Thursday, November 24, 2011

Thursday Thoughts...

…This web of time—the strands of which approach one another, bifurcate, intersect or ignore each other through the centuries—embraces every possibility. We do not exist in most of them. In some you exist and not I, while in others I do, and you do not, and yet in others both of us exist. In this one, in which chance has favored me, you have come to my gate. In another, you, crossing the garden, have found me dead. In yet another, I say these very same words but am in error, a phantom…Time is forever dividing itself toward innumerable futures…

Jorge Luis Borges (1899 - 1986) Garden of Forking Paths, Ficciones.

I might often joke about thinking I have slipped into a parallel universe when somebody behaves completely out of character; or something totally unexpected happens, but it nonetheless is an idea that appeals to me.

I try not to  have regrets about the past - things done, not done; things said, not said and so on. I try to learn and not repeat mistakes.  A little part of me does enjoy thinking about the paths not taken, the opportunities missed; the decisions made that may have led me down completely different paths, some of the "what if" moments.

And early in the 20th Century, there was Jorge Luis Borges also exploring the possibilities of time splitting and dividing, opening doors, clearing paths... I guess as one tries to explore and understand the concept of time, there will always be an attraction to considering it non-linear, non sequential. Rather like in so many aspects of nature, paths splitting, courses dividing and multiple options being taken.

Borges characters describe multiple futures simultaneously, as opposed to forks in the road which encourage us to take one decisive action that sets the future path.

Apparently there are whole fields of quantum physics and studies into theories like the "Many Worlds" theory (Everett) that attempt to apply scientific rigour to these sorts of thoughts.  Me I just ponder what happens in those others lives of mine, where I made different decisions, different choices...


  1. very thought provoking words and image Fiona, it appeals to my sensibilities...

  2. I often wonder about opportunities missed, incidents avoided etc. I see time and choices a bit like a road map, where you can take several routes to the same place - some direct, others long and winding, or where you can find yourself somewhere completely unexpected.

  3. amazing image. a growing basket! and something huge to contemplate. by the way, the word bifurcate always tickles me. don't know why--

  4. thinking about time splitting gives me a splitting headache!

    I love the shot of the ??? (is it a cycad?)

  5. I got lost at the word bifurcate, suddenly seeing it in a new light. Have kept saying it over and over without really being sure what it means. It rolls off the tongue.I think I know what it means but will have to check now! Beautiful photo by the way. May I ask what the plant is? I am intrigued by that growth crown.

  6. As a person who simply acts, reacts, and accepts whatever consequences I'm not usually one to consider paths not taken. But, I certainly ponder the various moments in time when paths cross, or simply might have 'almost' crossed. There are so many connections between us, and the principle of 'six degrees of separation' manifests itself regularly. Tgoughtful post Fiona.

  7. Hi Kim - glad you enjoyed the ponder and the picture...

    Hello Carrie - I totally agree, life is a bit like a map with opportunities turns and twists, and the odd dead-end; but it makes it all the more fascinating doesn't it? Thanks for commenting.

    Hi Velma - yes a wonder isn't it that plant? I smiled at your bi-furcation amusement; it does have a bit of fun attached to it!

    Yes Ronnie - it's a cycad, regowing on Melville Island earlier this year. It was so big I had to check with Barry that it really was...

    Hi Lesley- as mentioned to ronnie - its a cycad; and stunning too isn't it? Bifurcate is a lovely word and like you I get caught on ones like that and keep saying them to myself - truly delightful. Glad you enjoyed.

    Thanks Jo - there is something in those moments of connection and crossover isn't there? It does my head in if I really think about it; but I KNOW there's something in it!


I appreciate your thoughts and comments; thanks for taking the time.