Did you know that historical facts can actually change depending on where in the world you are? It’s true, and the phenomena is fascinating. It may be close to the kind of thing Richard Feynman was getting at with his concept of multiple histories.
Consider a Reuters global opinion poll in which respondents were asked who was responsible for the September 11, 2001 attacks in the United States.
The survey of 16,063 people in 17 nations found majorities in only nine countries believe al Qaeda was behind the attacks on New York and Washington that killed about 3,000 people in 2001.
In Europe, al Qaeda was cited by 56 percent of Britons and Italians, 63 percent of French and 64 percent of Germans. The U.S. government was to blame, according to 23 percent of Germans and 15 percent of Italians.
Respondents in the Middle East were especially likely to name a perpetrator other than al Qaeda, the poll found.
Israel was behind the attacks, said 43 percent of people in Egypt, 31 percent in Jordan and 19 percent in the Palestinian Territories. The U.S. government was blamed by 36 percent of Turks and 27 percent of Palestinians.
In Mexico, 30 percent cited the U.S. government and 33 percent named al Qaeda.
Now we have known for a long time that facts can change depending on the observer’s state of motion. What we are beginning to learn is that motion seems to have little to do with it. Facts just seem to change depending on which patch of the earth you are standing on at the moment.
What is not fully understood is the mechanism by which this occurs. I have heard top physicists postulate the existence of some kind of dynamic and invisible field, not unlike the electromagnetic field, which toggles historical propositions on or off according to laws which are not yet evident to us. If this hypothesis turns out to be valid, it may begin to explain many strange anomalies that have baffled observers, such as the way in which basic facts about who started what war for what reason change completely according to one’s present geographic location.
For example, the proposition “North Korea fought a defensive war in response to the invasion by the United States and South Korea past the 38th parallel on June 25, 1950” becomes factually true when you are standing in the geographic region which lies between Russia and South Korea.
Much research needs to be done before we are able to crack the mystery conclusively, but one thing is clear — this is an exciting new area of scientific inquiry that everyone will want to pay attention to.