Saturday, February 19, 2011

The Road Less Travelled Phone App -- Writer's Poke #289

Students seem to love the poetry of Robert Frost; my guess is: they love it because it's highly accessible, and the selections provided in the typical anthology are easy to relate to.

Take "The Road Less Travelled," for example. Who can't imagine being at a fork in the road?  In the poem, the traveler admits that both roads have their appeal, but the choice he selects is the road less travelled. And that, he says, has made all the difference.

What the "difference" is, of course, isn't clear, and the traveler admits that he'll probably never be able to try out the other road. So, how does he actually know if taking the less travelled road made more or less difference? Even in this rather "clear" poem, some ambiguity remains.

But it got me to thinking. Wouldn't it make a great phone app to see what the other road was like? These days, we have the GPS technology. We wouldn't have to "guess" at all. In a sense, we could "see into the future," and "take a look down the other road," as it were. Maybe it would still be impossible to travel two real roads at the same time, but perhaps we could simultaneously entertain the virtual alternative while going down the path we've selected.

Would being able to do so make "all the more" the difference?

What choices, if any, would you like to have knowledge about "alternative timelines" (i.e. what would have happened had you made other choices at specific decision points)? Is it a blessing to remain ignorant of such alternative timelines?

"It is your moments of decision that your destiny is shaped." -- Tony Robbins