by: Scott F Paradis
Fate or free will? Choice or predestination? The debate has raged since man first conceived himself separate from his surroundings and apparently presented with options. Some say the script is written, that we move through life, experiencing the rush but not really choosing the course. Others contend that choices abound, options are infinite – we creatures are free.
Scientists exploring the nature of forces, point to the nearly infinite string of cause and effect — the consequence of every force is an incontrovertible result. Every “a” leads to a “b” leads to a “c” without deviation. Forces set in motion are not deterred from their net effect. In this construct there is no room for choice. Cause and effect, and ultimately life, are reduced to a mathematical equation moving to a determined quotient.
In the day-to-day reality of life we believe we have choices. We can choose coffee, tea or milk; beer, wine, or schnapps for that matter; or nothing at all. We can choose to wear blue, red, yellow, green; a turtleneck or cutoffs; a beret or bonnet. We can work in industry or government; services or manufacturing. We can live here, there, or nowhere at all. Choices abound. In the end – it is belief that matters.
The argument for fate, as rational as it may be, assumes a finality – a limit, an end, a definable, ultimately measurable state of existence. This argument presupposes a perspective so grand it accounts for every variable – the entire complex motif; the awe-inspiring wonder and richness of infinitely complex forces at play. The proponents of fate suppose no influence of powers outside the dimensions of what can be known. But all might not be as it seems.
Science, nor philosophy, nor religion can define the bounds of what is. The scope of it all is beyond the ability of human intellect to conceive. While we cannot see beyond the reach of our sight, we cannot presume to “know” what is out there. Luckily, however, life is not an experience in a theoretical realm. Life is a foray into a wondrous brick and mortar adventure.
Can beauty or truth exist with no conscious choice? For without the ability to choose an option, effort is for naught – all of life is a regimented process – not an engaging quest. Without choice, life would seem a hoax perpetrated on ignorant beings – an experience of the illusion, a colorful drama, but a drama lacking purpose. Without free will, life truly is a divine comedy.
If this reality is not the ultimate reality, if we are in this sensory world, temporarily immersed in the illusion, it stands to reason – powers in another dimension can influence what happens here. If we further subscribe to the belief that though we seem to live here, ultimately we are not of here, we can begin to grasp that we, ourselves, have a means to influence this reality – here again, we have a choice.
In attempting to resolve the argument between free choice and predestination we seek not an intellectual understanding of the means of this illusion, but rather the facts about who and what we are. We seek to know the truth and in this way understand and embrace our nature.
The ability to change direction, to influence an outcome is evident in what we observe. The universe is too big to confine. Our intellects cannot grasp the expanse nor understand the complexity of it all. Even if fate leads to an ultimate destination, in practice the roads to travel there are so diverse we have every choice. The opportunities in life are so varied, the promise and potential so vast that fate has no practical impact on the options before us. Our will is free enough. To experience a full and fulfilling life choose.