Saturday, May 12, 2012

Fate and Opportunity

Something that i seem to hear a lot is that something was "meant to be". The idea is that fate, or some other guiding force, has caused a positive event in your life. I can certainly see why this idea is so appealing, but i don't really agree with it.

On the one hand, you have little things, like taking a different path to work one day and finding $20 on the ground. This is merely coincidence. You could call finding money on the ground a low probability event, but the odds are that many low probability events will happen to you throughout your life. To assign greater meaning to something simply because it's unusual doesn't make sense to me.

On the other hand, you have bigger things like moving to another country and falling in love with someone. Now i know it's romantic and sweet to say that fate brought you together, it's perfectly natural to feel that way. But who's to say that you wouldn't have found someone even more amazing had you stayed where you were? Or perhaps you would have made an amazing friend, or landed a great job. Without time/dimensional travel, there is no way of knowing this. To me, it all boils down to assigning arbitrary meaning to positive events.

Don't get me wrong, i don't mean to sound bitter or pessimistic. I just don't like it when people hand the reigns of their life over to "fate". Humans can adapt to a lot; we are able to find opportunities anywhere. If you make the most out of any situation that life throws at you, you'll always feel like fate has favoured you. 

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