Thursday, December 17, 2009

That Yoda Dude Was Smart

The subjects of fate and choice have been coming up in conversation a lot this week. I guess the holidays are as good a time as any to reflect on your life and where it may be going.
A couple days ago, I was at my parent's house for dinner when the topic of fate came up for the first time. I can't even remember how (which is how the best conversations start), and barely remember how it ended (which is how the best conversations conclude). What sticks out to me was my father seemingly befuddled by fate entirely.

"Fate is unpredictable and unchangeable. Try as you might, what is meant to be will be. The more you fight it, the longer this process will take, and the more exasperated you will become."

The Webster's definition of fate is quite long:
1 : the will or principle or determining cause by which things in general are believed to come to be as they are or events to happen as they do : destiny
2 a : an inevitable and often adverse outcome, condition, or end b : disaster; especially : death
3 a : final outcome b : the expected result of normal development c : the circumstances that befall someone or something
4 plural capitalized : the three goddesses who determine the course of human life in classical mythology

Those who believe in fate know that nothing is important- your choices are meaningless because they have already been decided for you. Therefore, why worry or complain or get upset? This is the way it was meant to be. Others believe that we make our own destiny and dismiss "fate-ologists" as loony and misguided. The true believer in fate simply smiles back at them.

Last night, at a friend's birthday party, I walked into a conversation about fate verses choice. The main speaker kept saying that fate is a series of choices of need verses want and that all wants are needs and vice versa. Uh... Don't think so. Need and want are not synonymous with each other. Need is something that you must have/do to survive. Want is the little things that make life that much better. The example given: You don't need to climb up on the roof, you want to. Unless of course there is a baby up there at which point you need to climb up and rescue the baby. (I really liked this analogy).

My own beliefs on the subject wax and wane depending on my mood and how I feel about life at the moment. It's nice to relinquish control of ones own life to a higher power be it God, Buddah, or the 3 Fates themselves. However, as a meticulous planner and worrywart, this doesn't really fit into my scheme of thinking. I would prefer a balance between the two- Your fate is mapped out for you in advance, but the choices you make along the way can add consequence or celebration to your destiny.

It's this want for clarification that first drew me to quantum mechanics, string theory, Schrodinger, et all. The thought that each choice we makes splinters reality and creates a new one is unbelievable. Imagine: That time you crashed the car, gone. When you broke up with the love of your life, your still together. When you turned left, you also turned right. I want that to be the case. I want to live forever, even if it's in an alternate plane.
[side note: who watches "Fringe"? Seriously, it's never too late to DVR it]


  1. Our destiny is to die.


  2. That's a real bummer Paul, even if it is kinda true.
    Baby Goats!
    There, now that I've lightened the mood...