This one is seemingly personal preference … isn’t it? It comes down to personal beliefs? Many great thinkers from philosophers like Aristotle and Hippocrates to writers like Shakespeare and Bradbury to modern poets and politicians have all weighed in on the topic. And each has their own take on whether it is one or the other or both or neither.
Honestly … I don’t know what I personally think/believe. I’m not adamant about any of the choices. Here are my “definitions” of these choices. They are by no means “correct” or full definitions - just what I’m using as a starting point. (DISCLAIMER: I am not a philosopher or a student of philosophy, and I slept through most of my school-required philosophy courses.)
Chance: everything, EVERYTHING, is left up to chance and we do not have a real say in any of it. Our choices are basically a coin flip, and with each choice we create more and more possible choices that we did and did not take. No fate, no “true” free will or choice. Some version of “Life is a crap shoot.”
Fate: essentially, a higher power has laid out a master plan and we are all a part of that plan.
Free Will: we have free choice. There are a multitude of paths presented to us throughout life and it is up to us individually (and sometimes as a group) to make our own choices. Those choices then determine our next step, which in turn create more choices for us to make. Ad infinitum.
Determinism: you yourself—in all your physiological and psychological complexity are just a part of the cosmos…one (perhaps unique) bio-living entity occupying the earth. As such, the course of your life will basically be Determined (i), by the positive or negative factors built-in to your genetic inheritance; and (ii), by the good and bad consequences of everything that happens to you as you go through life.
This discussion is one that not only takes place throughout the entirety of Recent Tragic Events, but also took place throughout our rehearsal process. We didn’t up with an answer that was definitive or that we all agreed on.
What about you? Do you have a personal philosophy that matches these? Or do you perhaps have a blend? Where on this continuum do you fall?