...Wisewebwoman ~~~ A favourite theme of mine too, WWW, in movies and short stories. I think the attraction to these themes stems from dissatisfaction with the way things are. We look for satisfying alternatives, the way a starving man might find a cookbook and drool over the illustrations. :-)

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