The vigorous branching of life's tree, and not the accumulating valor of mythical marches to progress, lies behind the persistence and expansion of organic diversity in our tough and constantly stressful world. And if we do not grasp the fundamental nature of branching as the key to life's passage across the geological stage, we will never understand evolution aright.
Stephen Jay Gould
There were timelines branching and branching, a mega-universe of universes, millions more every minute. Billions? Trillions? The universe split every time someone made a decision. Split, so that every decision ever made could go both ways. Every choice made by every man, woman, and child was reversed in the universe next door.
For each of us has a perch on the tree. After we are gone, that perch is marked by a notch, permanent, yes, but with its edges muting over time, assuming the tree is ever growing. Years from now someone can see that you were here, or there, and although you had little conception or care for the wider branching, in the next life there might be a sigh of wonder at how quietly flourishing it all was, if never majestic.
She wanted to leave, she wanted to lie alone face down on her bed and savor the vile piquancy of the moment, and go back down the lines of branching consequences to the point before the destruction began. She needed to contemplate with eyes closed the full richness of what she had lost, what she had given away, and to anticipate the new regime.
So many things in the world have happened before. But it's like they never did. Every new thing that happens to a person, it's a first... In that night I felt expansion, as if the world was branching out in shoots and growing faster than the eye could see. I felt smallness, how the earth divided into bits and kept dividing. I felt stars.
Every day we make our way through a moral forest, along pathways ever branching. Often we get lost. When the array of paths before us is so perplexing that we can't make a choice, or won't, we can hope that we will be given a sign to guide us. A reliance on signs, however, can lead to the evasion of all moral obligations, and thus earn a terrible judgment.
Every day we make our way through a moral forest, along pathways ever branching. Often we get lost. When the array of paths before us is so perplexing that we can't make a choice, or won't, we can hope that we will be given a sign to guide us. A reliance on sighs, however, can lead to the evasion of all moral obligations, and thus earn a terrible judgment.
Everything you see has its roots in the unseen world. The forms may change, yet the essence remains the same. Every wonderful sight will vanish, every sweet word will fade, But do not be disheartened, The source they come from is eternal, growing, Branching out, giving new life and new joy. Why do you weep? The source is within you And this whole world is springing up from it.
Well. There was noting to be done for it. Things had happened as they did, time's arrow had yet to be reversed by humans, done was done. If a man spent his life looking over his shoulder at every possible branching of his path he could have taken, he would never accomplish anything. One must learn from history so as not to repeat it, but one must not waste one's energy or time worrying about what might have been. Sorry . . . but people die every day and the galaxy continues on quite well without them. Consider yourself lucky you are one of those as yet unselected by the Fates.
As buds give rise by growth to fresh buds, and these, if vigorous, branch out and overtop on all sides many a feebler branch, so by generation I believe it has been with the great Tree of Life, which fills with its dead and broken branches the crust of the earth, and covers the surface with its ever branching and beautiful ramifications.
There are two great systems in the body of man: the tree of life, which is the arterial with its roots in the heart; and, the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, i.e. the nervous system, which has its roots in the brain. These two "trees" are physical manifestations of a complicated network of branching energy currents in the aura or superphysical bodies.
How can you come to understand your life when even the beginning is so complicated: a single cell imprinted with the color of your eyes and the shape of your face the pattern on your palm and the moods that will shadow you through your life. How can you be alive when every choice you make breaks the world into a thousand filaments each careless step branching into long tributaries of alternate lives shuddering outward and outward like sheet lightning.
Any fool can destroy trees. They cannot run away; and if they could, they would still be destroyed,-chased and hunted down as long as fun or a dollar could be got out of their bark hides, branching horns, or magnificent bole backbones. Few that fell trees plant them; nor would planting avail much towards getting back anything like the noble primeval forests. During a man's life only saplings can be grown, in the place of the old trees-tens of centuries old-that have been destroyed.
There was rarely an obvious branching point in a person's life. People changed slowly, over time. You didn't take on step, then find yourself in a completely new location. You first took a little step off a path to avoid some rocks. For a while, you walked alongside the path, but then you wandered out a little way to step on softer soil. Then you stopped paying attention as you drifted farther and farther away. Finally, you found yourself in the wrong city, wondering why the signs on the roadway hadn't led you better.
Journey's end In western lands beneath the Sun The flowers may rise in Spring, The trees may bud, the waters run, The merry finches sing. Or there maybe 'tis cloudless night, And swaying branches bear The Elven-stars as jewels white Amid their branching hair. Though here at journey's end I lie In darkness buried deep, Beyond all towers strong and high, Beyond all mountains steep, Above all shadows rides the Sun And Stars for ever dwell: I will not say the Day is done, Nor bid the Stars farewell.J.
J. R. R. Tolkien
I am now 33 years old, and it feels like much time has passed and is passing faster and faster every day. Day to day I have to make all sorts of choices about what is good and important and fun, and then I have to live with the forfeiture of all the other options those choices foreclose. And I'm starting to see how as time gains momentum my choices will narrow and their foreclosures multiply exponentially until I arrive at some point on some branch of all life's sumptuous branching complexity at which I am finally locked in and stuck on one path and time speeds me through stages of stasis and atrophy and decay until I go down for the third time, all struggle for naught, drowned by time. It is dreadful. But since it's my own choices that'll lock me in, it seems unavoidable-if I want to be any kind of grownup, I have to make choices and regret foreclosures and try to live with them.
David Foster Wallace
Concepts of memory tend to reflect the technology of the times. Plato and Aristotle saw memories as thoughts inscribed on wax tablets that could be erased easily and used again. These days, we tend to think of memory as a camera or a video recorder, filming, storing, and recycling the vast troves of data we accumulate throughout our lives. In practice, though, every memory we retain depends upon a chain of chemical interactions that connect millions of neurons to one another. Those neurons never touch; instead, they communicate through tiny gaps, or synapses, that surround each of them. Every neuron has branching filaments, called dendrites, that receive chemical signals from other nerve cells and send the information across the synapse to the body of the next cell. The typical human brain has trillions of these connections. When we learn something, chemicals in the brain strengthen the synapses that connect neurons. Long-term memories, built from new proteins, change those synaptic networks constantly; inevitably, some grow weaker and others, as they absorb new information, grow more powerful.
The affinities of all the beings of the same class have sometimes been represented by a great tree.I believe this simile largely speaks the truth. The green and budding twigs may represent existing species; and those produced during former years may represent the long succession of extinct species. At each period of growth all the growing twigs have tried to branch out on all sides, and to overtop and kill the surrounding twigs and branches, in the same manner as species and groups of species have at all times overmastered other species in the great battle for life. The limbs divided into great branches, and these into lesser and lesser branches, were themselves once, when the tree was young, budding twigs; and this connection of the former and present buds by ramifying branches may well represent the classification of all extinct and living species in groups subordinate to groups. Of the many twigs which flourished when the tree was a mere bush, only two or three, now grown into great branches, yet survive and bear the other branches; so with the species which lived during long-past geological periods, very few have left living and modified descendants. From the first growth of the tree, many a limb and branch has decayed and dropped off; and these fallen branches of various sizes may represent those whole orders, families, and genera which have now no living representatives, and which are known to us only in a fossil state. As we here and there see a thin straggling branch springing from a fork low down in a tree, and which by some chance has been favoured and is still alive on its summit, so we occasionally see an animal like the Ornithorhynchus or Lepidosiren, which in some small degree connects by its affinities two large branches of life, and which has apparently been saved from fatal competition by having inhabited a protected station. As buds give rise by growth to fresh buds, and these, if vigorous, branch out and overtop on all sides many a feebler branch, so by generation I believe it has been with the great Tree of Life, which fills with its dead and broken branches the crust of the earth, and covers the surface with its ever-branching and beautiful ramifications.