A Fractal Sense of the Continuity of Choice

“In the long run, we shape our lives, and we shape ourselves. The process never ends until we die. And the choices we make are ultimately our own responsibility.” — Eleanor Roosevelt

“If you are just safe about the choices you make, you don’t grow.” — Heath Ledger

“In any moment of decision, the best thing you can do is the right thing. The worst thing you can do is nothing.”
― Theodore Roosevelt

“We are our choices.” ― Jean-Paul Sartre

“It’d be great to be in a position where you can make choices regardless of money. My tastes are always gonna lead me to go for the amazing project where I’m being paid in Turkish cantaloupes.” — Will Ferrell


For those who have enjoyed (or been terrified by) a near death experience, I would ask… did yours feature a primary pathway that splintered into pathways, which splintered into pathways and so forth and so on?

Who knows. That’s was my experience, many years ago.

I was reminded of it last week, when my weedwhacker chucked a rock at our basement walk out door’s window. I heard the plink, then a quiet “tick” of a crack, and then another and then another…it basically went on for about two hours until the outer pane of the thermal, two pane window, had fully spider-webbed into a thing of beauty. (And an upcoming expense.)

Cellar Window After the Rock

The Cellar Door Window – After the Rock Hit

The idea of trunk, branch, branch, branch is integral to our decision making… at the moment, during the day and during our existence. It’s also extremely basic:

“If this, then that.”

As a young person, making informed choices is extremely difficult, simply because of lack of experience, lack of living. As an older person, making informed choices is also difficult, but for far more complex reasons as the distillation and discernment process can be arduous and full of potential peril.

None-the-less, the decisions have to keep coming until we get to the point in life where we are either unable to make them in an “omnispheric” manner or we have lost the faculty, or because we simply don’t want to anymore.

The very real synchronicity between super macro and super micro layers of “what we know” continues to fascinate me. The patterns of star dust in a Nebula. The way the Milky Way looks at night. A river delta from a satellite photo. A Tree. An Iris.

If the Universe and All-That’s-In-It has been determined by some to be a random “decision”, golly — it sure remains aesthetically beautiful to me — at any viewpoint.

And for lack of a more salient explanation, the Universe has a “design signature” of continuity that is absolutely everywhere.  Trunk, branch, branch, branch. From the cellular to the deep space images of galaxy fields.

The River makes a choice to flow where gravity, tides and obstacles suggest, then everything changes, and it flows elsewhere, a process that repeats without end to create a delta. The Tree sprouts branches that reach for the sun, which sprout branches that reach for the sun, that sprout branches that reach for the sun. The proteins defined by the genetic code define the same patterns in an Iris.

What’s intriguing [to me] about this is: in each case, there is an implied destination and goal. The river flows down hill to the sea. The tree grows upwards to the sun, and simultaneously downwards to minerals and water. The iris grows to enable vision, to inform and (hopefully) delight.  And to better serve, at least with me, the processing of making a choice.

For ponderers, which is mostly everyone…though many won’t admit it, for philosophers and thinkers and for those with irascible, irrepressible creative urges, the idea of choice… and whether we are truly in 100% control of our own individual destiny, will continue to be argued, and expressed in the arts, even if barely perceptible.

Our unfortunate frame of reference for “time” as human beings on this planet is ridiculously short. If only our choices could be made with the benefit of really understanding that our single, individual lifespan is part of generations before us, and in the case of those of us who have reproduced, after us. The constantly shifting sands of genetic instructions, blowing and creating the dust of who we’ve been, who we are and who we will be.  Is this “always”?  What would all those folks who came before us, who MADE us, think of our choices?

I choose to consider it.

About pbwilder

Over halfway to 100 years old. Finally have enough perspective on life to start pontificating, mostly for my own amusement. If folks find ideas of interest, send money. No, seriously, join in. Life without ideas is like milk without Toll House cookies. - PBW
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