Talons Philosophy

An Open Online Highschool Philosophy Course

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Do we have a Destiny?

destiny road

Image taken from http://www.vaterrarc.com/ and modified under Creative Commons License.

Since the early ages of civilization, destiny is a concept that has riddled mankind and continues to do so. This concept although, quite old, still remains with no clear answer. Philosophers continue to be split when it comes to this concept. There are several questions that can be asked from the “Concept of Destiny”.

First of all, what is destiny?

Destiny can be defined as a predetermined course of events a person will go though throughout one’s life. In essence we are not in control of our destiny and therefore cannot be change what is going to happen.

But what about free will?

The “Concept of Free Will” and the “Concept of Destiny” are always at odds. They always contradict one another and if one is true the other cannot be. We knew this much already, but which one is true? How do I find out? It seems there is no empirical answer

How do we know destiny exists?

I don’t think we can know. A common argument for determinists who believe in destiny, is that it cannot be disproved. But is this a good basis to believe something? We cannot disprove the existence of fairies, or Santa Clause, or elves, yet it’s quite evident they don’t exist.

Perhaps destiny is an illusion?

It might be that destiny just happens to be an illusion. To elaborate on this, if we convince ourselves we have a destiny that will drive us to achieve greatness, and we end up achieving incredible things, it does not mean destiny itself exists but rather perhaps, the illusion is what drove us.

But, if it does exist, is that a bad thing or a good thing?

columbus arriving

Image taken from https://en.wikipedia.org and modified under Creative Commons License.

If destiny does exist I don’t think it would be black and white when it comes to ethics. If we take a look at history, to be more specific, historical figures, we could see that many who believed they had a destiny ended up committing terrible crimes, and others some very noble acts. Christopher Columbus is a good example. Christopher was a man who we could call a “man of destiny”. He believed it was his destiny to go around the world, traveling from Europe to Asia through the Atlantic Ocean. Although he failed in doing so, he ended up discovering a new continent! It was his destiny, or self-belief in destiny that drove him to achieving this. Unfortunately, even though today we see him as an enlightened explorer, he ordered his men to commit several crimes against the Indians (Natives) of Hispaniola! Was it his destiny that predetermined for these atrocities to be committed? I don’t know.

Based on all this philosophical thinking, my current stance is, yes, destiny does exist. My reasoning behind this is, being the determinist I am, I do not believe in free will, and think all our future events have already been predetermined. Ironically, I think it’s free will that happens to be the illusion. Let’s see if philosophers agree with me and/or if I change my mind with my second blog on Destiny.

 

 

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