Monday, July 27, 2009

Fate or Free Will?

Do you believe in fate, or free will? Is it possible to live a life governed by both?

Imagine this scenario. A reincarnating soul, preparing to begin its next life, has a clarity of thought and vision our limited senses cannot fathom. The soul is able to choose the course its life will take, like the expert marksman who knows where his bullet will hit before he squeezes the trigger.

When the soul pulls the trigger, it begins a life it chose for itself. But once it is born, the trajectory cannot be altered. Fate, chosen of one's own free will.

I like this thought. It gives a sense of ownership over one's past and future without having to write off tragedy to the incomprehensible mind of a deity.

Why, then, would anyone choose to suffer in life? Well, if the choice to suffer is made by a soul between stages of reincarnation, a soul who knows that each life is temporary, a soul that has lived many lives and is ready for a new experience, then suffering starts to make more sense. It is not a lesson taught by God, it is a lesson taught by ourselves.

To me, God is bigger than a single life. God is the universe in its entirety, "all that is seen and unseen." There is nothing that is not part of God; indeed, "nothing" itself is also part of God.

So if you look at yourself, you are made up entirely of God. You are 100% God, as am I. The earth, the sun, the distant quasar...everything has equal divinity: 100%.


Weronika said...

I think fate presents us the choices, and we make the decisions that define our lives.

You have a very interesting point here, Rick, and I agree with you entirely.

Have a great week!

Scott said...

I believe in both Fate and free-will. We make choices every day - shower or not to shower, shave or not to shave, blue shirt or pink shirt, salad or hamburger, date this person or that person.

I also think that, every now and then, Fate steps in and slaps us on the back of our head. At that point, we again have the free will to choose which path we want.


Rick Daley said...

Have you ever made a really bad choice, and at the time you knew making the choice was a bad move but couldn't fight the compulsion to do it?

I think that's fate. Or OCD.

To me fate speaks of a predetermined end, in which case the choices in the present are moot, because they do not change your path. In most senses, fate and free will are contradictory. My little philosophical musing exploits a loophole that allows them to co-exist.

And for the record, I have no idea why blogger won't insert the line breaks correctly in this post. It's either double spacing between paragraphs or no spacing. F&%$ it.

MattDel said...

Hey Rich,

Email me those chapters at

Apparently my forgetfulness strikes again. D'oh!

Anita said...

Free will.

scott g.f. bailey said...

Alternatives, but not choice.

Rick Daley said...

And Scott Bailey wins the philosophical bombshell award for today!

Elizabeth Bradley said...

When my son was three he looked up at me, (we were wading in a shallow sandy creek at the time), and he said, "I am God."

I didn't even know he knew what the word God meant. We weren't church goers.

It was amazing.

Rick Daley said...


By my logic, he was right, 100%.

That sure beats "I am the devil."

Charlie said...

Free will. Fate, not so much.

I may be destined to be a working stiff for the rest of my life but it's not fate. It may be a lack of talent or drive that prevents someone from "making it" but they're not destined to be that way.

You are in charge of your life, just as you are responsible for bad desicions. It is not fate at all.

May the Force be with you...

scott g.f. bailey said...

Rick: I stole that line from Tom Stoppard's "Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead." It pretty much sums up my feelings about moving through life.

Rick Daley said...


...And also with you. You must go to the school of "hokey religion and and ancient weapons are no match for a good blaster at your side."

Hans off to you.

Rick Daley said...


I'll still give you the credit for evoking it at the right time/place.

You'll have to settle any potential copyright or trademark issues outside this forum, however.

scott g.f. bailey said...

I can kick Stoppard's ass; I'm not worried. He's an old man, you know. I can totally take him down, that Shakespeare-plagiarizing punk.

Rick Daley said...


Damn straight. You gotta have brass balls to even THINK about re-telling a Shakespeare tale.

BTW...I liked your chapter samples at the lab, I can't wait to read the whole story arc behind HORATIO!

What's that clinking sound?

The Journalizer said...

I believe fate is the universe guiding us. Free will is whether we listen or not.

Kristi said...

Rick - your are so right on about the 100% divinity and it's sad that so many organized religions don't get that and tell you to look outside yourself to (insert any Deity) to find that.

I also agree that you choose the path of reincarnation based on lessons you want to learn, etc. BUT the trajectory can always be altered. There is no fate because that implies a time continuum (past, present, future) which is just a construct of our human senses. Everything actually happens all at the same time, so there is always choice involved - although the choices you make may be heavily influenced by the path you chose "beforehand." Thanks for the post. :)

Rick Daley said...

Journalizer- Good perspective, I like that.

Kristi- Thanks for stopping by! I learned the term namiste in Yoga..."may the divine in me honor the divine in you" is how I was told to interpret it. It fits in well with my philosophy!

I believe that many things happen for a reason, but I also believe that ultimately we are on control of our lives.

Time is a restriction of our senses. I recently saw Watchmen (second viewing of the movie and I also read the graphic novel) and it does an excellent job of illustrating your description of the continuum of time. Dr. Manhattan sees the past and the future concurrent to the present.

"We are all puppets, Laurie. I'm just a puppet who can see the strings."

Scott said...

I do believe in free will. I don't think anything about out lives is predetermined. I think your life is the result of your choices, good, bad or a combination of the two.

I don't see how one could be a Christian and believe in free will. Free will can not exist if God is all-knowing. If God knows the outcome of my life before I'm even born, am I not really just an actor in his play?

Jay said...

wow! Great concise blog of life beyond life, soul, god and human life. There is one point I would differ on, since Soul is "living each life" to learn and learn, at the beginning of each new life, its really not very free to choose "any life" it wants. Because there are past mistakes and errors that needs to be undone, unlearned lessons to be relearned. So once the journey starts for the soul till it becomes one with God, it chooses each "human life" deliberately for a greater extent, because the goal of the soul is more clear to soul, than human goals to human minds.
I really liked the line "God is bigger than a single life". So true! how our visions are clouded by the things we only see around.
"Fate, chosen of one's own free will" - great true thought.

Jay said...

Lets say one is driving from NY to LA. This journey would be fate. But how one drives is free will. Will the person enjoy, cherish the drive. Or get drunk on the way and thrashes the car, or be nice and kind on the way. Or totally gets tensed up all along the way. Will the person gives or takes along the way. Perception, thoughts, action etc is all free will. But the journey and the destination itself, I feel is fate.
Free will is given as tool to make what you want in the journey. As any tool , it could be used both ways.

Rick Daley said...


Thanks for sharing your thoughts. Life is filled with choices. Are the options available decided by fate, but the option selected the act of will?

Or, to a higher being, can it all be calculated and predicted?

This boggles the human mind, to think that something "above" us can know what we are going to do before we do it. For if that is the case, then what we do is not a matter of free will, it is a matter of fate if it can be known as a certainty ahead of time.

Jay said...


Yes - me think that options available is decided by fate, but the option selected the act of will.

"Or, to a higher being, can it all be calculated and predicted? " Not completely - see, we also have purpose - to learn - evolve and reach the higher self. And higher being has given us space (read free will) to do exactly that.

Me think - As you said - in your main blog - soul is bigger than our current physical life time. So there is a bigger goal and greater path.
Free will can speed this or screw this. Fate and free will does co-exist. Free will works within the bigger parameter of Fate.
And here is a bigger thought - Free Will can alter the fate and "above" too. But for that we need to see the actual definition of "Free Will". I do have problem with how people think what free will is - its not a wanton mind. I believe "will" is the key and connection between us and the "Above". So you can "will" to change fate. This "will" is not a product of our mind. This "will" is the result and product of "silence", "dedication", Sadhana , but this is not a easy state to achieve. People spend decades to achieve this. So for normal people - fate is final - free will can get them coffee or tea within the fate parameters. To change fate, one's will need to be as strong if not better than (don't laugh) characters like Rambos', Bourne and all those sages in the Himalayas.

Rick Daley said...


Thanks for sharing your thought and for the link. Many people do focus on the lower levels of Sadhana (regardless of their spiritual beliefs and ways in which they worship). It seems that the focus is on the immediate self, in a materialistic sense.

Stepping up and selflessly helping guide the spirits of those around you does take strong will.