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Home______An Infinity of Mirrors: From A Book In Progress

Suppose that time is an infinity of mirrors, in front and in the rear, receding forever into the distance. As you look behind they take you deeper into them and backward. You are carried past your day of birth, past your parents, past your grandparents to the beginning of something.

Suppose a world in which all possible consequences play themselves out. Chance and deviation are infinite. We live on and on as we exhaust one variant life after another without ever running out of them.

In such a universe this book would be written both the same and differently by me. And it would never be written at all. If I write all life scenarios the early versions fill the New York City public libraries, and soon a stack of books stretches out into the universe.

Suppose that one scenario would be lived thus: Chapter one, Rolly stays in Ohio to inherit his uncle's farm. Chapter two, his wife dies in childbirth, leaving him with one girl and two boys, all young. Chapter three, he meets a girl half his age in Springfield, and they get married. Etc.

In a world where all potentials are realized, one is that Will would never return to California from Ohio because his parents never left Xenia.

Suppose a day with Valentine on a barge when river pirates at Die Maus, an island in the Rhein near Ruedesheim, stop the boat to demand toll money from him and his fellow passengers. Suppose that he is left without enough money to get to Amsterdam and hence America and he turns back to Switzerland.

Suppose then that Will was not born because Valentine never made it to the New World. If he was not born he never met his wife nor did they have their daughter. This is a supposition I can't get rid of no matter how I think about time. It remains as potential when I consider it.

In Zen there is a puzzle, What was your face before your parents were born? An omniscient being could crack it without having to meditate, but then, God doesn't need koans.

In another version of the cosmos, time never created earth. The fiery gasses that spun off from the sun and chilled into seas did not do so after all. Or they did and life never occurred. They orbited too far from the sun or too close and temperatures could not support organisms.

Earth both existed and it never existed. Human beings lived and never did. Of course I am not here writing this and here I am. You the reader never read it and here you are.

In a world where all is potential there is paradox. When we see our face before our parents were born it disappears. As a push out of one moment into the next, time stops. It becomes effortless, a flow, or nonexistent.

In this version of time, death becomes unimportant because we will one day live and we will never live. It follows, then, that we will die and we will never die. We will live out countless lives and we will live out none of them.


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