Weird is the English Word for Fate

Do we choose the lives we lead? Do you need a good fate in order to believe things are fated. CJ Stone investigates...

First published in Prediction magazine.

It was meant to be

Is your glass half full, or is it half empty? Mine’s neither. It’s either full and being drunk, or it’s empty and waiting to be refilled.

I was talking to an old friend of mine this morning. She takes an optimistic view of life. She’s a half-full person. She said, “I know I get on your nerves by being optimistic all the time.”

Well I thought about that. It’s true I could sometimes be mildly irritated by her. She was so constantly breathlessly hopeful and enthusiastic. But it wasn’t the optimism that got on my nerves. It was the platitudes.

The one I hated the most was, “it was meant to be”.

Whenever anyone says that to me I want to punch them in the face. “There,” I am inclined to say, “was THAT meant to be too?”

Don’t worry, there’s no truth in that last statement whatsoever. I never have punched anybody in the face for anything, let alone for saying “it was meant to be.” I’m not a punching-in-the-face kind of a person. So maybe that much really is meant to be. I never was meant to punch anyone in the face.

It’s just such a smug phrase, that’s all. “It was meant to be.” It’s always the statement of someone who is well-off and comfortable. No one ever says “it was meant to be” when they’re down-on-their-luck and miserable. Sleeping rough tonight? Cold, hungry, tired, desperate for a kind word? It was meant to be.

Do we choose our lives? Well yes and no and maybe.

It was Robert Anton Wilson - that wisest and funniest of all the spiritual writers - who clarified the matter for me. He said that if someone is knocked down by a car, say, and hospitalised, he or she can choose what attitude they take to their misfortune. They can see it as a chance to catch up on their reading, or they can bemoan the loss of valuable time. But anyone who says they chose to have the accident is clearly talking through their proverbial parts.

Nothing is meant to be. Nothing is determined. Or rather, what is meant to be is a matter of choice. It is up to us humans to determine our lives through the decisions we make, collectively and individually. Fate is a mystery, not a resolution. When fate casts its strange shadow – as it does sometimes – over the ordinary processes of our lives, it does so with reason. Fate is the question we ask of ourselves. Fate is the choice we are given. Once we have made that choice, then our lives are determined by it. But the moment of fate itself is actually the moment of greatest freedom.


All of the previous paragraph came to me in a pub. You can call THAT fate if you like. I was walking passed the pub one afternoon, when I saw someone in there I hadn’t seen in years, and joined him for a pint. One pint turned into seven (he was buying) and I ended up, several hours later, setting light to the pizza I’d popped into the oven before promptly falling asleep on the settee. It was the charred inevitable pizza of destiny.

Actually, the guy used to be my enemy. We both loved the same women at the same time. It was like this: I’d gone out with her for a while, and then she dumped me. I went a little crazy after that, even going so far one night as to fantasise about killing her. I was reading Kabbalist texts at the time. I thought of her as the Shekhinah, as Jehovah-God’s lost consort. She was the only woman in the world who ever made me want to pray.

After that he’d gone out with her, and had a child with her. And then she left him too. The night she left him she came to see me. He became wild with whiskey and jealousy, just like I had: cut off all his hair, and smashed several windows in the pub where we were drinking. She was playing both of us for a fool and – fool that I am – I had the terrible urge to follow her. This was a mistake as she wasn’t really interested in me at all, merely in the effect I would have upon him.

And now, here we were, me and this guy, several years later, drinking toasts to times gone by, to fate, and to the woman we had both loved - once-upon-a-time.

It’s an old story, of course. Fate often takes on that guise: two blokes chasing the same woman. It’s the story of Arthur and Lancelot, and one of the constant themes of Celtic mythology. Some say the story refers to the cycles of the year, when the Oak King is displaced by the Holly King. In which case, maybe fate goes in circles too.

The English word for fate is “weird”, with the secondary meaning of the uncanny or the supernatural. The weird sisters in Macbeth are weird in the sense that they represent fate, not because they are odd-looking or ugly. And that kind of tells you something else about fate too, that it carries with it an aura of otherness, as it emerges into our lives from a different vector. To think of it as a form of inevitability or determinism, therefore, is to take away its mysteriousness, to diminish its otherworldliness, to mistake the shadow for the thing, in the same way that the word “weird” has been diminished by making it merely into something strange.

It’s so much more than just strange, my darlings: it is who we really are.

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Comments 16 comments

Rochelle Frank profile image

Rochelle Frank 6 years ago from California Gold Country

It is wierd, CJ, and I enjoyed your fateful story. It was meant to be, me thinks.

CJStone profile image

CJStone 6 years ago from Whitstable, UK Author

Thanks Rochelle. Are you a half-full person, or a half-empty person?

Rochelle Frank profile image

Rochelle Frank 6 years ago from California Gold Country

I think of my glass as being 3/4 full, but I don't usually tell people about it. They think I am using a smaller glass.

Amanda Severn profile image

Amanda Severn 6 years ago from UK

I'm definitely a half full person,and it's probably quite annoying. I can do platitudes, too, but I try and keep the urge under control! I enjoyed your story Chris.

CJStone profile image

CJStone 6 years ago from Whitstable, UK Author

But are your platitudes meant to be Amanda? Glad you liked the story.

KoffeeKlatch Gals profile image

KoffeeKlatch Gals 6 years ago from Sunny Florida

I think the English definition is right - fate is weird. The phrase that makes me cringe is "It is what it is".

CJStone profile image

CJStone 6 years ago from Whitstable, UK Author

Yes that would make me cringe too. Thanks for dropping by.

marisuewrites profile image

marisuewrites 6 years ago from USA

"What will be, will be" does me in.

CJ, you continue to express yourself so well. I really got "in" to the story of "two loves." And, I'm one who always thinks we have choices, and if I am catching your drift correctly, it's the choices that have been placed in front of us that is "fate?"

I think you're onto something. The very heart of the matter. As we seek our heart's desire in life, how sad to think that we are denied anything we've worked for, due to "fate." No, I agree with you, surely not. Our paths seem to be directed by choices, experiences, thoughts and decisions. Those parts equal the sum of us..factoring in the mystery of tomorrow.

I am cheered by what tomorrow may bring,.even tho habit might shape my choices, I am ever hopeful I'll exercise a bit of wisdom...which I always gain from your writings.

Well done.

Chef Geno profile image

Chef Geno 6 years ago from Sandpoint Idaho

I myself am fairly optimistic, but I think it comes from wanting to make the best of a situation, or putting myself in someone else's shoes, understanding that people can have a good reason for doing something that might not have been in my best interests. But the ideas of fate, destiny, and predictability have always been a fascinating subject for me.

attemptedhumour profile image

attemptedhumour 6 years ago from Australia

How about, 'it is written' that's one to get the punches flying. Even you would do a 'Rocky' over that one. Interesting hub though.

Eileen Hughes profile image

Eileen Hughes 6 years ago from Northam Western Australia

Great thought provoking article. I like to think I am always optimistic. I do my best, and make the best of most situations. You have to think positive about anything or once you start to be negative you are on the downhill track.

I see cancer sufferers with positive attitudes do well but once they give that positive thoughts go, then not so good. thanks for sharing that.

Also if you look before you cross the road you have more chance of getting there. haha

msorensson profile image

msorensson 6 years ago

I love that raw-ness...of how you felt when she dumped you.

Women don't have such rawness. Or none of the women I know anyway. They would just take revenge by other means....excruciating can tell you what they wanted to do but it would violate sisterhood...:-)

Fate and my mind no distinction at all.

Neither half full nor half empty.

pammie 5 years ago

I like the way you had realised she was addicted to the affect she had on others rather than the person :-)

CJStone profile image

CJStone 5 years ago from Whitstable, UK Author


D.C.Gallin 5 years ago

Funny I hadn't read this yet when I left my comment about optimism/pessimism on the other hub...

CJStone profile image

CJStone 5 years ago from Whitstable, UK Author

DC: I'll read it now. I think you are a half-full person.

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