Decisions cut across time. We never make a decision that stays put and does not travel somewhere–upward, downward, outward, inward–after it is made. Decisions are made to move, to move us, to move the world, and to keep moving themselves.

So the incision of decisions regards not only the cutting away of other options but also the cutting into time and the making of time into a thing sliced and cut into pieces, collected into segments and chucks with certain of them deemed significant and others less so or insignificant.

This cutting and dicing applies whether we believe we are free to make our decisions or not. We could be chopped up by another power, or the power of the world itself could be a sort of chopping power, and we would still feel the weight of decisions. Decisions would still be made and we would still be–transformed by them. There is no human being so thoroughly persuaded by determinism and fatalism that the human fails to encounter the decisive, or fails to see certain portions of life as decisive. Decisions and the decisive make up our life in time whether we find ourselves as the leaves or as the wind or as the blower of the wind.

There is no escaping deicions! And what seems to be the disproportionate weight of decisions, the way they seem to never quite fit the initial visions and expectations we have of them, the way they always seem to escape the boundaries of the arena in which they were first made. The decision to have a meal and to repeat that meal several times a week ends up taking part in your going to the doctor’s office, and ends up threatening the likelihood that your child will have help to go to university. That road leads to an accident and sadness in the family for years, this road–even if it is a bit slower-going–leads to the funeral of your grandmother and to the semblance of final closure. A utilitarian calculus when it comes to decisions is madness, and could only be performed by a god, and even the god would find that it is madness.

The greatest decisions, though, and what is most decisive, may come in the form of our finding our personal inolvement in decisions to be something of a mystery. We might find it most decisive that the cut spans all of time and all the things of time. The decisions of our life that we find as so significant and that lead us one way or the other are not our own, but are ultimately given to us by the giving of the decisive itself. The decisive is not some plaything of ours and something we make up as we go along. The decisive, if it is decisive, is the truly decisive, and takes all things with it into a world of scales and courses, of weights and counterweights. This is why our decisions can shock us, and why certain of our decisions will continue to shock us in their decisiveness no matter the extent of our ontological skepticism and openness to alternative ways of seeing the world and living in the world. The cut can cut us to bits, beyond recognition, beyond identity.


  1. Your post reminds me of when I visited my grandmother in the hospital before she died. She had just survived her third heart attack. On seeing me, she said, ‘I was just sitting here, thinking back over my life, wondering how it would have turned out if I had made this decision instead of that one.’
    That’s when I decided to divorce my first husband and get out of a bad relationship. I didn’t want to be 84 years old, sitting in a hospital in London after surviving three heart attacks wishing I had made different decisions in my life.
    We have to go with our gut feelings, and once you’ve made that decision there’s no looking back.


    1. Richard Q says:

      My grandma is now 86 years old, and nearly every conversation I have with her circles around the counterfactuals of our lives. I like your response to your own grandmother, the way you reflected on the impact of your own decisions and the courses they would lead to. I tend to find the weight of fate in every decision, however liberating.

      Bless you, Paula.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I was just having this conversation with my fathef today, lifes harder now because we have to make too many decisions and we can’t even avoid it.
    This point is the whole thing written beautifuly. You write really well i must say. Thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Richard Q says:

      This is a sweet sound. I love when things resonate. And thank you, friend of mine. My apologies for the late reply. I am currently acting in a show, and…the time! The time!


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