Fate

There is no such thing as fate; not in the sense that something was somehow pre-ordained to happen to us. Always, we have free will.

Always, we can make our own choices.

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People sometimes talk about momentous decisions, about arriving at a crossroads and having to make a choice of some sort, but every moment in life is, in reality, one such crossroads. Even the smallest choices, such as whether to have tea or coffee, or whether to cross over to walk on the sunny side of the street, might have major consequences. Consequences we cannot foresee.

And we do not see the consequences of an alternative choice, because we always make the choice and move on; we can never go back and make a different decision and thereby see how things might have turned out so differently.

And sometimes, those decisions we assume are going to be momentous, are nothing of the sort.

Being in the wrong place at the wrong time is not fate, it is chance.

Fate itself is no more than chance.

It is the path that we have chosen, and every single moment we can make choices that will change our lives for ever.

Exciting, huh?

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47 thoughts on “Fate

  1. I have a small issue with your statement that, “we can never go back and make a different decision and thereby see how things might have turned out so differently”. We do go back, in our imagination, to revisit past choices, especially the ones that don’t turn out as we expected. This is how we learn from our mistakes to make a better choice next time. We can’t turn back the clock, of course, but we can always consider what we could have done differently, and from that make a decision to do something differently in the future.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. You are quite correct in that, Marvin. We can always revisit our decisions, and we can always contemplate how different ones might turn out, and thereby resolve on different actions in the future.

      But we cannot actually make a different choice under all of the same conditions again, and neither can we foresee how unexpected events would influence that (theoretical) decision.

      Thank you visiting and for your comments.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. That’s correct Mick. The same person, under the same conditions, facing the same issue would always make the same choice. And we’ll need to keep that in mind if anyone invents a machine that can rewind/replay time. 🙂

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  2. I’m going to play the curmudgeon on this one…

    We’re born, we live, we die. Fate, or chance?

    While we live, we make choices, as best we can. What choices we get are forced upon us, sometimes affected by environment and prior choices, sometimes not. Since we can sometimes affect what those choices are, is that fate, or is it chance?

    True enough, we can’t always foresee what the future will bring, or what random events might be barrelling down on us, so chance is a player.

    But f you have some control over your destiny, is that your fate, or is it chance?

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Ah, now you bring choice into the equation, Dave.

      Yes, choices can get forced on us (they frequently are!), but whichever choices we make are then affected by events which have yet to happen, so we cannot foresee the results of those choices with any certainty.

      But to take your last point, if you have some control over your destiny, that is you exercising your free will. The word ‘fate’ implies a certain outcome, regardless of your attempts to influence events otherwise, and regarded as predetermined by a supernatural power. I would say that the outcome is a combination of your choices and of chance.

      Of course, if you believe in a supernatural / higher power that influences events, that will colour what you think about fate, as well as then bringing in thoughts about free will and determinism.

      And you don’t sound particularly curmudgeonly on this.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Mick, determinism should not pose any problem to free will.

        “Free will” is when we decide for ourselves what we will do, free of coercion or other undue influence.

        “Determinism” asserts that the behavior of objects and forces in our universe provides perfectly reliable cause and effect, and thus, at least in theory, is perfectly predictable.

        Because reliable cause and effect is neither coercive nor undue, it poses no threat to free will. A man holding a gun to our head forcing us to do his will is a meaningful constraint upon our choices. But reliable causation is not.

        Because our decisions are reliably caused by our own thoughts and feelings, our deliberate choosing poses no threat to determinism. Our purpose and our reasoning are the causes of our deliberate choices.

        Each choice we make for ourselves is both freely chosen and reliably caused. Thus, the concepts of free will and determinism are naturally compatible.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. I agree with you completely on that, Marvin. It was a bit of a throwaway remark about the arguments that come up when someone claims that their particular god has a ‘plan’ for every person, with a predicted outcome, yet that man has free will.

          I’m trying not to get out of my depth here!

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          1. It’s not as deep as it might seem. I was a teenager in the public library, reading about the determinism “versus” free will paradox. The idea that everything I did was inevitable bothered me, until I ran across this thought experiment:

            Suppose I have a choice between A and B. I feel myself leaning heavily toward A. So, just to spite inevitability, I’ll choose B instead! Seems too easy. But then I realize that my desire to spite inevitability just made B the inevitable choice. So now I have to choose A to avoid the inevitable. But wait, now A is inevitable again … it’s an endless loop!

            No matter what I choose, inevitability always switches to match my choice!

            Hmm. So, who or what is controlling the choice, me or inevitability? (Me, of course) 😊

            Liked by 1 person

            1. I guess that means we have to refuse to play the game. If we don’t accept that something is inevitable, we regain our notion of free will.

              Perhaps there is a danger of it becoming merely a word game, like the so-called paradox of the irresistible force meeting the immovable object, or of the tortoise and the hare.

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              1. The two concepts are not incompatible. For example:

                It can be causally inevitable that that you will face a problem or issue that requires a decision. It can be causally inevitable that you will imagine several different was to resolve the question. It can be causally inevitable that, given who you are at this point in your life, how you think and feel about things, what you believe, that one option will seem better to you than the others. And, because it seems to be better to you, you will choose that option, not because anyone or anything forced you to, but of your own free will.

                Or, it could be causally inevitable that your wife will come up and say, “No, no! Don’t choose THAT one. Choose THIS on instead!” And because of the control she exercises over your affections, you will bend to her wishes instead of your own. In which case you will do her will and not your own.

                Both cases are causally inevitable. But in one, you are the cause of the choice, and, in the other, your wife is the cause of the choice.

                Causation, itself, is never the cause of anything. Only the actual objects that exist in the real world, e.g., you, and your wife, can be said to “cause” an event to happen.

                Liked by 1 person

                  1. Exactly. “Free will” is what we call those empirical events where you choose for yourself what you “will” do, “free” of external coercion and undue influence. Reliable cause and effect is not an external coercion and it is not an undue influence. It’s just how we, and all the other objects in the physical universe, go about doing stuff.

                    And when we choose for ourselves what we will do, according to our own purpose and our own reasons, the choice is authentically free will and reliably caused.

                    Liked by 1 person

  3. This is a thought-provoking post. I think that we could make our choices. When I make my choices with a heart open, there’s always divine intervention. Even when the choices are not perfect, the One Above can always make something beautiful out of our circumstances. I don’t believe in fate. I believe in trust.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. There is a theory that every single alternative life we might have lived – had we chosen coffee instead of tea, turned left instead of right – exists somewhere. Every moment we live through creates another ‘potential’ universe or multitude of universes. And it is possible that we exist simultaneously in all of them…

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Yes, I’ve come across that. I think there is a short story by the Argentinian writer Borges on the subject, but also at least one other tale lurking somewhere in my memory and refusing to come out where I can see it.

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  5. I have never believed in fate either. We do get to make choices, and then we have to live with the consequences. It’s not a perfect system, but I think it’s better than knowing my life is already all planned out and that there’s nothing I can do about it!

    Liked by 1 person

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