What is free will and what is fate?
Depending on who you ask, the question about whether or not we live in a fate-driven world will result in a bunch of different answers. People will give answers based on their experiences, their mood, their frustration, and their hopes. But, do we really have the ability to choose the direction of our lives or is it all written in the stars?
It’s Beyond My Control!
Many people live with the notion that what happens has been planned out for them. Many of these people are religious and believe that God has a plan for them that is unfolding exactly the way it should. In other words, when something bad or good happens, it was meant to happen and is a part of the bigger picture that God has laid out for them.
Other people believe that the day, year, and time they were born has a big effect on how their life will go. If they are a Capricorn, for example, they are going to be an introvert who achieves success slowly but surely. In addition, the stars, the moon, the lines on their palm, and other factors play a big part in how their life will go out, what they do, and how much success they will have.
Still other people believe that what is happening to them in this life is a result of their past life. Unfinished business, karma, and lessons that need to be learned will be played out in this life in order to make their soul stronger and wiser.
And some scientists believe that our existence is governed by the brain, which is a result of our genetic blueprint and life experience. While others believe that our choices are simply a result of chemical reactions, and those chemical reactions occur according to the law of physics and have no probability of turning out any other way. [Source: http://www.livescience.com/19213-free-fate.html]
The notion that we are being controlled and going through life in a calculated series of events seems depressing and comforting at the same time. All we have to do is hang onto the rails and make it through to the end of our time.
It’s Totally Up To Me!
Anyone who believes in the law of attraction absolutely believes that free will is alive and well. The belief that you can change your path in life to something more rewarding, requires that you make conscious choices to think and behave differently than you have in the past. All it takes is the desire to have something different in order to get the ball rolling.
Some religious people also believe they also have free will to an extent. There are various verses that back up this belief, including, ‘The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps’ (Proverbs 16:9). While this verse shows that God may actually be in control of the actions a person takes, the decision to go one direction or the other is completely up to the person.
Another verse is, ‘And they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, after being captured by him to do his will’ (2 Timothy 2:26). That verse points to the notion that people can make the decision to leave evil and go towards God.
Some scientists also believe that free will is a possibility. Deepak Chopra points to genetics and neuroscience. It seems that while they play a part in deciding our destiny, they can also play a part in our free will. He says that research has found that genes and the brain are fluid and can respond to everything we experience in our life. [Source: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/deepak-chopra/i-am-the-master-of-my-fat_b_6054828.html]
In one study, the signals from participant’s brain activity didn’t always match the outcome when faced with a choice. It only predicted their final decisions 60 percent of the time. In other words, they were able to override the chemical reactions that were happening in their brain and make a conscious choice.
Will We Ever Know The Truth?
The debate over free will and fate will rage on for a while. Everyone can find the proof to back up their belief, so there is no clear cut answer.
The truth is that no one really knows the truth. Everyone has their own opinion based on research, their experiences, and their beliefs in life, and while it would be nice to have free will and make our life up as we go along, there could easily be someone pulling the strings from behind the scenes and deciding our next step for us.
That’s the bad news.
The good news is that we have a choice about how we feel about our lives. Whether it is random or not, we can choose to enjoy every moment that happens to us and make the most out of it. We can choose to believe what we want to believe. We can change our mind about our beliefs, no matter why we have adopted them. And we can be happy if we choose to be happy.
It doesn’t matter what you believe in, that is all very true. If you believe in fate, your happiness was predestined, and if you believe in free will, your happiness was created.
Believing In Free Will Is Important
Despite your experiences and beliefs, you may want to choose to believe in free will. Why? For one, a study demonstrated that people who were told that free will is an illusion showed a decrease in their ability to override chemical reactions and personally affect their final decisions. In other words, the disbelief in free will affected their neural processes. This is important, because as Deepak said, our brain is fluid, and those processes can be affected by our experiences in life, both negatively (as in the case of not believing in free will) and positively.
In the end, if you don’t believe in free will, then that belief may actually cause you to have less free will! Considering that there is a possibility that free will is what determines our lives, wouldn’t you rather take the chance of making the most out of it by believing in it and using it?