I can control my destiny, but not my fate. Destiny means there are opportunities to turn right or left, but fate is a one-way street. I believe we all have the choice as to whether we fulfil our destiny, but our fate is sealed. Paulo Coelho
Destiny never appealed to me. I experienced a struggle growing up – battling testosterone and life, Capitalism if you like, trying to put things right in order to set out a path presumed by potential’s might. Fate may light that path for some, yet it never added up for me – fate as something driven by that which I could not see. No trust in God so I could not agree. I could only believe what I could see and as for growing perception it is cruel. Your own mind will treat you like a fool until you live and gain the necessary tools to craft what you really believe.
Grieving for lost chance and deviated destiny I always opted to blame life which seemingly messed with me. Authority forever getting the best of me, peers bringing out the jest in me. A running joke who only spoke to himself alone, grounded and trapped at home – procrastinating with a damaged mobile phone. What those moments have shown is that I had the ability to ponder my path, even when I did not have the chance. An idea that I learned a few years ago is Sartre’s concept of freedom. For the sake of brevity I will explain it as clearly as I can.
Defining between a Being-In-Itself and a Being-For-Itself Sartre attempts to show the different between phenomena, evident objects within our World, and their noumena, the immaterial substance behind these objects. This I feel I can explain with Platonic ideals, which when simplified represents how we interpret instances within our World. Like a tree for example, the countless trees in our World – some so foreign to our experiences but still recognisable as growing from the Earth, a Plant of some sort, a tree. The Platonic ideal of any tree is a tree, whether it’s oak or palm and so on.
Sartre claims we are condemned to be free, somewhat I agree. Condemned by our consciousness which drives the Being-For-Itself, Human beings acknowledge their consciousness through self-reflection and awareness. Witnessing a tree from beyond yourself, adds to the idea that you are a being apart from that phenomenon. There must be consciousness of something, he states, and the phenomenon of the Human being is represented by the noumena that is consciousness. That working idea within, allows us to be a Being-For-Itself, constantly tied with free thinking. Condemned to freedom for we cannot destroy that consciousness, however not utilising it makes us merely a Being-In-Itself.
Bad faith is what someone who wants to accept others ideas of how their life is panning out is experiencing. Sartre states they are not utilising the freedom that they have, hence they’re experiencing that bad faith. I agree, and like the quote I present to you that process of thought controls your destiny. It is best to be on top of your mind in that situation, though what of fate? What of that which feels as it has been inclined by forces your mind cannot apprehend? Evidently why we liken it to spiritual dictation, this fixation on a path that you must go – having your soul drawn from a mere career calling to resting in an urn. Fate truly can make my stomach churn.
The Living Breathing Fate
Whatever I do or live by I feel I have earned the outcome, despite knowing it could have gone another way. I’ll always tell myself I am shaping my destiny, nevertheless asking myself can I control my fate. What exactly is fate? The quote shapes the idea in how we normally see and refer to it but I cannot place a finger on a time washed by fate that I wholeheartedly believe. I tend to grieve for situations lost to the feeling of fate. Although there was a time it saw me suffer, hence I was displaced from associating it with life again. I accept the notion of forces, feeling spiritually out of touch – not by religion but genetically weakened by a deteriorating Earth and species.
Before I left my home to go to University I took a final stroll down my main road. Buying necessities, taking in the air as I pondered about the future without a care in the World. I saw a friend, who every time I met we kept bumping into each other in a way which felt like a movie scene. One time in Schooldays he hit my hand with a stick, pricking my fist and cutting it open in many places. Pissed but humbled, he was a friend without bad intentions towards his own. Few years later I had grown, obviously, to see another change within us both.
This time we met at Bromley Common, by chance. At a glance he looked troubled, at this point I had already been excluded from School. My path was leaning toward that destined in failure so I was embarrassed but eager to talk. Our discussion showed he was in trouble with a gang of people and apparently I was in the bad scenario. School seemed to be more hectic than exclusion. This confusion of situations did dwell on my mind, knowing I wanted to do well so I could tell my friends and make them proud.
The next time I saw him was in the Glades. Glares welcomed me and a female friend from whatever end we walked. He warned me of the things she’s done, insight undone the trust I nearly placed in her. At this point whenever I saw him I felt a small change, always referring back to the previous encounter. Was it more than coincidence I thought? I could have bought into this idea but I was young or maybe simply dumb. Our last couple meetings have fought with the idea of fate.
When I was late coming home it should be known that I am up to no good. My younger days were hectic, but nothing so serious to feel constantly dejected. I was violent and hopeful to showcase my aggression. With several hits in succession I hurt someone and he called the Police. As I slept in a cold cell, no blanket just my own worries to keep me warm something hit me like a thorn in my side. This pain in my head alerted when I heard a voice, it was my friends.
As the door creaked open I saw my Mother and his own, discussing the trouble their sons had put them through. He told me he had a fight and got arrested, slept here – I told him the same. It seems our paths came across each other when necessary, we witnessed each other’s lives fold out by simple and smaller events. On to the next I was a few years older, less cold and more focused. A College Student hopeful of better things. My friend also attended a local College. On the way back to ends we saw each other again.
A swarm of Police sirens and incoming Helicopters blocked off the area, getting home steadily looked longer. News broke out that someone had been stabbed, a regular occurrence but due to the length of the wait it made me ponder. How meaningless must it be – to be in control of your destiny until you are untimely struck down by a knife, is that really life? It pushed me further away from that idiocy. Trying to speak to my friend about this madness he simply told me – it was my boy, poking a thumb out to his friend. That journey was awkward, chilling with a friend and maybe within moments a murderer.
That is life, I guess – or was it trying to tell me something? Am I learning or just witnessing? That stuck with me for a moment, inspired me to push forward and do what I have to do. Even if I did not have the necessary concentration I wanted to achieve. A year or so later there I was, again meeting my friend before I embarked on the journey of University. As we always do we spoke and I explained what I was going to do. He was ecstatic, only now I understand why. I had made it through the shitness which he was a constant witness of.
He told me he was proud of me that feeling was really rewarding. It is not like that of a Teacher, Parent or Sibling – they are almost meant to encourage you by whatever means. Except he kept it real – I felt it was from the heart. I told him I will do my best and I will see him later. With that I left, a beaming smile on my face and a determination to achieve beyond what I even believe. Here is where I begin to show you my hate for fate.
There were times I struggled at University, opting to take the loss and cast aside the work, realising the bullshit of the right path in life advocated against the easier more open lifestyle of those who live in or around the hood. Gangbanging and drug dealing, stealing and maybe eventually killing – it sounds thrilling if you are so invested in the lifestyle. Luckily I was not, and people like my friend edged me away onto greater things so now I can say I know my path and this could be fate.
May 2013, at the end of my first year of University – I was browsing on Facebook and saw many messages referring to my friend. Well wishes were sent, I spent the rest of the hour trying to find out what happened. He was shot in the back of the head, something which you don’t just recover from. Hopeful but it is unlikely. I started to sink, thinking back on all the moments we shared. Which may have been insignificant to those who rode alongside him during his life, but I consider him a friend nevertheless.
It inspired me to carry on making him proud, I am unsure if I am allowed to write about this. I do not want to play on sympathy or gain from his loss, but acknowledge that fate here by how we conventionally see it geared me toward thinking it was all meant to happen – and maybe it was. But I doubt it, I will not assign my friend to a mere idea. I feel with fate we witness our lives in scenes, maybe inspired by television and movies – which all have a beginning and end, an aim or desired outcome. Life does not work like that, it is continuously flowing whether it’s showing you a new path or taking the life of others.
Then again back to Sartre, in whatever scenario we find ourselves are we not free consciously? In an essay I did I argued one can be imprisoned by their own mind finding themselves unable to freely think to a degree of someone more open minded. Concerning fate, can we assume it due to the similarities it has with movie like life we witness every day? Where this outcome is fate and another just the mundane ways life goes. The script of life needs to change.