I received a comment on my post on Goals for the Soul. Though not related to the post, I choose to answer this comment as it came like a direct question to me. Here it goes -
What is destiny? What is fate?
1. When you don’t try anything and you get (something/everything/anything) (good/bad) is destiny? (Since you don’t have your contribution in trying here).
2. When you try (something/anything/everything) and you get (something/everything/anything) (good /bad) is not destiny? (Since you have your contribution here).
3. When you try (something/anything/everything) and you get (something/everything/anything) (good /bad) is destiny? (Since destiny made you try for it and you were to come across it anyways).
Last and the least perceived option
4. When you don’t try anything and you get (something/everything/anything) (good /bad) is not destiny? (Since you have your contribution in not trying here).
Is there any standard/ objective/non subjective/non relative/constant answer to this?
My response hereunder:
Destiny is not a matter of chance, it is a matter of choice; it is not a thing to be waited for: it is a thing to be achieved. - William Jennings Bryant
Destiny is simply a combination of two things. Firstly, a sum of choices and remainders. Secondly, a sum of events, the response to them and its remainders. – Marcus Hades
The above were the shortest statements I could find in explaining your questions. Apologies, but I guess there is no standard answer to what Destiny or Fate is (as per what I think). It is an idea, and mostly a whim, as per me.
Firstly, if any good is coming anyone’s way, and if they think it is ‘good’ based on the calculations, belief and value systems – then I don’t believe the good will ever be rejected or pondered upon. If they do, I strongly think they fear paying a price for it (as everything good also comes with a price). I am unlearnt yet of any more reasons. Also, I have never seen a mortal ponder over why their life is great or why they are blessed with whatever good is in their life. If you come across one – please let me know.
This is a debate which even famed philosophers, so called ‘spiritualists’ (who claim they are a ‘know- all-to-life’s-questions’) haven’t been able to clearly explain (though I haven’t read any of them in detail – because whatever I read, disgusted me). They confuse people by plugging more weird definitions of karma and reincarnation to Destiny. Books have been written on this, and people still are in a mystery as to what Destiny is. I always choose not to waste my energies in thinking what is destiny, and what it isn’t, because I have always tried my best to reason and respond with a battle when life has thrown something that is bad and seems difficult, and I still want to achieve it. If I had to explain this from my thought process, it would take me weeks to write it since this particular discussion for me is very exhaustive – but not complex.
You will hear what destiny is from so many sources; and I bet the answers will be either biased or based on some principle based on ‘spirituality’ which are ‘good-to-hear; hard-to-follow’ types. I admit I haven’t read any of them – because I choose to have my own unbiased answers (don’t have the time to read all the world’s views on things which I follow my own belief system – and I choose to understand those elements of thought myself and write what I understand). Hence, I believe the answer to your question cannot be non-subjective or non-relative. Well, I am not a philosopher, neither a guru. I only think in complexities for things which are meant to be thought that way. For me, destiny is a very simple idea with an outcome based on how people respond. So I will try and be as simple as I can what “I” think destiny is. Again, this response may not satisfy you. But these are just my thoughts -
Firstly, you are right in your points above. Events happen. They happen with and without our will or action.
I cannot say that any one of these four points can be picked and said ‘this is destiny’, because all are a possibility. Points 2 and 3 are similar and I did not understand the difference. What is the difference between you contributing towards something and destiny ‘making you’ contribute? Do you assume that these are different? In my view it’s simple. You try and you either get something or don’t get it. You either think for yourself or you don’t (Covering this in a bit of detail later).
According to me there is no fixed percentage of what events we can control and what we cannot, but everything done to us is not complete in itself – except natural, diseased and accidental death. A lot depends on how one responds or reacts to what is done by any external force, and only then can it be complete. The important thing is the response; non-response is also a kind of response. Meaning, when you simply choose to sit there and do nothing. I believe that events flowing after non-responsiveness are considered as destiny by most people. The response may not upturn the event completely, but may change it – and so, further life changes. Tiny micro decisions can lead onto macro events. Decisions which seem trivial may have large effects on how ones future shapes.
Isn’t it true? Isn’t it a permutation and combination of events, which may be small events in themselves, and also may lead on to a larger event? I look back on my life and see how my tiny decisions are having major impacts in my life right now. And how can we only talk about ‘our’ contribution? On many decisions isn’t Destiny entwined with another’s decision making? For example: love, marriage, having children, starting a partnership venture, living with parents… countless examples.
The thought - your sole action point: The decisions for which the responses are solitary, are the ones for which the effects flow depending on your action/inaction. It is usually a ‘you against you’ or ‘you for you’ scenario. If you are depressed, you can get help or choose to self cure (by anything). If you lose, you can choose to never give up. You can choose to persist when things are hard. You can choose to be indifferent, emotional, choose to quit or choose to do anything. (I have covered this in Future, Choice and Ignorance and The Price – so I won’t describe it in detail here). Skeptics will say that thought processes automatically lead you onto what your Destiny is meant to be, but I don’t believe that. There is a difference in having a strong or a weak mind or particular thought processes pertaining to one or more area’s in life – and that influences your decisions. No rocket science there for me on this point... (Is this what point 3 was about?)
Examples of people who changed their lives (destiny) despite all odds. Their response to their events are a great example:
1. A boy who was unable to speak until he was four-years-old. He spoke haltingly until 9 years of age. He was strongly recommended to drop out of school; and did at the age of 15. His teachers told him he would never be able to even lead a normal life.
This boy could choose to not do anything and land up being a clerk or wherever ‘Destiny’ took him. But he is Albert Einstein.
2. A boy who was cut out from his school basketball team. He could choose to quit and take up a job. He is Michael Jordon.
3. A man who wrote a novel and was rejected 753 times. He could choose to quit. He became the novelist who wrote 564 books. He is John Creasy.
4. A boy who was fired by the editor of a newspaper because according to the editor, the boy had "no good ideas". He is Walt Disney.
5. Before learning what language meant, a high fever caused her to become deaf and blind. No longer could she see nor hear. She could choose to give in to this handicap and merely survive. She is Helen Keller.
If this is a whim or ‘my idea’ about destiny, I am glad it is. At least I am not the kind of person who blames ALL the external factors for the way my life is. I know one thing is that when something happens to me, there is a response pending from my end – and I will try to put my best response with the most sane thought possible – in order to shape my Destiny. I don’t care what else the skeptics say… as it is, all they can do is say.
Leaving you with one quote, the application of which changed my life to quite some extent. Godspeed.
One can never consent to creep when one feels an impulse to soar. – Helen Keller