branching

We set expectations that the seed of an oak will yield an oak tree, and most of the time we are right. We feel good for being right, and we say, rightfully, that we have developed an accurate understanding of how the world works. Don’t argue that some oak seeds do not become oak trees, because that is true, and we know that not all of them will materialize. What we are saying is that an oak seed won’t blossom into a blackberry bush or a dandelion. The seed of the oak, upon maturing, will be the oak tree.

But what is our understanding of the human living experience? The decisions that we make are pivotal markers in our existence, the branching of time, which happens infinitely and sometimes unconsciously. 

What we say when we want to be particularly mindful about this process, is that one should be intentional when making a decision, which can be defined as choosing a path among several.

Once you have chosen your path, you forfeit the other path. With that comes the speculation of not knowing. We look at this phenomenon in sports, where teams that showed promising potential split up and the fans wonder what could have been. What could have been is the non-decision path, what is is the decision path. 

This parallel branching extends further, as we explore where our decisions led and the impossibility of accurately predicting an outcome. Not that all decisions are guesses, but that surprise is a resulting element because the probability and chance of something actually happening is always less than 1, until it happens. So if it hasn’t happened, then it cannot be said with certainty, even though it is likely to happen. 

Why is this important, because maybe we should just shut off our expectations. Let things be. Let time carry you. Let the oak seed become an oak, or not. Let the choices you make be appreciated for their good and not for the bad of the choices you didn’t make. 

Confidence comes from knowing that I am okay because I chose choice A, but I would also have been okay if I chose choice B, or C. The idea I have had is this, drop me anywhere in the world, in any country, and I will find a way to make a difference – whether it is in the life of one person, or the life of many. So that truth trumps the expectations we can form, but it cannot come close to predicting what will actually happen. All we know, is that life is ok, regardless of the outcome. 

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