Fate/Determinism/Human Will

Are you a fatalist? Does it matter if Fatalism is true? Take a stand. Argue.

Since the time of ancient civilization, people have been obsessed with fate. From the Chinese and the Mayans who looked to the stars in search of information about future events, to the horoscopes of the West in explaining personality and predicting fate, humans have tried out all sorts of ways to figure out where time would take them.

Although we use the terms fate and destiny interchangeably, the two have quite different approaches in examining how life unfolds. Fate is often regarded as something that is given or assigned by a higher power, with it being something humans having no control over. Destiny, or rather how the destination of events is determined is a matter of logical causality rather than an influence of a higher power. This is known as determinism. Determinism looks more towards the nature of how events play out; just like how one domino pushes another, everything that happens is caused or determined by things that have already happened. In a sense, this would mean that it’s possible for every event in the future to be predicted and worked out.

The significance of the fatalism/determinism debate seems to lie in whether we actually have any hand at all to play in writing the story of our lives – can we truly be held responsible for whatever we do? Has our future already been written in stone by some kind of higher power, or are we just mere dominos playing out a sequence of events from an initial push, falling into place? In this essay I will focus on discussing why I believe it is still possible to be held responsible for our actions in spite of the possibility of a higher power pulling the strings of fate, and also despite the influence of past events.

Suppose that an omnipotent God was real, transcending time and space, with the ability to know of and control anything, would humanity have any choice at all in influencing their fate? I believe that the answer lies in knowing the nature and intentions of this God. Some argue that it would be contradictory to call God omnipotent, and yet believe that humans have the power to control their own fates; if God was all powerful, nothing would be out of his control, including that of the will of humans, and if nothing was out of his control, then everything must be under his control. However I believe this argument to be invalid. Complete power does not have to equate to complete control. Although the fate of humanity may eventually be in the hands of God, it is also perfectly logical to say that an omnipotent God could allow space for humans to make decisions of their own that he simply chooses not to control. God can still be omnipotent as he can still be in control of an ultimate destination despite the choices that humans may make. For example, at a fork in a road, humans have the power to decide whether to turn left or right, however, God decides where each road would lead eventually. I believe this interplay between the free will of humans and the will of God exists in this nature, and as such, that humans can still be held responsible for their individual choices despite that of a higher power possibly being in control of fate.

Now onto the matter of determinism. One might argue that every choice and action taken by a person can be traced back by some logical causality right down to the beginning of the universe, and as a result, maintain that one’s choices are simply an illusion. Everything has to be caused by an antecedent event in order for it to have happened, just like how every domino in a domino chain would move only because the previous domino had fallen on it in the first place. It sounds ridiculous to say that the domino chose to fall on its own free will, because it is obvious that something else had caused it to fall. In the same way, humans have no real choice, and are simply acting according to a ripple effect that started since the beginning of time.

I believe that determinism should not be limited to the view of humans having any no ability at all to ‘choose’. Every effect has a cause, and in a deterministic universe, humans can play a part in eliciting a causal chain of events as well. Although I believe that the universe operates in a cause-effect way similar to how dominos can influence one another, I also believe that it is not just a single domino chain of events. Rather, the universe is a complex system of an almost infinite number of domino chains, and not all domino chains fall at the same time across the history of the universe. Our lives are made up of many chains all at once, some chains are caused by events happening way before our time, whereas other chains have not started yet and are sitting still, ready for our push. Some chains will never fall because we never choose to push them, whereas other chains will be pushed regardless of whether we want them to or not because it is a chain that had already been pushed before, possibly by someone else.

This is my theory on how the existence of fate, the deterministic nature of how the universe operates, and also the power of human choices work together in the unfolding of the universe.

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I feel so emotionally sick that I physically feel like puking, I’m so sick of things inside me but I don’t even know exactly what is filling me up. 

I feel soulless, and I can’t get up.

I have no energy to deal with this

I think I’m starting to hate myself 

I feel so repulsed by myself

Forgiveness 

Okay, after thinking about it, I’ve decided to act like I never heard anything.

At least he tried to keep it to himself with whatever limited capacity he had to control his anger.

At least he didn’t scream at me directly this time.

I’m going to assume that he didn’t intend for me to hear any of this.

And anyways, what he’s doing now is no different from the times I swore at him in my head out of anger and frustration.

Sometimes we end up hating the people we love. But love eventually overcomes that.

Which I guess is what’s been happening. 

I know that I’m not completely hated.

But just hated for the time being.

Maybe another reason why I didn’t really bawl my eyes out or cry like mad this time round is also because I know I really didn’t do anything wrong.
I said everything calmly and reasonably. 

Maybe that’s why he didn’t swear at me directly to my face too.

It’s gonna be hard acting like I don’t know anything though.

I really need God’s grace and mercy, just like how God would forgive me for my own hatred and anger, I need to forgive too.

I’d rather you say fuck you straight to my face rather than ranting about it to my mom for the entire night.

“Fuck this and fuck that fucking everything” every single sentence about me was peppered with fuck yous.

“I don’t want to see her fucking face”

Yes, I can hear everything. Honestly you’re not even trying.

Somehow I could listen calmly, and I even wanted to hear all those things behind a closed door.

I’d rather know what was really going on.

Now it’s just a matter of how I can dissolve this anger in a psychologically healthy way.

I feel surprisingly calm. But I can feel it there, something.

Maybe it isn’t really about being calm. It’s just a dead feeling.

Why?

Would being able to control exactly how you feel ever be a bad thing?

Then we’d never ever have to feel conflicted. 

But I guess sometimes we have to, because we don’t know what’s best for us.

I guess that’s why its separated, what we want and what we feel. Being able to control what we feel is like holding a magnet to a compass. 

It makes no sense.

I’ve never been someone who had good emotional control.

Whenever I felt like crying I wouldn’t be able to stop myself no matter how badly I wanted to. When I feel angry I’d feel so much churning inside me, I have to let it out in a punch or some forceful way.

When I feel scared I’ll scream. When I feel dead I can’t force myself to be lively.

Sometimes I really wish I could control it. Some people do it really well. 

Especially crying. I hate crying in front of people. But I do it so often. 

But there’s a whole mess inside me now, tangled up, guilt mostly, frustration, self- pity, disgust, anger, loss, and sadness.

Feel like this is the one mess I’ve been able to repress somehow inside, and it comes spilling out every once in a while.

I just wanna yell “dissociate!” Like a Harry Potter spell (it’s not a real Harry Potter spell) and split it away from me. 

I’ve prayed for it to go away, but it’s always there. It feels like a part of me now. Like it’ll never leave me, ever.

Why? 

Uncertainty and Understanding

Been questioning so many things lately, especially about the nature of how to decide what’s right and wrong.

Yes, morality is objective, but morality applied seems to be subjective. The best way to do good things seems like such a personal thing. What’s good is for certain. But how we go about achieving this good and making good decisions, now that’s completely up for debate. 

As a result I’ve come to settle on intentions in deciding if a choice should be made. 

Yet I’m still uncertain if that’s the right perspective to take. See the irony there?

The future is, as it should be, the most uncertain. Genetic science seems almost too God-like yet science was given to us for the use of good right? Science is a resource of the Earth. 

Where’s the line to draw between what man can decide and what God intended? Where’s the line between fate and free will? One could say that abortion was messing with God’s planned fate for this person, yet God in all His sovereignty could have also intended for the death of this unborn baby to come to be (for reasons we’ll never understand, or maybe for a lesson learnt or a passion to be invoked). 

When do we intervene and when do we not? We do our best to heal and to rid the world of disease and disabilities, but somehow when it comes to using genetic science to do it all of a sudden it’s messing with God’s design and plans. 

We have the power to kill the unborn, and now we have the power to bring about opportunities for life once denied to a couple through IVF.

Is that wrong then? A couple supposedly fated to be barren, now able to have a child through IVF seems to deal with the same issue as a couple fated to give birth yet allowed a change in fate. 

I don’t think we create life though. Yeah we may enable an opportunity for it, we may place the sperm and the egg together, but the essence of life is a power from God. I kinda imagine it to be God flowing through every genetic transference and every cell division. His power enables all these things to happen. That’s how he creates life – Through science in the limitedness of how we understand it.

Somehow not really understanding doesn’t matter as much to me as I thought it would, and I’m glad. I won’t be able to understand everything. But I just have to have faith in knowing that God is in control. 

‪I used to think that faith was about logic and understanding, but now I understand that it’s really about humility, and knowing that there are some things that you just won’t understand .

Lonely 

I’ve been feeling rather lifeless lately.

It’s a continuous cycle of being in a state of “Being with people is so tiring ” over the weekend and “I miss my friends” in school.

In between classes I’ll just walk alone off to the next thing I have to do with music on, and I’d look around and everyone looks like they’ve got someone. How do they even find these people? Every class is just a room filled with strangers, and you kinda just do your own thing.

I wish I had a class with the social work people. But everyone has different schedules and I feel like I’m drifting away from them (they planned to be in the same class, while I on the other hand just planned whatever I wanted).

Somehow I’m okay with that. Not having friends. But also I’m not okay with it. It’s strange, I’ve never not had friends in a school before. 

I can’t imagine not having friends in life. It’s just such a lonely thing. To not have anyone to get excited with, or be angsty to, or to just hang out and eat, and talk about all sorts of thoughts. 

But then I tell myself, I’ve managed to get a few pretty good ones, I think they’ll last for life.

Somehow though, I’ve had less and less an urge to talk to people on a daily basis. I’m alright with just keeping to myself. 

Is this a life stage? Where you’ve bounced off enough people that you’re all good to go to roll off on your own? 

Learnt enough, gained enough, gave enough in friendships that you don’t really rely on them as much anymore?

They’re now simple pleasures rather than daily necessities. This seems to be the case for adulthood.

I used to feel anxious over who I would eat lunch with the next day in poly, now I’m perfectly alright just not really knowing, and eating alone. 

I still feel like life just isn’t as colourful as before. Just functional. 

I only look forward to Mondays with gen. and science fiction lectures. Hmmmmm.

OH yes another thing, I feel like I’m relying so much on music to fill the space. I don’t know if it’s too much reliance. But it’s strange how music can mean so much. It’s just like a bunch of random sounds and rhythms and yet it feels so comforting and you feel less lonely with it.

3 days with friends

I actually came here to write about something really negative again but I think I want to write about nice and happy things for a change. Things are relatively peaceful now. I realise I just dump all my negative emotions here, but I kind of want to store happy memories here too.

So for the first time in my life, I was completely alone in Singapore without my family. Not that that was a happy thing (we have enjoyed a period of peace ever since I had a long talk with my dad, but I don’t think I’ll write about that because I’ll remember everything and some of it is pretty personal).

I tried to cram as much as I could these past 3 days to spend with friends.

On sunday, I wanted to cook for my primary school friends, it was pretty tiring actually. I almost ruined every dish (from some missed step or wrong order of things or not buying enough of something) but somehow tammy and I managed to salvage everything and it turned out pretty tasty. It was a really nice night, It felt like we were all 30 and laughing and talking about all sorts of things. We reflected a little on our friendship, and where we’d be next time. Would we meet often? We’ve never had a proper argument before (primary school doesn’t count because back than all of us were arrogant little bastards), and we all feel extremely comfortable with each other. Well it has been ….. 20 – 7 years with is 13 years since we’ve all known each other.

Acacia stayed over to keep me company at night, I’ve known her since I was 2. That’s pretty insane. It was nice, and we slept because we’re too old to stay up all night.

Monday Gen came over and she was really broke so I cooked her cheese ramen and one sunny side up egg. We practised all day, and it was fun too. I’m really glad that I can spend a lot of time with her every week. I really wanted to keep being friends with her after poly, and I hope I can keep this bridge I have with her for a long time.

After that I went over to Raymynnlynn’s house, and had dinner with them and their parents. Their mom cooked prawns and dumplings -really tasty. Their parents were pretty quiet and soft spoken. But they were really nice.

We spent the whole night messing around with their instruments. We played disney songs, and I sang. The feeling of making music with friends is just really nice. I actually wanted to figure out a new song I wrote with them, but figured having fun was more important. (It was way too much work)

When it was 10:30pm, we stopped (to be considerate of the neighbours grand pianos are pretty loud), and we talked about church. Some good things, some bad things (like frustrations), and some desires and goals.

We shared one bed. It was really really tight. I was half hanging off one side of the bed. But it was nice sleeping with people (only child problems)

I would have never imagined that I’d get so close to them. I’m closer to raymynn, but I spent more time with raylynn on tuesday as raymynn had school in the morning. And we did random music things again. It was loads of laughs.

Then I went to Sera’s house and we ran together. More like she ran. I gave up halfway and felt like jelly. She’s been trying to run for a while, and I’m really impressed with her determination (that I will never have). Then I watched her do her makeup for an hour. It was nice catching up with her too.

I’m grateful for friends, close friends that I can be completely myself around. I don’t really have any friends in Uni, but in a way It gives me more capacity to just concentrate on who I already have in my life.

It was a good 3 days. Now I feel a little less negative. I should do this more.

 

 

Missing

 Like a tidal wave crashing down onto your once peaceful shoreline, sending everything into a flurry.
It isn’t really violent. It’s more of a slow, cutting pain. Something lost, yet remains just enough for its lingering presence to seep through the walls you’ve tried to build around it. 

It stains, but it kinda looks like art.

Maybe it’s fine keeping it there. 

Guilt like a small blunt dagger wedged in the heart, splitting it in two. Dissonance fills up the empty space, the silent divide.

Desire is what fuels the burning, and the fire burns beautifully, destructively, devastatingly. But reality stamps out the fire, and all you’re left with are charred remains to indulge in. You’ll settle for that.

Suddenly you remember everything. Yet nothing feels real. Maybe it’d be better to believe they were just day dreams.

Dream log #something

Was in a shopping mall with raymynn and Jolene and some other girls. Raymynn said she wanted to buy a present for her sister, so we went into this really hipster store, with lots of weird artsy things. I saw something that looked like a stone, it had words engraved on top of it, and raymynn immediately said okay I’ll get this. Then I looked carefully at the price and it was more than $800 dollars!! 

When I pointed it out she said “okay nevermind.” And went off to find something else. I wanted to examine the stone a bit more to see why it was so expensive. Turns out it wasn’t stone, but chalk. So I picked it up, there was another long, half moon shaped piece underneath, and another small piece that looked like a reflection of the big chalk. Then there was a sign so I read it. Apparently the artist who made the chalk was telling a story, the big chalk was a boat, and the boat was sinking, and there was a couple on it. The girl drowned, and the words on the boat was something like “don’t leave me behind” but a little more poetic I can’t remember. 

To my horror the chalk split into two right in my fingers. And I held it so gently. I tried to place it back to together so that it looked like nothing ever happened but it took some time. The shopkeeper was looking at me suspiciously and came over. I tried to cover the crack line with my hand and gave it one final squeeze so that the line wouldn’t be so obvious, and then quickly left the shop. I turned around and saw her examining the chalk, and I tried to go into another shop to hide.

But then I heard my name being called out, it was this ang moh lady with long curly hair, and she said “did you break the chalk?”

I wanted to say “no” so badly but somehow I decided not to lie and said “yes, do I need to pay for it?”

And she said, “yes, depending on …(I forgot)…. you might need to pay for half of it or even the whole price”

And I felt so horrified that I woke up at this point and the first thought that came to mine is that I would never pick up anything in a shop ever again.