The girl stands in worn boots at the crumbling limestone lip and looks out at all the possibilities before her. She’s there an hour later, still reflecting on all the things she could become. The becoming isn’t what scares her – it’s the choosing that has her stuck.
If she jumps she’ll have to live within the boundaries of that one decision. If she turns away, that too marks her. Back and forth, over and over, the permutations of the possible coil up and spiral out. She remains a fixture of this landscape until her body’s fatigue undercuts the mind’s anxiety.
A choice must be made, and so the girl fills her lungs once more with the exhilaration of free-will, trying to loosen the slightly nauseous dread all that freedom permits. It seemed like such a gift.
With each change a new wing of the adjacent possible opens up. — Stuart Kauffman, Evolutionary Biologist (paraphrased)