- Religion and Philosophy
What is Fate?
Fate is the supposed force, principle, or power that predetermines events, as well as the inevitable events predestined by this force. Those who believe in fate, believe (whether directly or indirectly) that their stay on earth has been decided long before they became a resident of said planet. So here we are, an insignificant blurb, on a planet not bigger than a speck of dust (in the grand scheme of things), hurtling (seemingly) endlessly through space, progressing towards some fate decided by the cosmos and therefore out of our understanding. We can, however, at least try to grasp what it truly means to accept fate and then determine whether or not to believe in it. So...
What does it mean to believe in fate?
According to the definition above, fate is a series of inevitable events. To believe in fate, you must believe or accept that you have no idea what is going on, but someone or something does. If you believe that the universe is guided by some unseen force with some form of an ultimate plan, whatever that may be, you have to accept that you don't understand that plan, you don't know that plan, and you'll never understand that plan. Religion simplifies these and many other principles of fate, but most religions still maintain one fundamental concept: we only know in part; no matter the extent of our spiritual enlightenment, we will never fully understand the higher power. Even though religion acknowledges that there are mysterious workings of a supernatural nature, many religions still allege to know how to determine one's fate; but how can you know. If fate is the belief in predetermined, inevitable events, why are there so many explanations, so many religions to elucidate it? Religion attempts to explain its own theory of existence, a theory of fate, but how can you explain the unexplainable?
The problem with believing in Fate
In the "real world" (meaning the one devoid of spirituality as it has come to define itself) the concept of fate is problematic. How can we not know what is going on, how can we not be in control? We have chronicled our progression from 3,000,000 years ago, we have discovered a clear link to the human species and animals, and we've developed theories that we know, with a high level of certainty, explain how the universe was conceived; so how do we not know what is going on? The answer to this is best put as a simile: Man believing he can explain away existence by understanding its components is as vain as believing that taking apart a watch will help you understand time. Science may be able to explain how things work, but they still can't explain how it came to be that way; even if say, the Big Bang Theory is true, what does that mean? There are theories to explain how the Big Bang Theory happened, and then once one of those theories is widely accepted there will be a theory of how that particular event happened (i.e. string theory, the universe being a hologram) and the cycle will run itself over and over again. We will have theories upon theories to explain what we still don't understand. The point is that in our modern world, with all that we know, it is difficult to believe that we know nothing, and thus to believe in fate.
To Believe or not to Believe
“The man, who knows something, knows that he knows nothing at all.” So are you ready to accept that all the knowledge in the world may be relatively useless? Are we as a society ready to have a conception of time that deals with the progression of the human species towards a collective goal? Believing in fate doesn’t mean that we are relegated to a life of simplicity, or that our actions don’t matter, quite the contrary, it means that are actions matter we just don’t understand how. That may sound depressing, but realize that life is in your hands, you can define your purpose. Whether or not that purpose truly matters is debatable, as well as whether or not any purpose can be better than another; but you can define the reason you like “being.” Other than that, you have no way of knowing specifically how you will influence the universe; you can only assume that if you live life passionately, pursuing a life dedicated to wisdom and not knowledge, that your effect will be positive. In this life, that may be as good as it gets.