PROVOCATIVE QUESTION: WHAT ABOUT PREDESTINATION? – Marilyn Armstrong

This week’s provocative question is a spinoff of a question that Melanie (Sparks From a Combustible Mind) asked in her last Share Your World post.

That question from Melanie got me thinking about fate and predestination. So here’s this week’s provocative question.

I’m not entirely sure what “predestination” means. By this do you mean a rigid “ending” that you can’t change, no matter what? Because I don’t believe in that.

I think we end up where we are supposed to be. I don’t think it’s a rigid, unchanging finish. I think it is flexible and will change depending on the choices we make. But there’s a likely place we will probably land.

I don’t believe in a frozen, unbending future. More like a conclusion based on our intelligence, status, birthplace, education … and the things to which we are attracted and choose along our path as well as the kind of people to whom we are attracted.

This is how I like to describe it.

Life is like a bus trip, except you don’t know where you are going and you can’t drive the bus. No ticket, no map.

You will meet other travelers on the bus. Some will be your friends and maybe lovers and mates. They enter the bus at various stops and get off where they must. You may not be happy about it.

The bus will sometimes stop and give you the chance to visit and enjoy the scenery, but eventually, you’ll have to get back on the bus.

You still won’t have any idea where the bus is going and you still can’t drive. Sometimes, the road will be very rough and treacherous. Other times, the road will be smooth and the scenery beautiful. When all is smooth and lovely, you may think you’ve got everything under control.

You will never have everything under control. You never know when the bus will take a sudden turn or for that matter, drive off a bridge.

Life will take you where it takes you.

I don’t know what, if anything, God has to do with it. Maybe something. Maybe nothing. I have no idea. But if prayer makes you feel better, I say go for it. Because whatever makes you feel better — especially if it costs nothing — is worth doing.

18 thoughts on “PROVOCATIVE QUESTION: WHAT ABOUT PREDESTINATION? – Marilyn Armstrong

  1. I hesitated to read your post BEFORE doing Fandango’s question, but I did. I’m glad I did. You used such a great analogy in that bus ride and our ‘destiny’.

  2. I agree it’s a bit of a bus ride. The unknown part of it amounts to free will. Unfortunately we don’t know the end game of our choices.
    Leslie

  3. Hi, this was quite an interesting post. The only problem is, time and again I tend to ponder over this topic, but have never been able to make a decision.
    But I like your approach though 🙂

    • I suspect there really aren’t any decision to BE made. We go where we go and what happens is what happens. How we respond to it changes our direction more than the event, I think. That is (maybe) our test.

  4. Interesting bus ride analogy. I like it. That said, when I hear someone talk about fate, predestination, or say “my destiny is [whatever],” to me it means that they believe that they are where they are and are doing what they’re doing because it was preordained by some higher power (something outside of themselves). If you believe that, then you believe Donald Trump was destined to be president, for example, because this “higher power” preordained it. Or that the shooter in New Zealand was meant to do what he did because it was all part of the “higher power’s” plan for him. It’s those kind of beliefs — that everyone is where they are doing what they’re doing because that’s where fate (or the bus) led them is what gives me pause.

    • I don’t think so. I think we respond to events that occur as we ride along our path and our reactions, responses — and those of the people around us change the direction in which we are going. There are always forks in the road and who is to say that how we behave does not change the route? If someone has that answer, I’d like to hear about it because I don’t know. What I do know is that we aren’t driving the bus. We aren’t going where we plan. We aren’t controlling our own fate nor am I sure there is an ‘intended fate.” Only a collection of possibilities — the “coulds” and “might-bes” of life. If you think that is the same as predestination, that is your decision, but it isn’t mine.

      • I don’t believe in predestination at all. At every turn, at every fork in the road, we make choices, and I don’t believe our choices are preordained.

        • No, not pre-ordained … but we do have leanings — drives if you will — to one direction or another. We are artistic or mathematical, literary or musical. We have distinct personal abilities and tendencies to be this way or another. Some of us are geniuses in one field or another. We will find our way into that “thing” — whether it’s being a world-class businessman or a world-class drug dealer. Regardless, you have a powerful business sense and it will take you down some road where numbers and business matter. There are violent people who will find a way to kill — while others urgently need to cook and want to feed the world.

          It may not be predestination, but to a person who feels this need, it may certainly seem pre-destined. I know a lot of artists who feel that they were absolutely COMPELLED to be artists. Driven to it. Writers too. Musicians who absolutely HAD to make music and literally cannot imagine doing anything else. Doctors who were born to heal. Seriously spiritual people, regardless of how you personally feel towards them (you aren’t their judge and they are not YOUR judge, either).

          I don’t think this is predestination. No “thing” or “individual” causes it, but whatever it is that makes us who we are, drives us to BE who we are.

          Some of us are more driven than others.

          Then there are the undriven folks who drift and wonder why nothing seems to “stick for them. I think they are the saddest folks because there is nothing which calls them to be anything in particular. They must feel lost in a world where everyone else has “business” and they don’t.

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