THIS photo is supposed to be Osama bin Laden's family (he's the one circled, of course) on a trip to Falun, Sweden, in 1971. He was 14 years old, and looks like he's enjoying himself, doesn't he?
Osama has 22 brothers and sisters. His father had 10 wives.
Dig the pink car in the background. And the 1971-ish clothing. I see only one turban, no chadors or veils, and an awful lot of bellbottoms. Looks like, at that time, rich Saudi kids were mainly trying to be modern young people. Osama's family disowned him in 1994.
Pictures like this make me wonder, What happened to him? He looks so damned normal and ordinary. Why did his life diverge from those of his brothers and sisters? What changed him? What decisions did he make, to go down what paths, that led him further and further away from his family, his nation, and most of the human race?
We all make innumerable decisions in our lives, that lead us down a branching network of paths. Sometimes the importance of this or that turning isn't apparent until much later. Sometimes, in retrospect, we wind up in this or that position in our lives, in a relationship with this or that person, through a series of minute decisions and turnings, each one small, but leading us ultimately to a place we never expected to be. Sometimes it's a good place, sometimes it's not.
Was Osama fated to wind up as he is now, by his genes, by the character he was born with? Or was it a series of almost accidental steps, tiny decisions, chance meetings with this or that person, that led him to where he is now? Was it something he intended? Was it something nature intended for him? Or was it just chance? Could it have happened to any, or none of his brothers and sisters? Could it have happened to you, or me?
Is individual fate ruled by strange attractors, around which we orbit, unknowing? Or is it a random walk, with most particles staying close to the mean, but a few, purely by chance, wandering far afield?
Thanks, and a tip o' the hat to Undertoad and The Cellar's Image of the Day, where I first found this image.