Beyond the Reading

Beyond the Reading: Believing in Fate

Today’s reading tells us to essentially trust in the process because what’s happening is fated and important. These are comforting words especially for those of us that believe in fate, but what if we don’t? What if we aren’t sure that fate or destiny or a higher power has any impact on the choices we make in our day-to-day lives? Well, then things get a bit trickier.

Bennett (2014) outlines the reasons why she thinks believing in fate is comforting in Do You Believe In Fate? Basically, believing in fate releases us from the responsibility of always doing what we are supposed to or of always having the answer. It tells us to take things as they come because we don’t have control of the situation. But honestly? That doesn’t quite sound right. What happened to the idea that the Universe helps those that help themselves? What about taking responsibility for our actions and reactions to situations? What about the decisions that we make, that we know have an impact on other people and situations?

Apparently fate is a little more nuanced than just determining peoples’ lives and making their decisions irrelevant. That belief is called fatalism. There is also another side to all of this in which people believe in the idea of negotiating with fate. Au and Savani (2019) explored these two beliefs in Are There Advantages to Believing in Fate? The Belief in Negotiating With Fate When Faced With Constraints. If we believe that we can negotiate with fate, that our actions within a certain situation can have an impact, that the boundaries or obstacles that we encounter can be overcome, then we can move past negative things that happen. Believing that we can negotiate with fate allows us to take responsibility and also acknowledge that there is more at play here then just our actions and reactions.

And for those of us that don’t believe in any of that? Then maybe life is just a series of unexplainable and perplexing coincidences that sometimes defy logic or statistics. All we know is that it’s nice to believe there is a plan to all of this. We can always change the plan and go a different route, but we started with a plan nonetheless.

Image by Anja Nachtweide from Pixabay

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