I recently saw a great movie called The Adjustment Bureau, starring one of my favorite actors of all time, Mr. Matt Damon (he had me at ‘Goodwill Hunting’). The film basically revolves around the concept of Fate vs. Free-Will. In the movie, the main character David Norris (Matty D.) gets a glimpse of his future and finds he wants something else for himself. A noted politician, Norris is gunning for a seat in the U.S. Senate when he meets a beautiful dancer Elise (played by Emily Blunt), a women unlike any that he has known before. Just when he realizes he’s falling for her, a group of mysterious men known as The Adjustment Bureau who work for ‘Fate’ itself conspire to do everything they can to keep David and Elise apart. In the midst of overwhelming odds, David has to decide whether to let Elise go and accept a pre-determined path, or risk everything to defy ‘Fate’ and be with the one he loves. It was an amazing movie, not only in terms of the actors and yes, the thrilling and romantic aspects of it that kept me on my toes wanting more, but it was the overall concept of the film that peaked my interest and really made me think.
Is there such a thing as Fate? Does the Universe “know” how our lives will turn out… before they even begin? Do we all have a destiny that is set in stone? Or do our choices impact what happens, even if we have a certain amount of destiny built into our life lines from the get-go?
If you are anything like most people, the idea of fate or destiny is a pretty hard concept to wrap our brains around.
One could argue that if we accept that some people CAN in fact predict the future, or see things that have NOT yet happened but do, there is unquestionably some pre-determination in the world… PERIOD. And to deny that people have been making predictions that HAVE in fact come true for thousands of years would be to ignore human history… and of course, even your own experience.
For example: Have you ever thought of someone you haven’t heard from in a very long time… minutes before they called, or emailed you, or you bumped into them on the street? Or have you ever had a weird vision of something that has YET to happen… and yet, somewhere in your gut you know it will. (and then it DOES?)
These things, when they happen in a way that you simply KNOW was not luck, or chance or coincidence, simply can’t be explained. It would seem as if this is proof that ‘Fate’ took the wheel and did the steering, yet I am still not sure I would say that some sort of destiny or “fixed future” was at play.
Some people believe much of our life is “written” well in advance, and we are simply actors on a stage, living out the scripts that some greater mind created for us long ago. Another film adaptation that explains this very phenomena is ‘The Truman Show’ (it seems that there are quite a few movies that deal with this topic, not that I think about it). The whole premise is focused on Jim Carrey’s character who struggles with the ‘Fate factor’ after he finds out that his life is just like a movie, that he is just an actor. When he finally tries to go the improv route if you will, to break free from the script, he finds that he is better off being the director of his own life. I was 11 when I first saw this flick and I have got to say, it kind of freaked the beans out of me. Whenever I looked into the mirror or television set, I couldn’t help but wonder if I was being filmed by Ed Harris. Thankfully I wasn’t, although I will say, it would be kind of cool to be ‘cast’ in my own rom-com or action-thriller every now and then to spice things up…just so long as I stay away from the horror flicks! I can barely watch a scary movie let a lone live in one. Eek!
Playing the opposition to the belief that ‘Fate’ is very real, others think that any talk about destiny or fate or karma is silly, and is completely foolish. So…which is true? And why does it even matter?
To help better illustrate these arguments, it’s a good idea to take a deeper look at the meaning behind ‘Fate’. There are basically three major concepts:
In the first concept, ‘Fate’ means a predetermined or pre-existing line of time to a particular point. Was I meant to have that second burrito? Did you mean to slip walking UP the steps this morning? If so then ‘Fate’ is everywhere. We were meant to be where we are now, doing what we do and experiencing what we experience because ‘Fate’ says so. Fate determines our future with this concept; fighting will only bring you back to the same ‘Fate’ anyways.
In the second concept, ‘Fate’ is a part of life, but we are in control partly to how it is played out. For example, ‘Fate’ tells us we will marry, but to who is our choice. Or ‘Fate’ tells us we will be Oprah-rich one day, but how the wealth is created is up to us. This concept differs from concept one in that ‘Fate’ gives us a guide, but is not the absolute truth.
In the third concept, ‘Fate’ is controlled by the individual and determined by what you do in your life and conditioning. In this concept, ‘Fate’ is bound by your decisions and your decisions alone; you determine your own ‘Fate’ in a way.
These concepts got me spinning even more, leading to further questions…
1. First of all if ‘Fate’ is Real, then to what degree is ”Fate’ controlling us..?
2. If we control our own ‘Fate’, then why do similar familiar patterns seem to appear in our lives?
3. If everything is ‘Fate’ then does that mean we are less in control of our lives than we think?
4. Is ‘Fate’ a word to make us feel better in bad parts of our lives?
5. Is ‘Fate’ merely a description to enhance the good parts of our lives? (It was ‘Fate’ that I met you)
Whoofta! I don’t know about you but I am tuckered out just thinking about all of these concepts.
I don’t have any answers to these questions; I am not quite sure what I think about ‘Fate’ and whether or not it exists (and if it does, to what extent). If I were to pick a concept of ‘Fate’ that felt the most true, I think it would be the second one, that we work together with ‘Fate’ to decide our future. I also believe that God does have a plan for everyone, that he and only he knows what our life will turn out to be like. We each come in to this life to learn, to grow, to succeed and to fail, and as such, we have choice! But, there are things we’ve chosen to experience, and to learn from, that are also built into the fabric of our lives. I guess the ‘Fate’ or destiny we create is what we do when those choices present themselves.
Nothing is set in stone. We each have free choice. That is the beauty of being alive. I am choosing to share this information with you right now. You are choosing to read it.
There may be a certain amount of karma, or ‘Fate’ and destiny behind both of those decisions.
But – it’s what we ACTUALLY do with the information, the lessons and the learning… that is the important part, and what ultimately defines and decides our futures!
P.S. I think that ‘Fate’ or destiny have it in their cards for me to go to Kopp’s tonight to get that double scoop of Cookie Dough frozen custard…and since I have decided that ‘Fate’ and myself both play a part in what happens both now and in my future, I am NOT going to disagree with that 🙂
Question of the day: Do you believe in ‘Fate’?