Sunday, March 22, 2009

Question of the Day #137

Soooooo, when you guys sent in all your questions the other day, Greg C. wrote the following:

"Here is something that I have always wondered. Do we have the ability to make choices or are they already predestined? For example, when you are offered the choice between two paths, is there in reality only once choice that you must make? You can try to think it through but in the end the path you chose is always the path chosen for you."

This struck a chord with hk: "Just have to tell you Greg C. I think about that a lot."

And Kristen wrote: "Greg C. has an AWESOME question!!! I always wonder do I really have any control over decisions, or am I just following along someone else's predetermined path for me? That's deep..."

I must not be very deep, because I don't think I get it. I mean, there's cause and effect, right? If I turn right at the bottom of the hill I'll end up in Hollywood. If I turn left, I'll end up in the Valley. Cause and effect.

Do you guys mean that we're fooling ourselves if we think we're making any choices at all? That Fate is merely going to get us where we're supposed to go? How does that work? Let's say Fate decides I'm supposed to win my Printz Award for my fabulous YA novel, but I chose not to do the work? Then how's that going to happen?

Or are you saying that things are meant to be a certain way? That in the end you end up where you're supposed to be no matter which road you take?

I'm totally lost. Greg C., hk, Kristen and anybody else who has a grip on the concept, will you please decode the destiny question for me?



  1. I don't believe in predestination. Life would be meaningless. We would just be puppets with a cruel puppeteer.

  2. I believe in predestination, that we are meant to "go a certain way" but may choose many paths to get there. You could never, for example, win your Prinz Award if you don't write your YA novel, but for another example, the prize may not be awarded immediately after publication. Or it may not be awarded at all for that novel, but perhaps another one that you haven't even considered as yet.

    It's kind of like "God helps them that helps themselves." If you don't put in the effort, in some way, you don't get results. You may take a right to go to Hollywood, but if you took a left through the Valley, you could still get to Hollywood via another route... and who knows what you may experience along the way.

    Not trying to turn you into a believer, just trying to explain why I believe.

  3. I think the same as Gaston Studio.

  4. Way to go Greg. I asked so now I have to tell what I think. OK, here goes. I hope this isn't too long.

    I believe that there is an overall plan for us to the extent that our final destination is set in stone. Along the way we are given choices to make and we decide which path to take to our destination. For instance we make choices when it comes to things like what we are going to have for breakfast of what to wear each day but when we do something that is life changing we have no control. Let me give you a few examples.

    Why is it that a seemingly healthy happy baby one day dies from Crib death? It makes no sense to me. I think it was their destiny.

    Why is it that some people who drink heavily, smoke a pack of cigarettes a day and do other things to abuse their body live to be 90+ years old? And then there are others that take care of themselves and do things like eat right and exercise suddenly drop dead at 40. It was their destiny.

    Now for a personal example: Many years ago (in 1976) I lived in Idaho while attending a school. I would spend my weekends fishing on the Snake River as there wasn’t much else to do in that area. From out my front window I could see the Tetons and I spent all of my off time in that area because it was so beautiful. Up until June 5th of that year, I always and I do mean always went to that area to go fishing and why not, I always caught fish there.

    On that morning, I again headed out to go fishing but as I got to the fork in the road in Idaho Falls, I hesitated. Something told me to go the other way and I sat there for a minute trying to decide what to do. So I turned right instead of left and headed out to an unfamiliar area which was crazy because I had no idea where I was going. Funny thing was, I didn’t find anywhere downstream where I could get access to the river so after several hours of searching, I just went back home.

    When I got back to town, the whole area was alive with emergency vehicles and people sandbagging the edges of the river. That was the day that the Teton dam broke and the places that I would go fishing were just downstream from the dam. Had I gone there that day I surely would have drown. But I don’t think it was my time to die so something told me to go the other way. Now I won’t go into what or who But I do think that my decision was made for me that day and I didn’t have a say in it. I made an irrational decision based on a feeling.

    So there is my answer. And as for taking the fun out of life, I think life is still fun as long as we don’t know where we are going. I could go deeper but I will stop there so as not to offend anyone.

    Thanks for using my question.

  5. I believe we make our own choices and create our own destiny.


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