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How would you interpret these sentences?

We were lined along the ditch up to our ankles in a soupy muck. It all seemed in that moment to be the conclusion of a poorly designed experiment in inevitability. Everything was in its proper place, waiting for a pause in time, for the source of all momentum to be stilled, so that what remained would be nothing more than detritus to be tallied up. The world was paper-thin as far as I could tell. And the world was the orchard, and the orchard was what came next. But none of that was true. I was only afraid of dying.

How would you explain these two sentences: The world was paper-thin as far as I could tell. And the world was the orchard, and the orchard was what came next?
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Another question: How would interpret "It all seemed in that moment to be the conclusion of a poorly designed experiment in inevitability. Everything was in its proper place, waiting for a pause in time, for the source of all momentum to be stilled, so that what remained would be nothing more than detritus to be tallied up. "
Thanks!

For learning: English
Base language: English
Category: Language

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    I'd say "all seemed to be the conclusion of an experiment in inevitability" is just a way the author describes a sense of fatefulness / fatality (not in the sense of "death" but in the sense of something being predetermined) regarding his situation. By "poorly designed" the author is expressing his discontent as to the way things are turning out. So all in all, I read the passage" as "everything proceeded according to a pre-written script, and in the end there is nothing to do except to pick up all the mess (since everything is already pre-ordained)." Ha, Gordon, with all the answers I've given, I should be listed in the acknowledgements section of your finished translation! ;)

    (1) "The world was paper-thin." I think that the author is just being poetic about describing the world as "fragile." (2) "And the world was the orchard, and the orchard was what came next." Hard to say without reading a longer passage, but I'm guessing that the author is saying "the orchard is the only world that matters to me right now - to me, this is my whole world right now. I'm concentrating on the orchard." In other words, when people are confronted with something very important/urgent, the thing at hand is the only one that matters.

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