Que Sera Sera

Do you believe in fate or do you believe you can control your own destiny?

I was going to write this post yesterday but decided to write another one instead! Pleased I did now.*

I actually think there are pros and cons to both sides of any discussion about the existence of a predetermined end point and I often find myself trying to decide which side of the fence I fall. For me, it is a genuine moot point – each to their own.

The easy answer is to raise another question and ask that if fate and destiny do exist, why do we have good and bad? The question can be tied both to Law and Religion. Legally, punishment for crime would be unfair if fate and destiny exist, because committing the crime was just in the cards you were dealt. “Yes, Your Honour, I did kill him but that’s because it was my destiny to do so. It was also his fate. It was out of my control.” Add in the religion that is supposed to be setting the fate and destiny while also preaching the commands by which we are supposed to live good and wholesome lives, and it all seems a bit hypocritical of a cruel and spiteful deity intent on making people suffer needlessly. Any higher being could just put us on the right path to start with so that the problem never occurs.

If we have no free will and our futures are already predetermined, what’s the point? Why don’t we just stay in bed all day? (Ooh, All Day Lie In sounds amazing right about now)! I think that means that our destiny is to stay in bed, so what happens if we get out of bed and do something? What if we had choice? We could have the choice to get out of bed or to commit the crime or not to commit the crime.

Does this mean that fate and destiny do not exist? It’s a pretty good argument so it looks like it might. And this could be good. We have complete free reign to make our own decisions and to do what we want with no constraints. That sounds idealistic. But what puts the choices there?

Fate is defined as the development of events outside a person’s control. I think that Fate puts the decisions in front of us. For example, when you randomly meet someone new. There is at least half of that scenario that is out of your control, but brings you both together. What else could do it? Luck? Coincidence? What’s the difference? It puts you both in the same place at the same time and gives you the choice of talking or not.

So where does this leave Destiny? I believe Destiny to be the end point. They are the events that will happen to a person or thing in the future. I think that Destiny can be shaped by the choices presented by Fate.

I see the two together and it fits nicely with the analogy of Life being a journey. I can set off on a journey I do regularly to Manchester. I get to a point where I can either turn left on to the M6 motorway, or I can carry on and take the A508 East Lancs road. Either way I end up where I want to be.

There are two issues I have with my preferred way of thinking. The first is knowing what your destiny is. You don’t. If you did, would you make different decisions? I think you would. The second issue is that everything I mentioned above is tangible – meeting someone, going somewhere. What about the things that aren’t tangible? Some of those are out of your control too, such as being in love with someone who doesn’t love you back (I’m not sure this a technically correct statement, but may be for another blog post. I trust, however, that you, dear reader, understand the sentiment). When you lose someone, you’d probably rather not be upset by it, but you are. Emotions can be out of your control, but I’m not sure they always help you make the decisions.

So there’s my thoughts. Some will think them fanciful, but they strike a good balance for me of being able to influence things while maintaining the ideal that things will come good in the end.

*(‘Twas obviously fate.)

Some call it faith, some call it love.
Some call it guidance from above.

Thank You Stars by Katie Melua

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