I was at a concert last night and the presence and stature of the piano struck me. And I thought: If the piano wasn't invented when it was, would it have been invented by someone else instead? Or if there was a world the same as our, except with a different history, would it have pianos now too or would it be modern world, similar in many respects, only without pianos?
I often think about the role of contingency and necessity in human history.
Electric light, for example, I think would have been invented sooner or later regardless of the rest of the details of human history.
Ullysses by James Joyce on the other hand... If Joyce hadn't been born and lived the life he did this book would never have existed.
But where does the piano stand? Was it destined to be invented or is it a fluke that wouldn't exist but for the chance turn of events of our history?