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Can Fate and Free Will coexist?

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posted on Apr, 7 2012 @ 10:00 AM
The following definitions are courtesy of (

1. something that unavoidably befalls a person; fortune; lot: It is always his fate to be left behind.
2. the universal principle or ultimate agency by which the order of things is presumably prescribed; the decreed cause of events; time: Fate decreed that they would never meet again.
3. that which is inevitably predetermined; destiny: Death is our ineluctable fate.
4. a prophetic declaration of what must be: The oracle pronounced their fate.
5. death, destruction, or ruin.

free will
1. free and independent choice; voluntary decision: You took on the responsibility of your own free will.
2. Philosophy. the doctrine that the conduct of human beings expresses personal choice and is not simply determined by physical or divine forces.


Is it truly possible for these two concepts to both exist without contradiction?

The seemingly basic contradiction between the two can be expressed as follows: if events and circumstances are predetermined to happen regardless, then how can people have the ability to influence the outcomes of events based on voluntary decisions?

My personal belief: I am not sure. I strongly believe in the idea of Fate but I also believe we should be held responsible for the choices we make. I was hoping some of the highly intelligent minds on this forum could add some advice as to why they agree or disagree.

If you are struggling to think of situations, I have a few below that might help stimulate your minds:

Situation 1: I will win the lottery next week.

Situation 2: I will end up in jail next week.

Situation 3: I will break my wrist next week.

Situation 4: I will finish my assignment by the due date.

Situation 5: I will not attend my lecture.

posted on Apr, 7 2012 @ 10:04 AM
reply to post by Dark Ghost

It was humanity's fate that they suffer the consequences of free will. There are no contradictions. If you find a contradiction, check your premise.

edit on 7-4-2012 by Jean Paul Zodeaux because: (no reason given)

posted on Apr, 7 2012 @ 10:15 AM
Everyone and everything is fated to die or to end. Everything you do until that point is your own decision. Now whether all your actions are truly your own or nothing more than an illusion of free will depends on how you perceive your decision making process. You have the choice of going with your first instinct or taking the time to think out all the possibilities.

I view my life that I have made no bad decisions only choices in which the alternative would have been more correct or gotten me to my goals faster or more efficiently. However, life is not about the ends, it is about the journey you take in getting there.

"I know I was born and I know that I'll die
The in between is mine"
- Pearl Jam - I am Mine

posted on Apr, 7 2012 @ 10:19 AM
"Fate" is The Plan.

"Free will" is the illusion.

posted on Apr, 7 2012 @ 10:22 AM
reply to post by rtyfx

I think you guys are defining fate differently than me. Fate is the path of least resistance. You can still climb the mountain though, it's just harder..


the fate of two north pole sides of a magnet is to fly away from each other, But I can push them together with enough force..
edit on 4/7/2012 by Dustytoad because: (no reason given)

posted on Apr, 7 2012 @ 10:30 AM
reply to post by Dustytoad

What I'm saying is that we do not determine what happens. We are puppets in a show.

posted on Apr, 7 2012 @ 10:41 AM
reply to post by Dustytoad

Fate describes the ultimate outcome or "final destination" which is unavoidable. There are many different paths one may choose to walk along to reach that final destination.
edit on 7-4-2012 by bitfreak because: (no reason given)

posted on Apr, 7 2012 @ 11:31 AM
Whenever i've come thought about the idea of fate and free will coexisting, i've always thought about it in terms of "now and then".

For example, when i'm faced with a decision, such as attending event A or event B, i have 100% free will in deciding which one i should take.
But, after i have made the decision, the consequences and actuality of attending the other event are removed.

Think of it like this... (imagine time along the bottom)


Here, at a single point in time, i am presented with a choice: event A, or event B. If i choose event A, (forgive me for using this horribly cliched line) at the end of day, only one path was chosen. The picture above would look like this...


From this picture, it would make no difference to simply eradicate event B's existence and turn the picture into this...


One could say that originally I was fated into choosing the event A, but i made the free choice of choosing it over B.

At the time of a choice, free will is present, but when the choices are looked at in terms of what happened, it is obvious to say that only one thing did happen and that this may have been predetermined.

ETA - the post seems to have moved my lines about, let me find a way to fix this...
The lines arent quite as clear but make more sense than previously
edit on 7/4/12 by Kingofthehill because: (no reason given)

posted on Apr, 7 2012 @ 11:31 AM

Originally posted by Dustytoad
reply to post by rtyfx

The fate of two north pole sides of a magnet is to fly away from each other, But I can push them together with enough force..
edit on 4/7/2012 by Dustytoad because: (no reason given)

That's a very good analogy. But in that case, free will would be working against fate, and that's not a good thing I would imagine.

On the other hand when opposites poles, and people for that matter, attract there is no resistance. It's natural. There would be no extra force needed to attract them. Free will would come into play here only if resistance is applied to keep them apart. And that's not a good thing either.

So to answer your question, yes, I believe fate and free will can co-exist.

This is a very good question OP, and timely I might add. I'm going to step the magnet analogy up now and apply this to people. Which I think was the intent anyway. When opposites, or what might seem that way on the surface, attract they don't necessarily do so when the time is right. (Time can be a funny thing.) Resistance might be needed to keep them apart initially. And trust me when I tell you, a lot of resistance will be needed. It is fate after all. Free will, in the cases where it's needed, will have to come into play by one or both people in order for fate to work properly. So again, fate and free will can co-exist.

How will two people know when fate is at work but has to be suspended temporarily? They just do. In much the same way that they know it's fate to begin with. I can't really explain it better than that. It's not an easy thing to do ( It's VERY hard) and in some cases you'll be running on faith after awhile. Faith that what you're doing is best for the long term aspect of the relationship. And when you're talking about two people who are under the hand of fate, the relationship is long term.

It is fate after all.

posted on Apr, 7 2012 @ 11:59 AM
You have free will. There is fate.

You have a choice in everything. But choosing poorly will lead you down a bad path. And what path do you want? Good or bad?

Asking this question is important once you have asked and answered another question. What is my goal?

My goal is to be the best human I can be. Once you have that fate in mind, free will is unnecessary. You utilized free will to decide a path. Purely intellectual to figure out the path from that point.

In sum,

Free will chooses your fate.

posted on Apr, 8 2012 @ 08:03 AM
After much thought, I am currently of the opinion that both concepts cannot exist together. At the end of the day, the outcome of events are binary in nature. While the variables can be much more complex in some situations compared to others, either our decisions are shaped by fate, or fate shapes our decisions. I cannot see a combination of the two if it is to make sound logical sense.
edit on 8/4/2012 by Dark Ghost because: (no reason given)

posted on Apr, 8 2012 @ 08:34 AM
reply to post by Dark Ghost

I think "fate" has a way of steering opportunities into peoples lives but it is up to the individual's ability to recognise those opportunities and freely choose to pursue them.

Is X destined to do D?
No, but if A, B And C are chosen, D becomes more likely.

Kind of like "The Adjustment Bureau", but without the guys in hats setting up The Plan.

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