Thursday, 24 November 2016
"...if it hadn't been for the Event, you'd never have met Ian, not really - never even have considered marrying him, at least. No David then, or Miriam."
-SM Stirling, On The Oceans Of Eternity (New York, 2000), Chapter Eleven, p. 211.
If there had been no Starkad Affair, then Dominic Flandry would not have met Persis d'Io and they would not have had a son. Any one of us might not have existed, would not have existed if earlier events had gone differently. No overt difference would have been necessary. All it would take would be for a different sperm and egg to meet...
Certain accidents led to my meeting Sheila. Without that meeting, Ketlan would have moved to Lancaster but would not have met our daughter here. Not only is the existence of every living being contingent. There is an indefinite number of potential people whom we would have met and with whom we would have interacted if they had had the good fortune to be born. The idea of divergent timelines and alternative histories comes very close to everyday existence. At every moment, we make choices, however trivial.