Isn’t it fascinating how many paths each individual fails to take? Could they be calculated?
Regardless of illusion, will, fate or any other aspects of choice, you wind up taking only one, and the others vanish forever. This happens constantly at every point of every living creature’s life. There’s no savegame, re-load and check the other route. Should you be lucky enough to try out both, the very act of going back changes the fate of both choices due to unrelenting forces such as time.
If one was to try and calculate, the growth would be exponential as time passes, and by my age, the results would barely fit in a book the size of the Universe. It’s interesting how we are so rested on each choice we make, for the most part.
I often wonder ‘what if’. It’s a great question. Perhaps the best question. What if I stared back at the girl on the train a few seconds longer? What if I spoke to her?
What if, instead of coming home from work, I took all the money from my account and started to walk South indefinitely?
What if I learnt to accept people for who they are at a young age? What if I drank more water? What if I was more proactive with my beliefs? What if my dad was more conservative, my mum more religious?
What if my sister died, or never existed? What if I never went to Korea? What if I never befriended this or that particular person? What if I held in my vomit a little longer that fateful night?
What if I could live forever?
It’s the best question because there are more unanswerable ones than there are answers. What if, by its very nature, is asking about a situation that didn’t, and can never happen. It’s the question of the illusion of choice.
I find myself asking this at least once a day. Maybe this is a sign that my direction in life isn’t what it could be. Maybe the illusion isn’t that of choice, but of awareness. Maybe we all feel mostly content with our choices reluctant to accept the possibility of being wrong, blinding ourselves from what would otherwise be obviously superior.
Maybe the girl you saw on the train isn’t a raging feminist and actually turns out to appreciate your approach and you end up married on a cruise ship. Maybe your endless walk south leads you into a bar where a burgeoning entrepreneur is in desperate need of your passion for the stars. Maybe that glass of water leads you to a life healthy enough to see your grandchildren. Maybe your proactive attitude saves the lives of endangered families in Venezuela.