The Garden of Forking Paths
by Jorge Luis Borges
The Garden of Forking Paths Fate and Free Will Quotes
How we cite our quotes: (Paragraph)
"A strange destiny," said Stephen Albert, "that of Ts'ui Pen"... (36)
Yu Tsun seems to have met a kindred spirit in Dr. Albert – a man who discusses history as though it were the workings of destiny.
"In Ts'ui Pen's work, all the possible solutions occur, each one being the point of departure for other bifurcations. Sometimes the pathways of this labyrinth converge. For example, you come to this house; but in other possible pasts you are my enemy; in others my friend." (48)
This theory of bifurcating universes puts a new spin on the idea of destiny. Now it seems as though particular events happen because all events must happen in some time. These events happen because they're not happening in any other time.
... he read two versions of the same epic chapter. In the first, an army marches into battle over a desolate mountain pass. The bleak and somber aspect of the rocky landscape made the soldiers feel that life itself was of little value, and so they won the battle easily. In the second, the same army passes through a palace where a banquet is in progress. The splendor of the feast remained a memory throughout the glorious battle, and so victory followed. (50)
Okay, this passage throws us for a loop. In Ts'ui Pen's example, the army experiences two different sets of circumstances and yet wind up in the same position. Could this be evidence in favor of the existence of fate? Are the characters fated to certain destinies, no matter what paths they take to get there? Doesn't this seem to contradict Ts'ui Pen's idea of infinite possible futures?