Boy, did I choose a biggie to open up my blog: Fate and Freewill. I would like to share my primal understanding of the basic tenet in life, the law of Cause and Effect. If you think about it, the origin of all our causes in our reality is a result of our own thoughts. Right? Of course, the eventuality of this cause is the effect that we experience in life. Make sense? Newton’s third law indeed.
Did you flunk your exam? Probably, because last semester you did nothing but binge-watching all the new Netflix programs.
Missed that promotion in your job? Probably, because you did not do enough to deserve it
There is only so much one can blame on luck and fate. It is more in the choices we make in our life. We have the ability to make decisions in life for which we are morally responsible. Freewill is this ability to live as we wish; Conviction to execute what we intend to. It is a gift that we hardly acknowledge let alone appreciate. Until the point when we long for it. Fight for it and get control of your life, and do not let life control you. Any deed achieved through passion and free will has a successful outcome.
Well, ask any scientist who has invented a ground-breaking technology or the elite athletes who dominate the sport they play. It is just a result of freewill powered by the supreme spirit and of course their high IQ or natural talent. This convergence is the tenet that drives most of the achievements made by humankind ever since the Neanderthal days.
Fate vs. Freewill
There are two important factors behind our free will: freedom of action and moral responsibility! This simply means that you are given the freedom to do anything around but you are bound to be responsible for your decisions and action. A man is bound and free! As far as cliché goes “With great freedom comes great responsibility”.
On another note, maybe you did study consistently hard, but the professor just decided to punish his class by setting up an insurmountable question paper. Maybe you gave your 100% in your job and still ended up passed over for the promotion because of the supreme ability of your competitor to be eternally on the good books of the decision-maker.
This begs another question that burns within all of us: “I did everything I possibly can and yet how in the world did I miss on?” This is where we usually throw a “Hail Mary” and pass the blame on to fate. Just like when you deliberately choose a route based on your experience, to avoid traffic and reach your destination. Yet, you invariably end up in a logjam because of a minor accident between an over-enthusiastic biker and a car driver. This is fate. In spite of all our best efforts to diligently use freewill to manage a situation, we invariably end up facing the exact thing we wanted to avoid.
We might not get what we want in life but will always have a choice. One constant, irrespective of how “lucky” or “unlucky” we are, there is always a choice and that is the beauty of fate. It always keeps us in a mirage that we control our lives through our freewill while the truth cannot be farther than that. We can use our free will only to reach up, hoping for the best outcome possible. In retrospect, life seems to be nothing but a delicate balance between fate and free will. We become unstoppable when we learn how to balance this and make the best out of it.
Life is a delicate balance between fate and freewill.
We, as humans (at least the majority of us), are socially tuned in such a way that more the control and certainty, the more comfortable we are. And therein lies the perennial answer to the question of why do people always conceive fate to be negative? On the contrary to the popular theory that “every one of us wants things to happen in our favor and when it doesn’t, we shift the blame on fate” It is this inherent presence of sheer unpredictability and randomness that causes an impending sense of sadness.
Hence most of the time people fail to understand the difference between “Consequence of our freewill” and “Fate”. We just don’t want to accept that we fail, more often than not, because of exercising our freewill to choose Netflix over notebooks and seldom because of some crazy professor setting up a gargantuan question paper. This is no philosophy but just another view.
The divine pre-ordination
It has always been, do our best every single time and hope things fall in place. In a way, this also offers another perspective to a burning question that atheists always throw at theism. “If fate and freewill are what life is mostly about, then why God?”
The devil (pun intended) is in the details. I’m not much of a religious person myself, but gazillion scientific studies have time and again proved that creating positive vibes significantly impacts our abilities. Praying is exactly for this. It is to synchronize ourselves with nature and instill positivity thereby sowing confidence within us to face adversities. This enables us to exercise our free will in a more prudent way. Praying most certainly doesn’t mean delegating the almighty to do our dirty work. It is more like a consequence-free steroid to boost up our decision-making.
Hope dies the minute we conclude that fate is conspiring against us. Freewill dies the minute we make god responsible for our life. Proper application of freewill backed by the hope of succeeding with blessings of fate takes us to our destiny. Now got it? Why life is majorly a balancing act between fate, freewill, and its consequences.
CONTROL: The differentiator
So if destiny is where we are entitled to be and fate is what happens to us, the next confusion is how they are different. Of course, we would like to believe, that destiny is our entitlement decided the moment one out a million sperm wins the race and our life in its form is created. It is all predefined. On contrary, one word is the key differentiator here again: CONTROL. Destiny is not some cosmic Super Mario game where all challenges, obstacles, rewards are exactly preset and you just got to go through the motion to complete your life.
We can’t just think we are destined and get away with running through the motion. We still have to put in the required hard yards. Destiny is something that is to be shaped, unlike fate. The very presence of our influence is the reason why destiny is a positive phenomenon. An elite sportsperson maybe is supremely talented and physically gifted. He maybe is destined to become one but still has to work on it rigorously day in day out for the better part of his life. Of course, he still needs fate to be on his side, but as you can imagine his efforts’ influence his success to a much larger degree than luck, entitlement, or chance.
The art of living
There is so much you can do to influence your life. But there is only so much that we can control. We need to learn the art of living, on how to make the best possible decisions in any given circumstances hoping that fate is by our side to help us reach our destiny. A simple analogy drawing parallels to this unprecedented pandemic crisis:
Choosing to maintain the social distancing norms is freewill. In spite of that, still ending up infected because of transmission via currency notes or vegetables or whatever remotely possible reason is your fate. You choosing to be quarantined, adhering to doctor’s advice strictly, and overcoming the ailment is Destiny”
But, if you misuse freewill and choose not to adhere to social distancing norms, you will eventually be infected and end up being one of the most affected countries in the world. Just ask our American friends 😉