Let’s admit it, we shiver when we hear the word “Fate”.
Many of us like to see ourselves controlling our own destinies, the captain of our own ship, the maker of our own fortune yet most often, we are surprised to do and experience things that we did not plan or haven’t thought would be possible and that can happen to us. This unexpectedness of Fate is what makes us fear it. Although we fear “Fate”, we also want to understand and make sense to it.
This deep desire to understand it gave rise to Religion and the Metaphysical Sciences to appease and understand the forces of nature that pulls and cuts the strings of our existence. In the Age of Reason, Fate pushed mankind by organizing knowledge to create the Physical and Biological Sciences of which gave rise to Technology that seeks to control our enviroment by making it predictable resulting to making our lives better. Whether it is Religion, Science and Technology, Fate is always present and will always be a powerful force in life.
Science, Freewill, and Fate
Science and the concept Fate seems at first glance incompatible as one is empirical and the other leans on the mystical yet exploring the Sciences deepens the understanding and asserts the existence of fate. In the Physical Sciences such as Chemistry and Physics, Matter operates or follows certain laws and principles that explains why things behave in such. On the other hand, the Biological Sciences asserts that genes predisposes an organism to certain physical and behavioral traits. Genes also dictate the course of the organisms’ health over a period of time and tells of the things that can make it live or die.
With this, we can say that our Freewill is limited and is not really that free. Our capacity to exercise our will is under the dictum of Fate as dictated by our genes and the situation of the times we live in. When we use our will by choosing, we are often caught in a dilemma of seemingly intertwined choices. Some of the choices we’ve made lead us to where we want, some circumvents us to the choices we badly avoid, there are those choices which seemed to be bad at first but turns out to be good and vice versa. The intricacy of the consequence of the choices we make is beyond Human discernment thus in the end, Fate wins over Freewill.
The Way of Fate is Via Negativa
Acknowledging Fate’s existence is by knowing our limits and through Via negativa. As Nassim Nicholas Taleb defines Via negativa, it is subtracting or removing and when knowing what we are capable of and what we can not then we can live happier and peaceful lives. By this, we can effectively remove what makes us unhappy of which is way easier to do than finding from the myriad of possibilities of what makes us truly happy.
Fate exists whether we like it or not. It is an inescapable reality. There is always a “fate” for every decision and a ‘fate” for why one chose such decision. We cannot cheat Fate and with the myriad of options presented, the more we are putting ourselves under her auspices and whims. As Adam and Eve ate the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge and Wisdom, little did they know that with it comes the difficulty in choosing. The consequence of exercising their wills brought them not the greatness they were seeking but the downfall they avoid having.