The Garden of Forking Paths by Jorge Luis Borges

For me, The Garden of Forking Path is a unique story. The front part of the story talking about Yu Tsun, a Chinese-German Spy, planning and carrying out his escape plan after his cover was blown is somewhat of an unrelated event to the entire story. Though, it served as the buffer for the main bulk of the story to unfold. It did, however, cause some confusion for me during my initial understanding of the text.

The main idea of the story explored the concept of time. It made me think about time more than just a form of measurement in mathematical context. It tried to bring across the idea of time being relative. It formed the basis of a network of possible futures made up of an infinite number of possibilities. These possibilities are all link with one and another. Every point in the context of time has the capability to be the starting point that will lead to an infinite outcome. A slight change in any part of the flow, it will result in a domino effect, affecting all the subsequence possibilities.  

This leads me to realize that our life is also affected by the possibilities happening due to the decisions we made and also the decisions we did not make. For example, today you may choose to go to the library and meet someone you that you can relate to. However, you might never meet that person if you choose not to go to the library and do something else instead. The decisions of going and not going to the library will each leads to a different network of possibilities that will branch out infinitely with the flow of time.

I feel that this is a relevant source of inspiration that we as designers can use to enhance an interactive narrative related project. The possibilities created by the availability of choices allows us to create layers within our narrative. Within each layer, there will be potential for more possibilities, creating an interesting and engaging narrative experience. With a fixed progression happening in most of the narrative, in which the flow of it is fixed and sometimes predictable, the availability of choices creates a non-linear storytelling experience in a linear context.

Author: Zhou Yang

Things can go wrong but life goes on. 人生没有如果只有结果。

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