When we reach the end of our lives, are we going to see how every little thing brought us where we are?
Yes, a string of events leads you to a certain place, but I mean more than that.
That’s right, I’m getting philosophical and it isn’t even 2:45am (nor am I twenty years old and studying Descartes [not by choice anyway, heh!]).
What I’m asking is whether every action you take is a direct correlation to where you are going to be.
Did the old woman who stopped you to compliment your dog save you from an early expiration? Were you going to be hit by a car or kidnapped had she not stopped you?
Did you catch every red light because another driver was distracted and would have prematurely merged into your lane?
How about college? Were you rejected from your top choice to save you from heartbreak? Would you have fallen in love with someone unworthy of your time and then flunked out of college due to his eventual indifference?
Maybe you didn’t get that job, because you would have settled in this town. Maybe you would have gotten married and had children and never followed your dreams.
What if things didn’t work out because they weren’t supposed to?
I like to think that there is a reason why things happen, but I’m not sure.
My favorite quote is “What’s meant for you will not pass you.”
It places a large amount of onus on the universe.
If you know me at all, though, you know that I’m one of the biggest existentialists on the planet.
You can see my dilemma.
So, on one hand, I think that your life is your own doing. You didn’t get into that college, because you didn’t put the effort into high school; you sucked on the SATs. Sure, you can say you’re glad that didn’t work out. You dodged 50k in student loans and a significant other that wouldn’t have been all that significant.
You didn’t get that job, because you didn’t learn the programs they used. It’s that plain and simple. Your personality was a bit too quiet, and it didn’t jive. You didn’t get the other job, because your heart wasn’t in it, and (deep down) you knew it.
You caught every red light, because you were already late for work, and you thought you’d catch each light; therefore, you caught every light (read The Secret).
The old lady stopped you to pet your dog. You could have ignored her, but you didn’t. Maybe you dodged a bullet, maybe you didn’t.
Oh, and why didn’t it work out? You tried, and they didn’t. The beauty (and tragedy, depending on when you ask me) of life is that you’re not the only one on the planet. Even though you wanted it to work out, you can’t force anyone else to want what you want. You can’t change people. You can’t do anything to anyone else that isn’t a willing participant. Even then, it’s still a matter of perception. (We won’t get into that topic tonight)
So, while I see the cut and dried answers, a part of me still wonders. I’m reading Breakfast with Socrates and there are a few parts of it that stick out.
This is also dependent on your views of whether or not God exists, but let’s say you do. We can agree that God exists. Then what?
“If, in the second scenario, God has failed to dot every I and cross every t, leaving us to get on with it, this might not necessarily be due to negligence. On the contrary, it might be a calculated form of care on his part, a “tough love” of the theological variety. Imagine if he had put everything in order right down to the last iota, setting out a program from the beginning of time to run in perpetuity. That would make us mere robots, reduced to dumbly acting out his project and barely meriting the “human” moniker we’ve been given.”
For a long time (and sometimes now), I preferred this program. Depending on the day, I still go, “what the heck was the point of this?” I don’t have the answers. I’m big on the undercurrents of life. I love the idea that there is something more to life than the daily hub-bub. Again, this goes against my simple existential beliefs; however, if I didn’t have the feeling that there was something else at play, I don’t think I’d have a reason to keep trucking along.
That’s not to say that I would jump off a bridge, but knowing there is something more—something just out of grasp, that keeps me going. The belief that karma exists fits into my existentialist beliefs perfectly, but it’s more than that.
My question was about fate.
I need to know that things happen for a reason. If I’m to keep “what’s meant for you will not pass you” as my mantra, I need to believe it.
I need to understand why things happen or don’t happen. There are lists of things I don’t have answers to, and I’ll probably never have answers. So, fate or not?
Let’s go back to the book.
“Although her disobedience is tragic, Eve’s innocence is not all bad. Certainly that innocence leads her to make a poor choice—the very worst—but the fact that she makes a choice at all, the fact that she engages the Devil in a debate that could go either way, the fact that she acts without God breathing down her neck, all speak to her free will or, what amount to the same thing, her margin for error. It is from this margin for error that freedom springs, because you can’t be free to be right unless you can be free to be wrong. And because you can’t be free to be wrong if you’re always prepared, you shouldn’t worry about getting completely ready in the morning. Yes, the more you prepare, the more you reduce your own likelihood of error, which is good; but the more you reduce your likelihood of error, the more you roll back your freedom, which is bad. The trick is to set the tension between the two forces at an optimum, like getting a good balance of bass and treble.”
I’m entertaining myself. I don’t really have an answer, and I don’t think when I’m on my death bed, I’ll know who tagged my car when I was seventeen (you could always tell me, though) or why certain people like or dislike me (you could tell me this too).
I can say, with certainty, that if it involves another person, I have no answers.
In respects to one’s own life, though, I think that you create yourself and everything you’re surrounded by. This speaks to why I’m incredibly intolerant of many people, but that’s another topic entirely.
So, whether there’s a reason I take different ways home—a cosmic reason—or it’s just a random event, I can’t really tell. Maybe I did dodge a car accident or maybe nothing would have happened.
“What’s meant for you will not pass you.” This is assuming that something is meant for you. This is a huge assumption. Nothing is really meant for anyone, though. Maybe when you finally acquire it, you can say it in hindsight, but saying it before acquisition is a bit presumptuous.
I get it, though. It’s adding a human element to the universe. I think that’s why I like it.
My best friend, Emily, explains it better than I ever could, “It doesn’t mean that you sit idly without effort, letting everything slip through your fingers. I have always taken it as: if you try with everything you’ve got and it still doesn’t happen, it’s not for you…I agree with this, but I do occasionally think some people let good things slip through the cracks for reasons unknown, but this is just saying when it’s right that doesn’t happen.”
Working hard for what you want, but understanding that not everything will work out no matter how hard you try. This clashes with existentialism, because you can do anything you put your mind to. I think, though, that everything regarding other people clashes with existentialism. People are that random variable. You plop them into the formula and anything can happen.
Which is why I love and hate people.
Whether things happen for a (end-all) reason or not, I’ll accept that I don’t know. That’s always been my 11:11 wish, though. The cat’s out of the bag.