While doing some much overdue catching up I came across a few blogs which posed interesting questions/viewpoints.
Ashley from Mental Health @ Home discusses whether suicide will ever be 100% preventable.
With Every Good Wish asks whether you’d rather be able to read minds or accurately predict the future?
Stephen from Fractured Faith Blog writes about being rudely awakened and asks whether you’ve been abrupt with someone recently and regretted your behaviour?
And Cristian Mihai talks about taking responsibility for your actions, and how the onus is on you, as an individual, to make right your wrongdoings. At the end of his piece Cristian writes “There are no stars to control our fates, no right time. It’s all in ourselves. What we want to see, what we make of it. What we decide to do.” and it’s this point that I’m going to consider.
Fate vs Self-Determination
Fate is defined as the development of events outside a person’s control, regarded as predetermined
Self-determination is defined as the process by which a person controls their life
Do we have ultimate control over our life?
The rational mind is more likely to come down on the side of self-determination.
- every day we make decisions that impact our life
- through experience or education we can predict outcomes and choose the better option
- what we do can influence our future
- how we behave can influence our future
- who we know can influence our future, forging beneficial connections, stepping away from negative influences, we have some control over our wider social group
- we have control over our actions
But is it really as simple as that?
- do we have total freedom in decision making, or are we swayed by societal expectaions or pressure?
- our experiences and level of education are not self-determined, there will be influences from our family/upbringing, from adult role models (either good or bad), from how good the teachers were, to whether the class as a whole was disruptive. There are many factors which are out of our control as a child.
- sometimes the better option isn’t the right option, again society/peers may play a part in decision making. So, yes we are making a choice but the choice isn’t entirely that of free-will.
- certainly what we do can influence our future, do you grasp an opportunity when it presents itself? Do you put your trust in others unwisely?
- our behaviour – what goes around comes around, reap what you sow, treat others as you wish to be treated – and I’m sure there are many more sayings related to this point but these are all linked to karma and the idea that one’s actions are instrumental in determining their fate but surely this is a correlation rather than a causal relationship?
- who we know – although we will always have some influence over who we spend time with, there may be people in our life that do not have our best interests at heart; work colleagues, jealous friends, family, social media trolls. All these can influence our behaviour and actions.
Do we have complete control over our actions and hence our life?
In my opinion there’s a lot more to negotiate in living life than just ourselves. You may shy away from ideas of fate or destiny, but in life we experience good stuff and bad, some may be triggered by our actions but not all.
As a cancer survivor I believe in fate, not as a blanket approach to life, but I believe fate goes hand in hand with self-determination. There were no actions I could have taken to prevent my breast cancer, call it fate, bad luck, genetics or biology but whatever term you use it certainly wasn’t self-determination.
In life you can only control what you can control. The rest is down to the actions of others, to being in the right place at the right time, or simply because it is written in the stars.