We have pondered for a long time about this argument. The answer could change our entire outlook on life. If everything that happens comes down to fate then people would begin to feel like there is little point, if any, in trying. But if it all boils down to freewill then we have a level of control over our lives that some people will feel uncomfortable with.
Freewill is the notion that no one is on a set path through life and our choices and actions can and do change the direction in which we are heading, or indeed the speed we are travelling at.
Fate is the idea that our life is set out. Traditionally, it is thought that due to fate, things happen despite our thoughts, actions or decisions. However, the way I see fate is that our thoughts, actions and decisions are also predetermined. We perceive that they are within our control because we can perceive the thoughts going through our minds, but does that really mean we have control over the outcome?
In a simple sense I believe that fate does appear to exist. Logically we are a manifestation of all before us and all around us, and all around us is a manifestation of all before and all around that. Just because we do not have the ability to see all at once does not mean fate doesn’t exist.
If fate is predetermined, then there must be some way to tell the future right? Well I think that if it is predetermined by logic and science, then yes there should be some way to tell the future, but if it is predetermined by a plan set out by a non-logic based entity which has true free will, then there would be a high probability that we would not be able to tell the future.
If a car takes X time to travel between A and B, and there is no change in the cars speed and momentum, we could determine the time it takes for the car to travel between B and C, if we know the relevant distances. That seems like a pretty straight forward concept of being able to determine when a car will arrive at C. if we predicted the car would arrive at 10am and the car did arrive at 10am we would determine we were 100% right in the prediction. That isn’t the case though.
One of the good things about quantum physics, despite my own trepidation about the topic, is that it shows us there is no way to measure something with 100% accuracy and also not affect the object we are measuring.
If fate does exist we must be able to tell with 100% accuracy where we are going, but we can’t. So ok, fate may not exist but we could still tell if life is predetermined. Given enough variables surely we should be able to predict what is going to happen with a certain degree of accuracy.
Let me give you an example. There’s a person sat at a table with a burger in front of them. Do they eat the burger? Well lets fill in some gaps by finding out more information. Is the person a vegetarian? Yes. Ok so immediately we would begin to think that they wouldn’t eat the burger. But is the burger a Quorn burger? ahh this may change everything. No it isn’t. Ok, ok so they wouldn’t eat it then. When was the last time they hate? how hungry are they? what is there usual dietary intake? have they been stranded for 5 days with no food? Are they being forced?
Now you see how the more variables we have the easier it starts to become to predict the situation. That was a straight forward situation without delving into the logic of the persons history or any psychological factors. So in essence, what I am saying is given enough variables we can determine the outcome of a situation which then gives us another variable to help us predict another situation and so on and so forth.
It would be virtually impossible to get enough information to predict the outcomes with a 99.9999% accuracy. So where do we draw the line between freewill and predetermined. Would we have to be able to predict events with a 95% accuracy or would it be more like 85%?
My point here is that unless we find out that we live in the Matrix or our lives are some sort of falsehood then Fate cannot exist. However, our future is predictable. We may not be able to predict it. We may never have enough power or information to be able to predict it, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t predictable.
So if life is predictable why bother? Why bother making choices or trying to be happy? These are quite simple to answer. Predictability is not the opposite of freewill. In essence we have emotions because of our freewill. From caveman days, our minds try to protect us from perceived danger because we have the choice. We are able to make mistakes and wrong choices, we are able to learn and evolve and be happy and sad and all sorts of wonderful emotions.
So be happy, be free and continue to live life as you.