I”m not generally a fan of ‘what if’ scenarios; they too easily become ‘if only’ and lead to regrets and negative outlooks on life. The exception, of course, is in creating plots for fiction.
Under that guise, it suddenly becomes acceptable to ask all sorts of questions that might attract some very strange looks if asked in real life.
So here is one of my what if scenarios:
There is a soul in eternity. He could become a monk in the fourteenth century but in 1970 he decides to get married. At least, his decision, made in eternity, was played out on earth in 1970. Could his decision to get married account for the fact that he is now living in the twenty first century instead of the fourteenth? Is there some reason for his earthly life which it is his mission to accomplish, and which can be done as a married person now, but could only have been done by a monk then?
Someone once said to me in all seriousness that some souls are sent to earth for a reason and some are just along for the ride. I suppose something of this idea, together with my usual fascination with time, contributes to this possible plot.
Now, supposing this soul, in our current time, gets wind of the fact that he has missed a ‘higher calling’ and starts hankering after medieval monastic life. He could set out on a search for a way to change his decision about getting married. But he has a young granddaughter of whom he is extremely fond.
Many time travel stories tend to revolve round the fear that the hero will cease to exist if something happens in the past to stop his parents from meeting. But that assumes that the person is simply the biological result of two human animals. My protagonist is not a complete human being but a soul that has the potential to become one of two different human beings depending on which body he becomes united with in which age.
The question that bothers him is what effect it will have on his granddaughter if he becomes the monk instead of the grandfather. Biologically she will remain unchanged; a different soul will inhabit her grandfather’s body. But is her own soul completely independent and therefore unchanged?
What do you think? Is there a basis for a plot here as distinct from just a jumble of mad ideas?