T Nation

Fate, Real or Not?

I hate the thought of having my life planned out for me. It scares me to death to not have any control. The reason I mention this is my life just seems to get nowhere. Whenever, I meet a great girl, she moves or doesn’t live in town; trying to move beyond my status is almost impossible . Some good friends tell me that they truly believe in fate. That trying to change your life is often useless. I need a reminder that I am the master of my destiny… T-Men are not content with mediocrity. Anyone agree? Thanx in advance… I am kinda going through a tough time in my life.

Fate is an excuse or a cop-out used by those who have made poor decisions or life choices. The belief in fate can actually have some negative psychological ramifications, because many types of mental illness (used in a very broad sense here) stem from lack of control or the feeling that one has no control over their lives.

There is no halftime, downtime, or othertime. Only lifetime and go-time. All you got is the days god gives you. Make the best of them and don’t be afraid of change.

For the most part you are master of your own destiny. Sure, if you have a birth defect or genetic predisposition for a disease you could call that “fate” but I prefer “chance”. When people speak of fate they are usually referring to some “grand design” or “plan” from which their life is predetermined, bullshit! Did some master plan determine that you didn’t want to go to the gym or that you would blow your diet eating a whole pizza? Some people are dealt shitty hands by random chance but from thereon, the quality of your life is determined by you. I agree with Chris, “fate” is an excuse not to accept responsibility for yourself or your actions. Generally, people have the life they deserve.

Interesting question. I felt like pehaps fate was shaping my destiny when I was younger or simply when depressed. I think fear of change, fear of the unknown, and low self-esteem push people into mediocrity and feelings that they are controlled by fate.

I grew up very shy and ackward with a really bad self-image. I was able to overcome this by pushing myself. I worried and over analyzed every situation. Once I was in college and then in the real world of business I realized quickly that I had to do things for myself and not expect anyone to do things for me. I pushed myself. Since I was shy, I deliberately pushed myself into positions to confront that issue. Now people react incrediously when I confide that I'm shy. I truely think that I have controlled my own destiny and I overcame my self-image problems through bodybuilding. Some may say that bodybuilding is superficial, but if I look and feel good I feel a lot better on the inside too. Unfortunately sometimes I think it requires a life changing event for some people to realize they can change their destiny. I truly believe that each of us has it in us to make substantial changes if we could somehow recognize our own inate ability to adapt and change. Let's face it, today it seems to be fashionable to blame someone else for our own shortcomings. Taking personal responsibility to me means controlling my own fate.

This is a very complex question. One which I have thought about quite a bit in my life. One which I have also studied to a good extent when I was working towards my degree in philosophy. Quite frankly, I just don’t know whether or not fate or determinism exists. However, what I do know, for I focused on the philosophy of physics, is that according to the standard interpretation of quantum mechanics the world is undeterministic, hence no fate. Personally, I don’t nor does just about any philosopher, buy the standard interpretation. Most physicists do, but that is simply because they don’t want to bother with the philosophical implications of the theory. I digress though. Anyway, to me the most plausible interpretation of quantum mechanics, to me at least, are ones in which the world is determinisitic. Yet you would have no way of ever predicting anything with this. Only probabilities of outcomes. It is an epistemic question, not an ontological one. In English it is a question of knowledge, not one about what there actually is out there. That being said even if the world by its nature is deterministic, I learned through my studies on the philosophy of mind, that free will can still exist. I know this sounds like a contradiction and I’m not sure I can explain it, but I’ll try. Part of the reason for this is because there are different levels of determinism. In that certain general things must be true, however, how these things are reached is not of consequence. Therefore, one could still do what they want w/o any consequence to what is their destinty, to a point. Another reason is because determinism could be for simply the universe as a whole and the small things like our lives or minds may not even be a factor. In fact they may not even be governed by the same rules of quantum mechanics that the rest of the world is. Our minds that is. After all what is consciousness? Anyway, I gotta go now. I’ll come back later and try to answer any questions people have. Keep in mind I am by no means an expert, nor do I think the truth is by any means known. I am simply a man. One with a degree in Philosophy, though.

Carpe Diem!

You sound depressed. Why? There is no such thing as fate that rules the universe and every action we make. We have free will to do what we do. It is a gift from God. If you have friends sthat believe in fate, ditch them now. If someone tells you you can’t do something (not the illegal or immoral somethings) turn and walk. As soon as you learn that each and every choice you make has an impact on your future you will start to improve. Ask yourself this: What are your goals? Read the interview of Coach Davies and you will see that the athletes that succeed are the ones with inner drive; they have the will to win. Do you have it? Want to improve your life? Get educated. And not just book smarts either. Want to get stronger? Work out with someone stronger than you. Want to be successful? Hang around successful people. Ask questions and listen. Don’t jusk ask “how”, ask “why”. I used to believe in fate when I was young. Praise God I got over it.-“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me”- and you can too.

I think this situation is best summed up by the lyrics of Neil Peart in the timeless classic Rush song, “Freewill.”

There are those who think that life
Is nothing left to chance
A host of holy horrors
To direct our aimless dance

A planet of playthings
We dance on the strings
Of powers we cannot conceive
“The stars aren’t aligned
Or the gods are malign”
Blame is better to give than receive

You can choose a ready guide
In some celestial voice
If you choose not to decide
You still have made a choice
You can choose from phantom fears
And kindness that can kill
I will choose a path that’s clear
I will choose free will

There are those who think that they
Were dealt a losing hand
The cards were stacked against them
They weren’t born in lotus-land

All preordained
A prisoner in chains
A victim of venomous fate
Kicked in the face
You can’t pray for a place
In heaven’s unearthly estate

Each of us
A cell of awareness
Imperfect and incomplete
Genetic blends
With uncertain ends
On a fortune hunt that’s far too fleet

I believe very strongly in fate. In fact I’m going to do a coin toss right now to determine whether I make it home alive. Uh…Best two out of three.

Dammit beannog! I refuse to coddle you with sympathetic soothings on the epistemological underpinning of determinism vs. free will. Grab your sack, grit your teeth, pin your ears back, and headbut any obstacle that dares challenge you until you are on the other side. Motivational speeches and go get em’s are not what you need. Stop whining, get pissed, and forget about fate. Do not discard even one more hour of your one and only life doubting yourself. Achieving worthwhile goals can be brutally difficult. Are you man (or T-man) enough to live life on your terms? Only you can answer this question. While you are agonizing over the moot question of fate, you could be achieving your goals.

The future is not set…

Shugs: Glad to see you finally putting your
psych degree to work for once. :wink:

beanog: There is no such thing as fate. There is only a big melting pot of all the choices individual people make with some random chance thrown in to make things interesting. You can't control everything that happens in your life. But you can, for the most part control the ultimate results you produce by learning from your previous choices and always trying to make better choices. Sometimes you get stuck in a rut; it happens to everyone. To get out of the rut, sometimes you just need to suck it up, take it up a level, and force yourself out of the rut through sheer will. And sometimes you have to do something radical. Move to a totally different place. Change careers. Whatever it takes. If you believe in fate/predeterminism, then you are effectively helpless because there is nothing you can do. If you believe that you can create the life you want through your own free will, then you probably can.

Steve: I have quite a bit of philosophy under my belt as well. But your determinism vs inderterminism is a false dichotomy. All facets of the universe do not have to be the same; not all or nothing. Some aspects of it are obviously fairly determinsitic, hence deterministic science is possible. Other aspects of the universe are clearly not deterministic. Regarding QM, nobody really understands it, including the physicists, so I'm not going to worry about the philosophical implications until we have a broader picture/ better understanding of it. Until then it's just mental masturbation. Finally, regarding your question about consciousness, so far as humans have been able to observe, it is a function of the human (materialistic) brain. And perhaps complex nodal systems of similar structure. No mysticism required.

Todd G: Glad to see other Rush fans out there. Reading or hearing the lyrics to many Rush songs always sends shivers down my spine. Free WIll is a good one. I also like Tom Sawyer, Roll The Bones (topic relevant), Something For Nothing, etc. etc. I could go on, but here is one I like to *paraphrase* for a more positive meaning (relevant to Beanogs post): "Ghost Of A Chance"
I don't believe in destiny,
or the guiding hand of fate.
I don't believe in forever,
or love as a mystical state.
I don't believe in the stars or the planets,
or angles watching from above.
But I believe there's a very good chance,
you can find someone to love.
-- Neil Peart, Rush
I changed the 2nd to last line - which changes the whole meaning of the song around - in a positive way.

Atlas: exactly. And by the way, I like your style. No BS :-)

PS - Chris is right: fate is a cop out for

Well, you can stake that claim,
Good work is the key to good fortune.
Winners take that praise,
Losers seldom take that blame.
--Neil Peart, "Roll The Bones"

OK, now Todd has got me started on my Rush addiction...

BTW, what is luck? Luck is when the random chance portion of the giant melting pot equation happens to go your way. So the formula for "luck" is: RC (Random Chance) + YC (Your Choices) * TD (Time Duration) = DR (Desired Result). Sometimes the RC factor will go your way, and sometimes it won't. You just have to keep working your ass off making good choices until the formula produces the results you want.

Stepping off my soapbox now ...

“the future is not set, there is no fate but that which we make for ourselves” - Terminator

BRILLIANT POST! Wise and inspirational words, one of the best of all time.

Thaks a lot guys. I wasn’t even ecpecting my message to be posted let alone such a great responce from other T-Men. I needed a reminder that shit just don’t happen, it’s made to happen. The thought of me doing something radical is scary, but after considering it, it might be just what I need. I am not sure I wan’t to ditch friends, but I think I need to find different ones. The ones I have now are mostly the ones I made a few years ago when i was as passive as could be. Furthermore, I wouldn’t consider a T-Mag reader to be mediocre; you are the elite and I highly respect your opinions. I thinks it’s time I bring it up a notch and force life to happen and if it doesn’t budge, I’ll strangle it until it’s blue.

There are a nuber of things that have been beating me up lately. This is the main reason: There is this girl I met over the summer that lives over a thousand miles away. To make the story short, I fell in love with her. Ever since then, no girl I have met seems to be good enough or doesn't think I am good enough. Would moving there be (too?) radical? or is this just stupidity... as it's not very objective or rational.

Thanx again T-men. Yes, I am in a rut right now, and yes, I will pull myself out. It’s time I get off the bench and play some life!


You could jsut follow the concept of parallel [sp] universes, and the theorys of how we can manipulate them…if we want a good life, basicly do something good that makes you happy…in turn this will increase the amount of instances you have a good/happy life in other parallel universes, whereby they will do something good/happy that will result in more good/happy things happening to you…and so forth
basicly our live gets set in a loop, weather it is a good or bad one depends on each decision you make

Beannog, how does this woman feel about you? Have you discussed moving there with her? If she is postitive about it GO FOR IT! If it doesn’t work out what the heck, you’re out of a rut, seen a new place, job and most of all given it a go. If you truly believe this woman is right for you, then don’t pass up the opportunity and possible life time happiness. If you don’t, you’ll probably regret it for ever, follow your heart and take a chance!

beannog, you like this woman a lot, but does she like you the same way? Do you think that if you moved to the same place she lived, there might be something going on between you two? Like a relationship, marriage, kids, something to get those oxytocin hormones kicking in (sorry)? These are things you have to think through before you make a decision. I don’t think it’s stupid to be with this girl if you know for sure that she’s the one for you. But if you bought a house over where she lives, and rented a U-Haul to move all your stuff over there, but later found out she was in a happy relationship with someone else, boy you’d feel stupid.

I know right now you don't want to think about getting over her because you miss her so much. But over time, you will. It may take months, but you'll see yourself moving on with your life, and she'll be just a memory. I really can't help you here my friend, but what I can tell you is this. Listen to your heart. Do what your heart tells you to do. After all, whatever decision you make is yours, so it should really come from you. This is your life and you have to do whatever makes you happy. Even if it means going out of your way to move in with this chick (she better be hot too!). Oh, jamming your fingers through your chest and ripping out your heart so you can place it by your ear doesn't count as listening to your heart. I know, I tried.