If fiction teaches us anything, it is about the power of small changes to have huge ramification. I suppose real life also teaches us that, but we can’t always see which small action caused which big result.
Although I haven’t been to the cinema or had a telly for a very long time, I was thinking about films like Closing Doors, Back to the Future and other such parallel universe stories. Some of my favourite episodes of shows are the ones which are an alternate universe to the one you know. I remember Buffy doing a fabulous one where Buffy had never come to Sunnydale, Star Trek TNG did several. I’m happy overall with how my life turned out, but I’m sure I’m not the only one who thinks, “I wonder how life would be if such and such had happened differently or I’d made a different choice”.
I’m a big fan of the dystopic worlds genre too, which are similar societies or worlds to ours or are a future where some small detail has made a huge societal difference. If only one decision were made differently, one very insignificant decisive, then life would be very different.
We were given bechira, free choice by Hashem. However, the way I have understood it, as heavily influenced by Rav Dealer’s essays on Strive for Truth is that the free choice we are given is actually only at a very very specific and tiny point. There are so many choices which are both above and below our point of choice. The challenge is making these tiny right decisions in life over and over again until the big decisions are made correctly by default.
I’ve been playing with this idea in my head for a while now and trying to get it down in writing. I think it ties in nicely with what I was giving over from Rebbetzin Pavlov yesterday, about doing those small acts of greatness. These tiny small actions may not seem so great, but it is the accumulation of tiny actions which make the real difference.