March 24, 2003

By Michael Strickland

Echoes in Eternity

"What we do in life echoes in eternity."
General Maximus (Russell Crowe), Gladiator

Our days are filled with moments that could irrevocably change the direction of our lives. Our lives are twisting pathways with an infinite number of branches, and which ones we decide to take determine the course our lives will follow. It could be as simple as choosing to drive to the store at just the right (or wrong) moment to set fate into motion. Or it could be a big decision reached after weeks of careful deliberation.

A decision to stop for coffee on the way to work may have kept someone from being in their office when the first plane hit the World Trade Center. A small decision with huge ramifications. My choice to accept a voluntary severance on the cusp of the dot-com bubble burst—and just three months before 9/11—completely changed my life. A big decision that I thought would have had smaller ramifications. Every choice, big or small, determines the course of one's life.

On a philosophical level, the science fiction concept of parallel worlds/universes has always fascinated me. According to this narrative device, there are as many different universes—an infinite number—as there are decisions that you make. For instance, another world exists in which I chose to stay at Disney. Another world exists in which Al Gore won the 2000 presidential election. Another world exists in which Germany won World War II. Like a stone creates ripples when it breaks the surface of a pond, each decision echoes in eternity, creating alternate histories and realities.

Would it not be fascinating to peek into those other worlds, to see the impacts our decisions have made, to see how things would have turned out had we chosen differently? My guess is that more often than not, we would conclude that we made the right decision after all. Hindsight is 20/20. We can never know with certainty how our choices will affect our lives. But we often make our decisions based on instinct, based on a "gut feeling," on intuition. Somehow, we know what the right choice is, even if it doesn't seem right after we make it.


Development note: I've noticed that this site doesn't look like it should in Netscape Navigator. Rather than waste time jury-rigging it to look right in a soon-to-be-obsolete browser, I'll just add the cliché "This site best viewed with Internet Explorer."
Michael Strickland ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

What is "The Daily Strick"?

I have long called myself a writer, but too often I don't do what a writer must do daily: write. So you, dear reader, are the beneficiary of my resolution to make a positive change in at least one area of my life. Every single day of this new year, I will write something, anything, and post it here. It is my intention to use this daily exercise to jump-start my too-long-dormant creative energies, and perhaps generate some worthwhile material this year. Hopefully you will find at least an occasional amusement or insight in my daily musings.

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3/23: Booing for Columbine
3/22: Not Recommending Diving
3/21: Works in Progress
3/20: Three Rings of Shock & Awe
3/19: Paris—A Beautiful Blur
3/18: Ignorant Idiot Man
3/17: The Pirate Queen
3/16: To War or Not to War
3/15: So Long, Seau
3/14: Telemarketing Pays
3/13: Free, For Now
3/12: Chicken Little Gets Respect
3/11: Axis of Evil
3/10: Writing Kept Me From Writing
3/9: King Arthur
3/8: The Women are Smarter
3/7: Salt on Old Wounds
3/6: 3/3/03, 3:33 p.m.
3/5: Beer Day
3/4: Pulling the Trigger
3/3: Make 'Em Laugh
3/2: Whither Iraq?
3/1: Strickland Cellars
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