#MicroblogMondays: What If?

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A few weeks ago, I was listening to one of Bob Edwards’ final shows on Sirius. He was interviewing someone who had written a new book about The Odyssey. I caught only the last 10 minutes, and it was really good. One comment stood out. The auth0r noted that the Greeks’ worldview meant that they focused on today and resolving issues in this life. They didn’t focus on an afterlife.  He mused about what it would have been like if the Greek worldview had prevailed over the Judeo-Christian worldview with its focus on an afterlife and concentrating your efforts there instead of in the present.

I’m not trying to get into a debate about pros and cons of various religious and political systems, but the big “what if” is fascinating. How would Western Civilization and the world be different if history’s victors had not prevailed? Would it be better? Or would it be a case of different POV, different problems?  I suspect the latter, but it’s intriguing to do these mind exercises.

Are there any historical events about which you speculate how things could have turned out differently? Could that sentence be clunkier?

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4 comments

  1. Oh, absolutely! (To both of your last questions, lol.) My guys were just wondering the other day how different things would have been had the American Revolution gone the other way. Not just politically, but they were suggesting that it’s possible many of the inventions created by Americans might not have happened, or might not have happened the way they did. Their theory was that the “American spirit” would have not been the same — that initial work ethic and sense of adventure and wonder that drove settlers and explorers in the New World — may have been affected differently, and that it would have shaped our country (or this area of the world, since it wouldn’t be America) in a different way.

    (Side note: THAT, my friend, is how you write clunky.)

  2. I think different worldview, different problems.

    Though on that end, we don’t really have an afterlife, per se, in Judaism. No Heaven, that’s a Christian concept that some Jews have borrowed, but it isn’t really Judaism. So maybe we’re a little more Greek. There’s zero emphasis on the afterlife.

    1. I think you’re right. And I think it’s interesting how many cultures did not and do not have a concept of an afterlife. I remember my 10th grade world lit teacher telling us the Sumerians thought the afterlife was sitting around and eating dirt. Probably a bit of an exaggeration 🙂 I think it would be better to focus on the here and now instead of a nebulous afterlife.

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