There are an infinite number of worlds. My life’s infinite possible permutations get played out in each of them. In one world, I am the god-like ruler of the human race. In another, I was aborted by my mother. Every stage in between can be found somewhere: movie star, pauper, dullard, wit. The gates to the worlds are my actions. If tomorrow I steal money, I will enter a different world from the one I now inhabit: a darker world in which I am corrupted, a thief, sought after by the police.
The actions of others have no influence over my infinity of worlds. Each person navigates his own subset of infinity, but is a given, an inert factor, to everyone else, including myself. I can’t blame them for the quality of my world. I can’t make excuses, rail against the complexity of human causation, or claim to act while in the grip of vast impersonal forces. More accurately, I can do all these things, but by doing so I will cross the gate into the “I’m a pathetic whiner” world — not a pretty place.
My worlds are full of surprises, but they too are givens, props in the scenery rather than part of the plot: surprises are predictable. Only my reactions to them can move me from here to there. Say a terrorist bomb explodes close by. The world remains unchanged until I act. If I run in panic, I enter a world in which I am branded a coward. If I somehow save the victims, I will find myself in a world that lionizes me as a hero. If I muddle through, I will be in my best-suited muddler world.
To the degree that my actions follow my decisions, the worlds through which I travel are entirely my choice. To the degree that my decisions adhere to my moral ideals, those worlds will be ruled by morality.
But if I allow impulse, selfishness, fear, or anger to drive my behavior, I will suffer in the swirl of chaos, and be tormented by a passage through worlds stained and frozen like the last circle of hell, which Dante reserved for traitors: a traitor to myself, and to the infinite universe.