I'll reply to your questions in approximately reverse order, azurecara
, because I think my answers will be more comprehensible that way.
Do you believe yourself to have Free Will in this life?
No. I believe that all events in the universe are determined. There is no free will.
Are you in control of your destiny with no outside interference from a supernatural entity or being, or perhaps group of beings?
The supernatural does not come into it. We are the product of natural forces over which we have no control. We are puppets of genetics, history and
circumstances. We think we make our own choices, but we have no choice but to choose as we do.
If there is such a thing as Free Will, does this not naturally foil the concept of fate or destiny?
No. Remember Hamlet
? 'There is a divinity that shapes our ends, rough-hew them how we will.' If
free will existed, then a man might
make free choices, only to have the outcomes subverted by God or Fate in order to restore him to his destiny.
This is the moral contained in the old tale of the Appointment at Samarra.
One day in Baghdad, a man named Ali was visited by a friend who told him, 'I am just come from the marketplace, where I saw Death at a distance,
asking after you; I heard him distinctly.' Ali, much alarmed, said 'if Death is asking after me, he surely means to take me. I must flee before he
catches me.' So saying, he packed his bags in a great hurry and rode to Samarra as fast as he could, although he took great care on the road and kept
a sharp eye out for strangers.
When he reached Samarra two days later, he thought he had escaped; but as he emerged from the inn wherein he had taken lodgings, whom should he run
into in the street outside but Death himself.
'Ah! Here you are,' said Death cheerfully. Ali trembled; his bowels turned to water.
'You here?' he stammered. 'But I heard you were in Baghdad, seeking me in the marketplace.'
'Indeed I was,' replied Death. 'I was looking for you to tell you that I would meet you here in Samarra, two days thence. But I see you had already
received the message, and have courteously kept our little appointment.'
Do you have the self-control to fully and utterly release [a] sentient creature [you've created] to its own devices? Would you create a
plan for it to follow? How and what would that plan be? Could you love this being utterly as it is your own creation, and by extension an expression
The nearest analogy that can be drawn to the situation you propose is that of parents and children. In this case the answer is clear: parents can't,
and shouldn't, leave children to their own devices. Some highly authoritative or ambitious ones even draw up elaborate life-plans for their offspring
(who rarely, if ever, follow them).
Artists, on the other hand, are only too well accustomed to leaving the offspring of their brains in the hands of others - painful though it nearly