Free will or destiny?

Written by Lorenzo Colombo - Co-founder of Soulful Soundwaves

Free will represents the power to decide your own fate, to shape your own path in life, while destiny can be seen as a pre-determined way things are going to happen. “Do you believe in free will or fate?” is a question that has been posed to me a number of times.

The two things are often presented in opposition to each other. Taking the decisional power in your hands through free will makes destiny meaningless because we feel we are in control of our lives. Conversely, if we believe in destiny we are meant to be dragged by the current of life no matter what we do, and we feel we cannot change this fact. This is precisely what we have been led to believe and for a very good reason. If we choose the free will path, the illusion of control is going to feed our ego. Despite being aware in the back of our mind that we don't have control, that life can abruptly change its path with no warning leaving us out there wondering why, we might find comfort in this illusion. “If I’m in charge, I am free to choose. And as I am, I’m going to choose what is best for me”. At the end of this route we usually find ourselves unhappy and unbalanced, buying things we don’t need in order to find temporary pleasure and relief.

On the other hand though, if we choose the destiny path we might tend to consider ourselves not accountable for our actions, or only partially. The reason lies in the meaning we give to destiny, something often decided by a higher power, impossible to change. “It was meant to be that way, no matter what I do. It’s not my fault.” This also means that we are going to let others have the power to make decisions, including the ones involving us.

The real question is “are these two concepts really incompatible with each other?” And I think it’s worth an answer, because there should be a better way. And if there is one, we need to find it.

Both free will and destiny can be equally dangerous if taken by themselves, while balance might provide the most empowering and fulfilling of all solutions.

I believe destiny could have a different meaning. To me our life is a flexible flow of events that can be temporarily or permanently modified by free will. Learning to let the illusion of control go and be accountable for our own actions are just some of the tools we can use in order to reach that balance. When we do, we might be able to connect the dots in order to find a really important answer to a question - what we are meant to be.

I also believe all destinies have the same goal, no matter how different they might look from each other. We are all supposed to realise at a certain point in our life, that sooner or later we have to give back everything we have. We are just passing by, borrowing for a while everything we care for, including our life. Realising this represents a corner stone, a real turning point, because finally we start understanding. If we are borrowing everything we have, that means we’ve been helped out in so many ways, for so long. We need to start giving back, we need to help others. This is our final goal, or our destinies’ destiny, if you pass me the pun. Everyone is supposed to become a giver, it doesn’t matter in which form. This is our role, if we want to be part of this huge, incredible natural cycle called Life.

Now, I’m not naïve to the point I don’t realise things are a bit different in reality. Many people are so stuck in their illusion of power and control they cannot even see what could be next. Others blindly believe in destiny to the point they don’t see the meaning in making a difference. But at a certain point in our life we are all going to have the chance to understand that there is something more out there. We might get curious and take it, or we can just leave it to destiny, it’s up to us.

Free will or destiny?