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January 3, 2023 7:05 pm

Fate Vs Freewill

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We need to look beyond the dichotomy of fate and freewill

 By Iffat Nazir

HUMANS have been created in the best shape and have been described as the crown of all creations. What makes them different from other creations is the rational faculty which the Almighty has bestowed upon them. This rational approach sometimes compels one to ponder over certain questions that knock us down. And the sad part is, without leading to any accepted conclusion, these kinds of questions and painful queries weigh so heavily upon even the minds of most cultivated and learned ones that either they think in terms of absurdity or directly fall into the whirling abyss of despair.

“A man can do what he wants, but he can’t want (choose) what he wants”. This quote speaks about the essential dichotomy between our choices and the conditions in which we are placed helplessly to face all that has been stored for us without taking our consent. Should we stand up and fight for our free will or admit the machinery and workings of fate passively that take us along as mere puppets of a powerful supernatural agency. Both these concepts have been debated and deliberated upon but there seems no final ruling as to which way a person should proceed for much happiness and greater satisfaction. But we have to be conscious of the fact that both fate and free will are key factors in ‘how and why’ major events happen in our lives.

Life is a delicate balance between the two, and both are not mathematically predestined. Fate brings you opportunity and freewill determines whether or not you take them. What has been planned for you and how much are you ready to do something with it?  But honestly I have felt, the final choice we make is simply a subjective feeling, devoid of any past and present pressures inside us that makes us decide the future course of action.

There are only two ways to understand and solve this riddle with much simplicity. One is to enquire for whom is this destiny and discover that only the non-existent ego is bound by destiny and not the self. The other way is to kill the ego by completely surrendering to the Lord, by realizing one’s helplessness and saying all the time “not I” but thou O Lord and giving up all the sense of ‘I’ and ‘mine’,  and leaving it to the Lord to do what he likes with you. Complete effacement of the ego is necessary to conquer destiny, whether you achieve this effacement through self-enquiry or path of devotion.

Freewill without fate is no more conceivable than spirit without matter, good without evil. Both these are two sides of the same coin. The only significant difference between these two is the thinking process and the experience that guides a person in the right direction of cause and effect process. From an early stage, we are made to believe that everything is predetermined. But as we become conscious of the world around us, we feel that a human being is always free not to identify himself with the established norms and regulations. Life, fate, will is basically a game but not of the set patterns and the fixed boundaries. Those who have no knowledge of the source whence fate and free will arise, will dispute which of them can conquer the other. Those who have realized themselves, which is the source of both fate and freewill, have left disputes behind, and will have nothing more to do with them.

Most of us have come across the quote “the past is destined to repeat itself”. If seen through the lens of fate, people are fated to repeat mistakes of the past irrespective of any consideration for liking and disliking. I feel it’s because of human nature. What seems easy to all of us is to step into the shoes of elders and others, and walk with ease instead of carving a road for our own selves with patience and continuous struggle. People repeat the same mistakes, over and over again, no matter what the era is, because with the passage of time they have developed a taste for passivity and inaction. “You can’t make your own choices”, it’s a kind of disgusting feeling. If you make your own choices, you don’t want to make the wrong one. We all need to come out of this frigid mentality to aim for what you want to choose, don’t think about fate or free will. Use freewill to change your fate, use your fate to change it for your freewill. It really doesn’t matter which one is more right to the other. The point is that choices are made everyday, if you spend all your time regretting choices too hard, you will never get anywhere.

Personally, I believe that freedom from both these clutches can be delivered through hard work and determination, which only can help us to go beyond what is set for you. We need to look beyond the dichotomy of  fate and freewill to break the shackles and choose the ways and actions with great dedication so that we can lead a life of contentment and happiness.

  • Iffat Nazir is  a B.A. 6th  semester student at Govt. Degree College Sogam (Lolab), Kupwara with an interest in Oratory and Poetry. Feedback at

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