Monday, November 06, 2006

This part feels like a prologue

Some say history is determined in grand gestures, the charge of the cavalry, the signing of the treaty. Others think that the course of history depends on all the small actions of all the bit players. Towards the end of the Second Era of Time Travel, some more relaxed scholars attempted to find out the answer once and for all. They did this by first making some small changes (moving a pebble a foot to the left), then making bigger changes (closing a door that was open), the more subtle changes (convincing a man to change the spelling of his last name by one letter), and onto the outright blatant (dropping a safe onto Lord Wellington just before the Battle of Trafalgar), all with inconsistent results. Ultimately they decided that the past, like so much in the present, was a chaotic system, stable in some parts, but susceptible to violent swings if pushed at just the right place.

Of course, once such tom-foolery was discovered, a great scandal broke out, and as events played out we left the Second Era of Time Travel, and the Third Era of Linear Time, or as some of the more aggressive historians are calling it, the First Self-Imposed Era of Linear Time, began. A bit excessive if you ask me, but society will always have people who like to be over the top.

I will admit that it is good seeing people showing a bit of willpower and avoiding something tempting and yet so dangerous. The ethos is spreading, although as I have mentioned, there are some who are taking it a little too far. They could at least show some creativity. I mean calling themselves Neo-Spartans is ridiculous, when they are neither new nor Spartan.

Anyway, back to my original point. History is a tricky thing. I think it ignores most of us, takes our measure and finds us wanting. But a few are taken under her wing, and decide the fate of us all. And History grows more picky as time goes on. Fewer are called, and fewer rise to the challenge.

I'd like to think I was one of those picked by History to move mankind forward, but I know better than that. But I have followed in the wake of those who were, and have yet to decide if they rose to the challenge.

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