The Game of Blood and Dust

Here’s how it works.

You can go to any point in history and change one thing. Maybe you erase someone. Alter the course of a battle. Delay or speed up the introduction of an innovation. Etc.

Of course, this changes everything that comes later. The goal is to do something that results in the world being a better place in some significant way. And since there’s a comment button sitting down below the post, you’re free to challenge, offer your own ideas, counter-move, whatever.

This is a brain-torturer, because you really have to think through the implications.

I’ll go first. The Apostle Paul is never conceived, depriving the emerging Christian orthodoxy of its first and most influential politician. I think this reduces the chances of the Church establishing itself as such an institution of abuse through the ages and allows the safer development of other strains, such as the various gnostic sects.

I may be wrong, but that’s my first move.

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9 comments

  1. Only a different taskmaster
    Ok, Christianity is only a small religion in the cities of Jerusalem, maybe Alexandria, perhaps even Rome (Peter still exists). However, it DOES exist, and a young Muhammad still encounters it while in Jerusalem. He goes on to found Islam, which spreads throughout the Middle East. It eventually spreads into Europe through the Moops (the card says Moops). Without the Church there resisting it, most of Europe eventually converts to Islam. It’s the same problems as before, just a different religion.
    I would make sure that the learning centers of Europe became much more prominent during the Dark Ages. The Enlightenment takes place sooner. Democracy and communism take place sooner with their fates coming sooner as well. The current problems with terrorism are either over or about to reach an end. I don’t know where that leaves us.

  2. Re: Only a different taskmaster
    Hmmm. Interesting premise.
    But HOW can you make the learning centers rise sooner when the Church was the big impediment? This is why the game requires you to take a VERY specific action.

  3. Re: Only a different taskmaster
    The Church wasn’t the big impediment as much as it was the only structure to survive. If some form of educational system survived the fall of the Roman Empire as well, you would have a balance of science and religion. If the two sides were forced to recognize the lasting power of the other, a coalition might even have been possible. While I haven’t read them for myself, I’ve been lead to believe Aquinas’ teachings aren’t too far away from that goal.
    The survival of an education system would require the protection (military, financial, and political) of a Roman governor or one of the barbarian conquerors. This would need to happen throughout Europe. The centers would eventually have to unify, as I don’t see a few separated instances being able to compete with the unified Church.

  4. Thomas Jefferson writes the words “All men are created equal,” and to prove his point, he frees his slaves. Other prominent Virginians follow suit.
    America’s race problems still exist, but the country is forced to confront them much sooner and at a point before they become nearly as entrenched and institutionalized as they would eventually become under the Constitution.

  5. Re: Only a different taskmaster
    How was the Church the impediment of the rise of learning centers?! The Church was the reason for the very creation of universities; they needed an educated clergy.

  6. A few things…
    Well, to start at the beginning, I’d double the Cosmological Constant starting from the Big Bang. From a physicists standpoint it would be a very intriguing proposition. How would the universe evolve differently?
    As for positive side effects, we could theoretically travel twice as fast to neighboring stars, we’d think and react twice as quickly and our computers would have twice the processing speed.
    If that doesn’t work out I could implant a hidden code into the DNA of the first microbe. I’m figuring the opening paragraph to “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” or “There is no god” or “Floss daily”. I believe the resulting positive consequences of those phrases would be self-explanatory.
    Barring that I would have Jesus not die on the cross, but instead start a peaceful revolution of mass civil disobedience that would turn the Roman Empire into a democratic meritocracy. But now I’m just getting silly.

  7. Re: Only a different taskmaster
    I really need to keep my timelines open on the desktop when I write. I guess what I meant to say was more relevant to the Church’s later intrusions into learning. You are, of course, correct, and since my dissertation actually covers some of this terrain, it’s the sort of thing you’d think I’d be a little more attentive to, isn’t it?
    Sadly, the nature of my life and work lately has been all about DOING (work) and a bit about creating (writing), but damned near not at all about THINKING. Not good….

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