Saturday, March 29, 2008



If but some vengeful god would call to me
From up the sky, and laugh: “Thou suffering thing,
Know that thy sorrow is my ecstasy,
That thy love’s loss is my hate’s profiting!”

Then would I bear, and clench myself, and die,
Steeled by the sense of ire unmerited;
Half-eased, too, that a Powerfuller than I
Had willed and meted me the tears I shed.

But not so. How arrives it joy lies slain,
And why unblooms the best hope ever sown?
—Crass Casualty obstructs the sun and rain,
And dicing Time for gladness casts a moan….
These purblind Doomsters had as readily strown
Blisses about my pilgrimage as pain.

Thomas Hardy, 1866.

Does Fate exist, or not? The things that happen to us--the joys, the pains--are they planned for us? Or does Chance rule our lives? It is a much-discussed question, with apparently little common ground between the two factions. But what about the third option? What about making our own fate, our own chances? Isn't that the hardest truth to come across? And the option with the most hope? Because we can't fight either Fate or Chance. But habits and attitudes and choices, those we can influence. We can become aware of them, determine those that are useful and those that block our way. And when we are aware, can we not weed out the bad and harbor the good?

It's a lot more work than just accepting Fate or Chance. It requires a clear eye and vigilant conscience. It carries risk of dissatisfaction of oneself and recriminations with it. But what greater reward is won, knowing what we have is due to our own actions, our own decisions.


Troy McClure said...

I believe in the many-worlds interpretation of quantum theory, which challenges the linearity of time & has implications for these issues. Basically the idea is that the universe is constantly splitting into parallel universes in which events unfold slightly differently. We don't perceive the splitting, because the separate branches don't interact above the microscopic level, but we do, ourselves, split and experience all of these different universes.

So I guess my point is, I no longer sit & wonder why things worked out the way they did---because I think that they worked out every other possible way too.

amy d said...

I am totally in love with the theory that troy postulated and always have been. It gives me satisfaction and some level of comfort when things don't work out the way I (think I)want them to. Just a few weeks ago, I had dinner with my friend, Ricky. I was discussing with him that his use of the term soul mate in regards to me had my mom all a twitter. I told him that most people think of romance when they use/hear that term. He was unaware of this fact. Anyway, I propsed that in one of our existences (universes) we probably are married.

Now, as to the question of predetrmined fate or self-determination; I haven’t come to a final belief on either one. I am spiritual but not religious. I do believe a higher being exists and has a plan for us or things in mind, if you will. I believe it’s flexible rather than rigid, however, as we do have free will. I also believe the adage that God helps those that help themselves. I believe an understanding of oneself, flaws and all, is the key to growth and opens many more doors to us than would have been had we remained ignorant. I am thinking this through as I type. It makes perfect sense to me and yet, I can’t connect all these ideas together in a way that doesn’t seem contradictory to your original question.

I’ve definitely been in a period of ignorance. Both about myself and about Wesley (pre-now). There has NOT been personal growth, as a consequence. It’s time to embark on that scary path once again. I, too, need to change.

lizardrinking said...

Troy's comment is also a view that lots of Buddhists have, which is interesting. Our perception of things, and our attachment to things. And our perception of our perception. I think there are many parallels between Buddhist thought and quantum theory - but I am a bit of a lightweight in both fields.

Amy, I have heard many people say that your true soulmate is not your lover, but I tend to move in new agey kind of circles.

Are there only 3 options, 'glo? As I often feel I leave my responsibility to my potential sadly untended, I fall back on fate many a time to relieve the inevitable disappointment!

anglophile said...

I have felt the disappointment, too, liz. And I have blamed fate in my day. But the problem with that is that only leads to further inertia, less incentive to take hold of the reins, as it were. I'm coming 'round to the point of view that I'm the mistress of my own destiny, up to a point. There's no denying that things happen, good and bad, through no fault of our own. But how we react to those things, that, I think is what determines our fate.

Anyway, that's what I'm thinking today. ;)