“When our deep plots do pall, and that should teach us there’s a divinity that shapes our ends, rough-hew them how we will—”.william Shakespeare, Hamlet
I’ve wanted to write about destiny for a long time,but I couldn’t find a way to articulate it. And though I read Hamlet a long time ago, today I found this phrase in a completely unrelated book and I knew it was the right time to give it a try.
The concept of a predefined destiny is not foreign to anyone, I hope. It really comes down to a matter of believing in it. I often times do, as you could have guessed from my initial paragraph,
The notion of a predefined destiny often appeared in Greek tragedies, for example, Oedipus: His father Laius received the revelation that his son will kill him and, to avoid his fate, he decided to kill his child. He was indeed not successful at this task and finally, as we know, Oedipus fulfilled the prophecy. The funny thing is that even knowing his destiny, Laius was not able to change it. Or maybe he created his fate by trying to change it?
Steve Jobs also makes reference to the subject in his very famous speech in Sanford University, when he said that all the choices in his life didn’t seem to make sense at the time but looking backwards, he could connect the dots and see the clear trajectory.
What my poetic mind wants to see, is that life has been putting in place little “breadcrumbs” in my path to help me make the important decisions, or, as I’d like to call it, it has given little rewards when I made something towards my true “destiny” and, at the same time, has given little punishments when I made choices that took me apart from that path. So destiny, like Pavlov’s dog is taking us in a way through positive and negative stimulus. I guess this is what Shakespeare himself wanted to express through Hamlet.
On the other hand, there is free will. We can actually do whatever we want!! However, it does not seem to make a difference in the Greek tragedies, right? This is when romanticism ends in my argument, and I always like to find the poetic side of everything. For that reason is that I love to look for “signs of destiny” when making important life choices.
But really what seems to happen in the rational side, is that we, often times, don’t have in the conscious mind what is that we really want. Maybe sometimes we’re in denial of what we want, so therefore we perform “self-sabotage” upon choices we’re not sure we want to make, or even more, just let our romantic side read signals that are really not there. But, when we perform actions towards what we really want to do, we tend to see all goodness in it and let ourselves get carried out by happiness.
So with this, then life just becomes a path of self-knowledge: Once we achieve this to a good enough degree, we are in complete control of our lives, and thus can make literally any life choice, and meet any outcome, and everything will be fine as long as it is aligned with our master plan. Is this really possible?
Finally, there are the things that are entirely out of our control: The people we meet, the circumstances, (the weather? haha). In this regard, a typical pattern that I’ve observed is that some people seem to be “extremely lucky” all the time because everything that depends only on randomness goes precisely as expected always!. The way I like to think about it is that when you’re in line with what you want, you’re better at making choices and you don’t get upset about things that don’t go right, thus making the best out of any random outcome. Which one would really be?
This could be extended, for example in timing issues. When knowing other people we may think we’ve arrived either too late or too early to their lives, but then the question arises, things that are meant to be and things that not. Is it true destiny? Or merely that lack of will in either side?
At this point, I’d like to ask you: How do you think of your life concerning destiny? How do you make the most critical decisions in your life? Do you have a completely different point of view?
Thanks for reading so far!