Apr 2, 2017
Are we destined to take a certain path in life? Or are we the masters of our own destiny? Or is there middle way? Some subtle truth that both fate and free-will play a part on our path in life?
"Wheels have been set in motion, and they have their own pace, to which we are...condemned," Wrote Tom Stoppard in his famous play Rozencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead. "Each move is dictated by the previous one -- that is the meaning of order. If we start being arbitrary it'll just be a shambles: at least, let us hope so. Because if we happened, just happened to discover, or even suspect that our spontaneity was part of their order, we'd know that we were lost."
In this episode, Clay and Sarah discuss:
* Why we don't like the idea of Fate
* The idea of 'God's Plan' as a possible conception of Fate with Free-Will
* Hard core Destiny (this is Oedipus's problem!)
* The role of Habits in determining our destiny. (Remember in the Matrix, the Oracle's explanation to Neo that "You've already made the choice, now you need to understand why you made it.")
* Hard core Free-Will (aka the World of
Now if you've been listening to the show for awhile, you'll know about Clay's obsession with the Zombie Apocalypse and his not-so-secret curiosity about what would happen if all the structures of law and order that we take for granted come tumbling down so that Free-Will can reign.
You'll also hear in this episode about his other sneaking suspicion that life is like being on a massive ship. In other words, you can go where you like on the ship, but when all's said and done, the ship is headed in a particularly direction to a particular destination.
This reminded us of the film The Adjustment Bureau with Matt Damon where powerful agents of Fate work behind the scenes to 'correct for' our minor deviations and keep us on the predetermined path of our destiny.
But what if there were also a potential that both things are true.
What if there is BOTH an element of fate or destiny AND an element of free-will at work in our lives?
Many of us probably live in this space of contradiction all the time. For instance, as much as many of us are drawn to the idea of what I've called hard core Free-Will, that we are ultimately masters of our own destiny, I would venture a guess that most of us also live with the belief that some things were meant to happen, or not meant to be. For instance, if we didn't get that job we wanted, "it's for the best". If we bump into someone we know randomly and this leads to an important event in our lives, that it was "meant to happen".
Maybe when we believe we have the power to change the direction of our lives AND believe that some things are meant to happen, this is not a contradiction...
What do you think? Do you feel like there have been forces of fate at work in your life at any point? Do you use phrases like 'meant to happen' or 'there are no coincidences', but also believe you have free-will? How do you reconcile these things in YOUR mind?