Get that butterfly out of mothballs! Time to have an effect!
If you have read or thought about time travel, you know you can’t change the past. Depending on the book you read, either you can’t because the results are inevitably unexpected and possibly tragic, or because History herself will stop you. She is the guardian of time and she doesn’t tolerate meddlers.
If you could have a second chance at just one event in your life, what would you choose? What would you do differently? How do you think your life would be different now?
Life is complicated. Too complicated. It’s not that I haven’t made errors I would have liked to correct, but in my life and no doubt in yours, the choices we made — good, bad, or indifferent — always changed our life. Everything we did — especially failures which often have a more profound affect on human lives than contentment or happiness — altered our direction in an obvious or subtle way.
Even the most subtle change in your life path will cause it to fork and move you in a slightly (or hugely) other direction. Unless you hate your life and figure a toss of the dice will surely come up seven or eleven, remember it might come up snake eyes. Ouch.
You can’t undo the past. Not historically, not personally. There is no yesterday. There is only now and a future. I would not — could not — change anything in my life because to change one thing might change everything.
On the other hand, if I could really change human history in a really big way, I might be willing to seriously tweak human evolution. Give Neanderthals the reproductive edge and let homo sapiens languish and (with a little luck) disappear. Maybe that would have produced a gentler, kinder world than this nightmare in which we have fallen. I’m not by any means the first person who has thought of this. Douglas Adams got there long before me and many science fiction writers have addressed it.
I read a lot of time travel books. They are my all time favorite type of science fiction, probably because of the impossibility of it. It makes my brain fold up like an origami bird. I greatly enjoy having my brain twisted.
But personally? I like who I am and who I am with. I wish we had more money and I wish my health was more substantial, but I think on the happiness to misery scale, we’re doing fine.
Who knows how it would have turned out if I changed something? I not much of a gambler. I never expect to win the roll of the dice.