The Butterfly Effect
i rented Frequency last week; if you haven't seen it, i highly recommend it. the premise is that due to the Northern lights, a son is able to talk to his dad thirty years ago. conversations are had, choices are made, and things change. and it got me to thinking: aren't there moments we would all like the chance to change?
there are a few things in my life that i wish hadn't happened, or words i wish i could take back. there are people i would like to have gotten to know, like my Aunt Sally, who died when i was 5 or 6. would it be worth it to be able to change one decision, one action that made something happen?
part of me wants to say yes. given the chance to rewrite personal history, it might be worth it. it could be that one change would make the texture of my life immeasurably richer. or perhaps it would have that effect on everyone around me as well. there are several unpleasant situations i would much rather have avoided. most likely i wouldn't have gotten married, at least not then and not to the person i did. then again, maybe it's not my life that i'd want to change. what if i could tell Martin Luther King not to stand on that balcony? or convince Pius XII that he had to take a stand against Hitler? and yet.
and yet, it seems like tempting fate. tinkering with the past could keep me from meeting some of the people who are so very important to me right now. and maybe there would have been a worse evil unleashed upon the world if we could have stopped the Holocaust (difficult to imagine, but possible). what we know seems like it could be improved upon, but the alternatives are unknown.
remember the 'Choose your own ending' books? there were a series of them that came out when i was a kid. you'd read part of a story, and at the end of a page be given a choice. do you drink the potion? then turn to page 27. or do you open the drawer to see what's inside? turn to page 31. and you could rewrite your story over and over again, figuring out the ending you wanted.
toying with the past, focusing on a single moment to change, how would i know that i'd end up marrying the prince instead of dying an ugly death on page 47? hm. no thanks. i think i'll stick with my life as it is. imperfect though it may be, it's familiar and it's mine.