This idea came about as I was walking my dog, thinking about destiny and freewill. I have heard and read many arguments for one or the other debating whether we have a set predetermined destiny, or because of freewill, we create our own destiny or fate. It’s usually one or the other, no in between. Some arguments are very compelling and has me torn between the two.
As I was gazing at the trees I started to think about the destiny of a leaf. Picture a leaf falling from the branch of a tree. Is its destiny to hit the ground? That is its predetermined course, is it not? The wind could come along and blow it somewhere else, but inevitably, eventually, it will hit the ground.
Now give that leaf freewill. So now that the leaf has the ability of choice, does its destiny change? Well, even if it chose to stop falling towards the ground, what way or method would it actually go about doing so? It’s still just a leaf. Yes it has the ability to chose to stop falling, but it doesn’t have the ability to carry out that choice. So inevitably, eventually, it will still hit the ground. Changing its destiny was outside of its control.
I don’t think I’m trying to prove anything or take sides, but just making an observation. To me its seems like you can have a set destiny, but still have freewill. Likewise you can use your freewill to change your destiny, but only if it’s within your abilities. Some things are outside of your control, and are destined to happen anyways.
I like to look at it this way. You are born..call it point A….you will die, call it point B. These are of course the extreme ends of the spectrum…feel free to call them something else. Anyways, everyone will eventually end up at their point B….call it what you like…you could go left, right, it doesn’t matter because you will always end up there. It could be a straight line, it could veer off miles in every direction but somehow it will find it’s way to that point. I envision a piece of paper with two dots…I don’t know when nor how, but I will slowly find my way to that second point.
Birth and death are predetermined, but what happens in the middle is free will?
Yes and No. Birth luck plays into it a lot (e.g. race, how wealthy your family is, where you are born, your health, etc.) and you really have no free will to disagree with your parents or guardians until you’re in your late teens. So yeah, you can choose what to do, but you are the sum of your choices, and a lot of those choices have already been made for you without you even realizing it.
I apologize. After pondering on this a little bit more and reading your replies, I realized my logic is a little off. I don’t think I was thinking about the leaf’s destiny in the right way.
The leaf’s destiny isn’t simply knowing where it begins and ends, but knowing every action/movement of the leaf as it heads towards its end. No matter what course the leaf takes, whether it falls straight towards the ground or is carried off to another place by the wind, its exact course was predetermined, meant to happen exactly the way it did – e.g. its destiny.
If the leaf was given freewill, if it chose to try to defy it’s fate of falling to the ground, even if it was within it’s power to change its course, its choice to do so would all be apart of its destiny. It was meant to defy its fate, everything predetermined that it would.
So it seems my observation is invalid. You cannot have both destiny and freewill, because if there was destiny, freewill would inevitably be apart of it. Hmm. So it does appear to be one or the other.