Well, if something exists, then it was possible for it to exist. Likewise, if something is happening, then it was possible for it to happen. But where or what is this possibility before it exists or happens? Or is this a meaningless question?
More problematically, if something doesn't exist or hasn't happened, how do we know it is possible? Not to immediately pivot to the political, but it seems to me that one of the consistent characteristics of the left is to wish for things that never were and (more problematically) cannot be. And not just wish; rather, to try to compel them through force (since there is no other way).
It reminds me of a famous line by Robert Kennedy. Liberals no doubt hear it as "idealistic," while to conservatives it just sounds fruity: Some men see things as they are and say why. I dream things that never were and say why not.
I say it is a rare achievement to see things as they actually are, a rarer one still to understand why they are the way they are.
For example, why are human beings sexually dimorphic and complementary? That's an important question to answer before you begin dreaming up other possibilities that never were and cannot actually be. Likewise marriage: what is it? Or an unborn baby, in which case, who is it? Might want to answer that question before taking its life.
You might say that conservatism is preoccupied with what is necessary, i.e., those things that cannot not be, especially on the human plane. This presupposes that there is a human plane -- or station, or nature, or essence -- and that failure to conform to this transcendent order is the sine qua non of what we call "psychopathology," or mental illness. It is our yardstick for knowing when a human being has gone off the rails.
Conversely, leftism appears to be preoccupied with the possible, but not really; for -- at risk of sounding tautologous -- a possibility, in order to be one, must be possible. Some possibilities are impossible, for example, time travel, or switching sexes. These may be possible in theory, but are impossible in reality. So we need another term for impossible possibilities, besides "Democratic platform."
What about things that are, but needn't be? At least for humans, there exists a large realm of contingency, if only due to free will. In fact, if we deny free will, then it begins to look like there is no space between what can be and what must be -- i.e., between the necessary and contingent. Free will is first of all awareness of necessity. If not for necessity there could be no free will, rather, just unpredictable chaos, or "pure possibility."
Now in truth, necessity and possibility must be complementary; however, of the two, necessity must be prior, even though the one is humanly unthinkable in the absence of the other. Orthoparadoxically, possibility is ultimately necessary; it cannot work the other way around -- i.e., that necessity is only a possibility. If that were the case, then it wouldn't bloody well be necessary, would it?
The above pre-ramble was no doubt provoked by an essay of Schuon's called The Problem of Possibility (in From the Divine to the Human). It is a fine example of what I was driving at in the previous post, about the human ability to know What's Going On in the cosmos, deploying everyday language as opposed to math, physics, or some other special science.
The words (or concepts) "necessary" and "contingent" are quite necessary in order to understand our existential situation. They are irreducible, except in the sense mentioned above -- that possibility must flow from necessity. It cannot be sufficiently emphasized that these two -- necessity and possibility -- are quite Real, except in different ways.
In what sense is the possible real? And is it as real as necessity? It's orthoparadoxical, or at least you can -- or must! -- look at it in two ways:
one may say that... what manifests itself is "real," and what can either manifest itself or not is simply "possible"; but in another respect, which erases this distinction, it is the possible which is real, manifestation being accidental or illusory...
This goes to the argument between Plato and Aristotle: what is more real, this local chair I'm sitting on, or its nonlocal archetype? The dual nature of Jesus is the final "answer" to this question, in that neither is more real than the other: we do not say that his human nature is just "maya," or "appearance" (one of the early heresies). Indeed, the whole point is that human contingency may now participate in metacosmic necessity.
Which of course goes to why science was stillborn in civilizations that regarded the world as pure appearance, which is to say, contingency. Rather, only the necessary was worth knowing, e.g., Brahman.
At any rate, if we trace these two rascals -- necessity and contingency -- all the way down -- or up -- to their root principles, we end up with the Absolute and the Infinite:
God is both absolute Necessity and infinite Possibility; in the first respect, He transcends everything that is merely possible, whereas, in the second respect, He is, not a given possibility of course, since He is absolutely necessary, but Possibility as such; this is to say, He is the Source of all that can be, or must needs be by relative necessity, therefore by participation in absolute Necessity. Possibility is potency at its root, and indetermination in its ever more far-reaching effects...
Which goes to a little problem I have with the traditional scholastic view, that God is "pure act" and therefore devoid of potency. I get what the doctrine is trying to say -- that God is unchanging and unchangeable, but still... It's like saying God is Absolute with no Infinite, which to me is no Absolute at all. Translighted to the human plane, it is like all necessity with no possibility, i.e., no free will.
More fundamentally, what does it mean to say that God is trinity? I say -- as it were - that the Son is the ever-realized (or real-izing) infinitude of the absolute Father, always and forever. Or something like that. The point is, it gives rise to a different vision from a static and absolute monad. That would bore even -- or especially! -- God.