Normal patch cords (the original example) aren't signals, they're paths for message passing. Two patch cords coming into an inlet means that the inlet can receive messages from two sources. The object in question (typically) simply stores that last message that it received in any given inlet. It doesn't care (indeed, it has no way of knowing) where the message came from.
If you're coming from Reaktor, you may be thinking that everything's a signal. In Max that's not so, you need to understand the difference between signals and messages.