Thursday, June 07, 2012

Old Ghosts

"All we ever see of stars are their old photographs."
-Doctor Manhattan, Watchmen

So it's been more than three years since I've stepped out of the gates of the University of Santo Tomas. I must admit, even I didn't see that coming.

It's been seven years since I've walked under the Arch of the Centuries, wondering if the old sayings about it were true. Thankfully, they weren't.

And it's been almost eight years since I've come to terms with the fact that I will have to make the most out of studying in the fourth university of my choice. In hindsight, there are no regrets, only questions on human nature. 

If you had absolutely no stake in a person's fate, but were given the power to decide it, would you cause their success or defeat?

I know most people would immediately answer the former. Unfortunately, answering is vastly different from living it out. It was spirit breaking during those times when it was revealed that something as precious as being able to get into a place of my choosing was taken from me because of a lack of consideration. It is crushing to see all the hard work you've put into earning those acceptance letters have all been for naught. I only wish every teacher had this as their mantra:

 “A teacher affects eternity; he can never tell, where his influence stops.”
-Henry Brooks Adams


The past is past though, and it's absolutely crazy that things turned out for the better. I guess the universe throws everyone a bone once in a while. Sometimes, though, I can't help but wonder about what could have been if I was given the chance. I guess it's human nature to do just that.

I wonder if I could have turned things around if I chose differently. In chaos theory, there's this thing called the butterfly effect, whereas small changes affect larger events at a certain point, even if they are seemingly unconnected. I'm aware that in some of those choices, especially the major ones, I would have done the same thing ten times out of ten.

It's the little things that make me guess. What would have happened if I did not miss that test? What would have happened if I chose different friends? What would have happened if I didn't turn a blind eye to that person who clearly needed help? What would have happened if I chose not to join that competition or if I went through with that special project?

Like I said earlier though, there have been no regrets. I am happy with the people I met. I am happy with the friends I've made, even if most of them are borderline insane sometimes. I am happy with the places I've been to, and I am happy to be able to plan to go to the places I haven't. I am happy that my career had a bumpy start, because God knows I would regret working in the company I aspired to go to when I was still studying.

In Watchmen, Doctor Manhattan said that he can see all possible futures, but he is drawn to only one and even he cannot stray from it. I dread the notion that choice could be an illusion, that everyone follows a fixed path. However, I am thankful that humans do not (or at least, are incapable to) perceive things from that point of view.

I am thankful that these old ghosts can finally be laid to rest, for at least I feel like I have the reins to my future, for once.

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