Saturday, March 19, 2016

Letters 461: Of Fate & Destiny

Dante Alighieri once said:

"Don't be afraid, our fate cannot be taken from us, it is a gift."

To you whom I haven't met yet, 

             Everyone wants to be free; or at least have some choice in life. We all have our professional, family and social commitments. On the other hand, most people believe that they are free to choose what to do, from the simplest to the more complex: should I drink coffee with sugar or sweetener? Do I put some money in the savings or do I spend it all? Who should I vote for in the next elections? Should I marry or not?

              For me, the choices we think we are making, expressions of our freedom, are being made subconsciously, without our explicit control. Could it really be that we are so deluded? The situation is not so simple. 

               For one thing, defining free will is complicated. An operational definition is that free will is the ability to make one's own choices. Of course, we are always subjected to all sorts of constraints in our lives, from our genetics to our upbringing to our experiences. There is no blank slate over which we choose. Still, can it be that we are led to believe that we are the conscious agents of our choices when we aren't?

               Dear hummingbird, when it comes to the choices we make in life, there is a spectrum of complexity and this is reflected in the issue of free will. Some do indeed happen before conscious awareness, and others don't. 

               It seems to me that the question of free will is not simply a black-and-white or yes-no kind of question, but one that embraces the full complexity of what it means to be human.

                I don't know if we each have a destiny, or if we're all just floating around accidental-like on a breeze, but I think maybe it's both. Maybe both is happening at the same time. 


Today, always & beyond tomorrow, I will never give up on you.

Yours truly, 

The Half Moon Serenades.

19th of March 2016. 


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