On Fate

I have always been a firm believer that the terms ‘luck’ and ‘fate’ are only perceptional; That they are only referred to by the people who are helpless and unable to change their own lives. But of late, I was forced to question my beliefs, to wonder whether any person really has full charge of his/her life. Of course, anybody who has just been pumped with Vivekananda’s quotes would say yes. But I am still skeptical, for I have seen many people, who were, only a few days ago, in full control of their lives, and now left with shattered dreams and hopes – many of which I’m a part! And I know I shall see more in the coming week as well.

Why and how does fate, or some unknown external force have such an impact on a man’s life? What right does it have to throw someone into a disaster? Such are the questions that haunt me. It is strange to note that someone’s life – happy and successful – can be thrown into shatters, turned upside down, in a matter of minutes. How can time – so little of it, or information – only but a little bit – change somebody’s reality so drastically? Are we meant to yield to it or are we meant to fight back is a secondary question. What’s foremost is whether such a force exists, and if it does, does it already have our lives preplanned? For centuries, the stoics and the epicureans have argued over this, and fatalism and determinism have had their times of vogue. All have come and gone, with their conceivable explanations, but the skepticism still remains. The Bhagavat Gita, for example, states that the life of a man as well as his surroundings is already written and cannot be altered – much like the basic premise of predeterminism. But it also says that we ought to do good things as a duty while the plan carries out by itself. This exposes a flaw that not everything is predetermined, as it shows that we can choose to be good or bad, but we ought to choose good. So it does not fully agree with Fatalism.

On the other hand, Determinism says that there exists a causal relationship as the world and time unfolds itself, and though the future itself might not be completely hopeless to be altered, it is still affected by past occurences. But this also does not completely exist in harmony with yet another premise of physics on an altogether different level – When we look at the equations of physics, we do not observe any evidence for the flow of time. It is more like there are several moments of time as instantaneous pieces locked in space rather than a river of time flowing forward.

Nothing teaches a man better than experience. But I believe experience is not the best teacher. It is a very expensive teacher. The best teacher is perhaps somebody else’s experience. But the past cannot be altered. We know that. So now, the question should be: Can the future be altered by us? Because when our attempts go in vain, when the harder we try, the more we experience resistance, hope gets drained – Hope, the one thing needed to fight back. Fortunately, the same flaw that shows us that not everything is predetermined shows us the light for hope that we do have control over a few things at least, and it is up to us as to how we choose to respond to and malleate them as much as we can to suit our interests.

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