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Monday, June 7, 2010

Fate?

This awesome girl, Katie-- one of the people I follow on Twitter-- asked an interesting question of The Situation* this evening: "Do you think that everybody has someone out there for them? Like true loves."

I smiled after reading the tweet, because I already knew the answer. Sure enough, The Situation replied a second later with, "Fate has been scientifically disproved. Don't sit around and wait for it; make it happen!"**

Then, because I'd already decided that I would be blogging on the same topic minutes later, I @replied Katie myself and stirred a bit of controversy. "If it makes you feel any better," I wrote, "I believe in fate. ;-)"

And I do. Or, more specifically, I partially do. I believe that we, as people, have to work to achieve goals, and that it discredits those who train in a particular area for decades to call them "lucky," but also that we don't control every factor of our lives, and that some things come down to outside forces. For example, my grandfather was born into poverty, but by busting his ass, he managed to live the American Dream and become extremely successful and respected in his field. He's a hero of mine, and it would be insulting to suggest that he got so far in life just because of destiny. It would have been easy for him to live up to the low expectations and fall into the same cycle that claims thousands of others, but he worked, and it paid off. HOWEVER, not everything is controllable. He was healthy. He had the (unfair, but true) advantage of being white. He was born in a country where rising above class stature is possible. Most of what made my grandpa an incredible human being was his ambition and drive, but you have to admit that some of it was, well... fate-ish.

The same thing applies to the concept of talent. It's rightfully irritating to someone like The Situation to receive youtube comments that say things like, "I wish I could play piano like that!" He's been playing the damn thing since he was born. He didn't wake up one morning and think, "Gee, I wonder if I can be a musical badass. Yep! Looks like I can! All set." Calling talent a "gift" is insulting to those who fight for it. BUT, once again, there's another side to it all. The Situation has abnormally long fingers. He has a natural predisposition to music. When he was two years old and drawn to Paul McCartney, it wasn't because he consciously decided, "If I study this now, it'll provide me with an insecure job for my twenties." Some things just happen, and some coincidences seem too big for me to write them all off as chance.

So, you may be wondering, how can two people with such fundamentally different beliefs be right for each other? Well. Call me cheesy, but just like the debate of predestination vs. freewill, this is one mystery that I don't mind leaving unsolved. The answer is that we just are. Somehow, I look up to and admire someone with a philosophy totally different from my own, and he respects and listens to my points as well. We don't think the same way, but we have an unforgeable balance between us. Maybe it's because we were both at the right points in our lives to narrow down the options and choose people with complementary attributes, and our relationship is all math***. Maybe we work because we were supposed to. Maybe it's both. What do you think?

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*I considered dropping the nickname, since we're all well aware of The Situation's identity by now. However, I've decided that it will probably be more beneficial to my boyfriend's career as a musician if the Google searches for his name provide links to, say, his music, rather than to exposés about his personal philosophies and descriptions of why he's lyke sUpEr hott. For future blogs, when I talk about him in a professional sense, I will use his name ("You should go see that dashing lad, Mike Lombardo, play a show tomorrow in Philadelphia!") and when I objectify him as either my capital-B Boyfriend or a nameless piece of manmeat, he will remain The Situation.
** I added the semicolon. Girlfriends are allowed to do stuff like that.
***What a terrifying sentence! Seriously. Makes me shiver.

35 comments:

Emily B. said...

Hayley!

I don't post often, and I know this is not very relevant to the topic, but I got in to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter early! I went on Sunday, and lucked out. I'm telling you this because it was an incredible experience, and I cannot wait to hear your take on it! It was absolutely astonishing to see everything that I've loved for so long come to life. Thanks for doing this blog, Hayley. You seem to be an incredible person, and you are awesome.

Scott said...

I wish I had something with more depth to add besides "agreed," but sadly I do not. Instead I'll add a Jo Rowling quote which sums up my beliefs quite eloquently.

"Destiny is a name often given in retrospect to choices that had dramatic consequences."

The Dreamers said...

I think you're right that it's a mix between luck and ambition, but I wouldn't say luck and fate are the same thing.

Fate is something that was MEANT to happen(which I don't believe in).

Luck just happens, and it's not anything tangible or explainable, but that's just the way it is.

I think believing that you can truly do anything you put your mind to is naive, admirable, but naive. But I also don't like when people say that anything you have was a blessing from God, or just good luck, when they most likely worked their asses off to have it.

But that's just me I guess.

Katie said...

I believe in fate and have similar views to you. My boyfriend teases me when I mention little things seeming to prove that we were meant to find each other and be together. He sounds like Mike in the sense that he advocates science and concrete ideas. Like you guys though, we respect each other's ideas. Another way people always tell us we don't seem right for each other is because he has the demeanor of a grumpy old man and I basically have the sense of humor and attention span of a ten-year-old. We're good for each other though because he's helped me grow up and I've helped him lighten up a bit so it's a good balance. :)

I think that everyone does have a "true love" out there for them, but I think it's easy for one to miss out on it even once he or she finds that special person. There is a match for everyone...but just because you find that person doesn't mean your relationship is magically going to be perfect. Relationships still require a ton of work and compromising no matter how good a pair two people are. I think some people don't realize that, and they calll it quits on someone perfect for them just because it's not the fairy tale story they expected.

*****TL;DR- I believe in fate and destiny. But once fate leads you to discover that special person/job opportunity/dream house/skill/talent/etc, you need to work to keep him/achieve it/buy it/hone it/improve it/etc in order for things to truly work out for the best.

Does that make sense? I know what I'm trying to say but I'm confusing myself now! Hope it came across clear enough. Great blog & topic, Hayley. :)

Holly said...

It's all well and cheery when you're talking about beneficial things like talent and success, but what about those people who lose their jobs, fall from success, or become terminally ill?
Nobody deserves things like that, and it's impossible that they could happen for a reason. It would be cruelly unjust.

KennyCrane said...

I believe genes define a normal distribution of possible values along any axis of attribute a person can have, and then their environment shapes where they end up along that axis.

People like to tell stories about events in their lives, to give meaning to what has happened to them. When you look back, you might see big things that have happened and call that fate or God answering prayers or looking out for you. Of course it may be that, no one can disprove the supernatural. But it also may be a form of survivor bias ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Survivorship_bias ) where the ones who are around to blog about fate are still alive to comtemplate it. Whenever I hear stories about how someone's prayer was answered or how the car swerved to miss them at the last second, or how they changed plans at the last second and avoided a disaster - I can't help but imagine what those who didn't live to tell their tale would say. It might all just be the result of a roll of the dice.



Best wishes to you and Mike!

Courtney :) said...

I believe that what is truly meant to happen will happen, as long as you don't just expect it to. You have to get up and fight for what you want, or it's not just going to stick around and wait on you. It'll be gone. People may be more inclined to achieve greatness in one aspect or another, but I do also believe that if they work really hard they can become talented in other aspects. So I guess I don't believe that fate and destiny are the only things affecting a circumstance, but they certainly do play a part. And now that I've gone back and re-read your post, I pretty much just reiterated everything you wrote. Good job, me. Ha.

Also, not meaning to sound, I don't know, like I'm trying to pick a fight or anything. But why is it irritating when someone says they wish they could play piano like Mike? For me, that's always been a compliment when someone says that to me because it means they are in awe and respect what I've accomplished. It doesn't necessarily mean that they take what you do for granted but that they recognize you've worked hard for what you've attained. I'm not meaning to come off the wrong way here so I hope no one takes it as so. That part just confused me a little.

Anyway. Great post, as always. I'm glad you've been posting regularly again. :)

BenCracknell said...

I'm split either way with the idea of fate and if there is a person out there for everyone.
My mother got married at 19 and had my sister at 21 and me at 24, but after a year in an abusive marriage, she divorced him. She was depressed becase she had no money and two children to look after, and, like Jo Rowling--which, I am still proud of about my mother to this day--she thought me and my sister would die. She ended up checking herself into a mental hospital--not a serious one--and sort herself out before she did any damage. While she was in there, she met my step father, who just happened to be going through literally the same thing! They've now been happily married for 14 years, and I don't know anyone happier. They have never, ever argued, and haven't spend a night apart. Call it weird, but it's kind of a coinsidence how they just happened to stumble upon each other.

I also agree with you, though, that you have to work to get up to the top. It isn't luck, it isn't chance, it's sure, butt busting hard work.

Have a good day!
Ben

Sara said...

Hey Hayley!
I'm so excited to go to Mike's show on Saturday, and to see you there!

So, I'm not sure if this is too personal of a question, but correct me if I'm wrong in saying that you are a very religious Christian? I may have made a wrong assumption but that's what I seem to have gathered from watching your videos and reading your blog. Anyway, I was wondering whether Mike is religious? I totally understand if it's not my place to ask, or if it's not your place to answer, and if he doesn't want his views shared over the internet. The reason I ask is because I'm an atheist, and over the past year, I've befriended through the internet/Harry Potter two very religious Christian friends. One of which has said herself that she doesn't believe in science. Being raised with relatives who do science research that helps save lives, this huge difference in our beliefs made me think we wouldn't be able to be friends. I told my friend who is also an atheist about my new friendships, and he couldn't believe how I could "handle it" and said that I must be a very tolerant person. Usually we just tend to avoid topics involving religion, and understand that we've been raised differently, and even though I may not be able to understand how someone would not believe in science, we don't have to let that affect our friendship.

Anyway the point of this really was to ask, if Mike isn't religious and you are, how does that affect your relationship? And if Mike is religious, then.. maybe this was a pointless comment, but this blog post just made me curious.

Sorry for the essay and the inevitable grammar mistakes that will probably make you cringe. xD

Johnny Rollerfeet said...

There's a great -- aren't they all great? -- episode of This American Life called Somewhere Out There that starts with a bunch of science nerds calculating the odds of finding a mate.

I met a lot of girls I "loved" before I met my wife, but one night more than a year after we met she said this one amazing thing (that I can't for the life of me remember) and "it clicked". The odds were not in our favor for before that moment, but after it I knew I'd have to work against the odds, and I'm glad I did. Now all the odds are in our favor. :)

Megan said...

Hayley,

I agree you to a certain point. I think fate plays a part to a certain extent in our lives. However to go with one of your examples, I think talent and fate are more fused together. Yes to be good at an instrument, you have to practice. Fate, though, helps you to play the right instrument for you. Some people also tend to have a natural predisposition towards musical talent which means that some people, no matter how hard they try, won't ever be as good as someone like Mike, who is amazing at piano.

Anonymous said...

I think that fate acts in our lives, but this doesn't mean people have no control over their lives. I have a friend who literally said "I'm not studying for finals, I'm going to pray about it." But I do think that I was SUPPOSED to read Harry Potter and find these amazing friends and community. I could have watched tv when my dad offered to read it to me.

Bobina said...

I'm in favor of the "fate and choice" philosophy. For example, it's fate that I and my capitol-B Boy went to the same wizard rock show in Boston. It's fate that my best friend convinced Lauren Myrtle and the Whomping Willows to sing happy birthday to me (since it was the day after my 18th) and the Boy found out my name. However, we would not be where we are today if he had not found me on facebook, had his friend not stopped talking to me (long story), had I not initiated a long sequence of conversations, and had we not agreed to meet after months of talking (even though he lives an hour away). So, all I'm trying to say with this blathering on about myself is that you've got fate to give you the chance, but it's up to the person is take that chance and run with it. For myself, I think I'll just take life as a never-ending sequence of coincidence and choice.
In other news, you two make me smile. :)

Hope said...

I like that you have the courage to leave some questions unanswered. I think too many people improvise solutions to problems that they don't really know how to solve, and which would really be better left alone.

I think some things are just meant to be mysteries we'll never figure out.

Natasha Self said...

The challenge I'd make (and I deffo agree with the importance of disagreement and debate on the topic) is that fate means a course of events is inevitable, and The Situation's (I can't help using it too! Catchy nickname!) long fingers didn't make it INEVITABLE that he'd go on to be a great pianist, it just helped him when he did play it. Or even if it's WHY he chose piano, he didn't HAVE to due to the fingers. He may never have played piano but still have had perfect-for-piano-playing-hands. At least that's what I believe.

Your grandpa being healthy, white and American must surely again be circumstances that helped but not fate because, as you put it, not all the healthy, white, Americans did become successful.

I think you're right that successes are due to skill AND luck and circumstance, but I don't believe luck and circumstance to be the same as fate, as they can make something more likely but they can't make something INEVITABLE.

I hope I managed to explain my point to SOME degree here. Such a good post Hayley!

Ravenclaw2313 said...

I have to agree with you Haley. It's true that people work for things but a lot of things occur by fate. My brother and I both started learning guitar at the same time and even though we practice and work almost the same amount he's way better than I am. He just has a knack for music. It makes sense to him and he just gets it. Some things just work that way.

GillianisAslan said...

Is it just a coincidence that my parents were at Harvard at the same time? Is it just a coincidence that I stumbled upon the YouTube community right when I was at my lonliest? Is it just a coincidence that one of your most loyal subscribers just happened to be the owner of vintage TMNT sheets and lived right near the Situation's first show? Nah. I doubt it. I figure we might as well leave it up to fate and higher powers, because we can't control such happenings.

seurat2 said...

I remember reading a comment from a famous music writer who said he had interviewed countless highly successful musicians and asked them if luck had been a factor in their success, and all but one said yes. Many, like Neil Young for example, said they had come up with people of great talent who had not achieved much success and that luck (or fate, or chance) was the main difference. He had the breaks, they didn't. He worked extremely hard of course, and was intensely devoted to his art, but so were many of them. That is what I believe too. I don't believe in a predestined fate but that doesn't mean that you totally control the major events inyour life. You do control the way that you choose to live it. oh, and the exception above was Joni Mitchell, if you wondered.

Stephanie L said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Stephanie L said...

I have abnormally short fingers, which does make it more difficult to play piano and guitar, but I do anyways. There are some songs, like Hey Jude, that I physically cannot play on the piano because my fingers just don't stretch far enough, and I've accepted that. For the most part, however, I just say "Suck it!" to whatever "fate" seems to want me to do. I am also really good at math, but I choose to ignore that "gift" and instead try to work hard at English, because that's what I want to do. I guess what I'm trying to say is, even if you have the natural gifts, you still have to try, and even if you don't, it shouldn't stop you from trying. In the words of Albus Dumbledore, "It is our choices . . . that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities." (And I also want to say that it makes me really sad that spell-check is currently telling me that Albus and Dumbledore aren't words.)

Snottlebie said...

As a wise man once said, "Don't mistake coincidence for fate."

Or maybe that was just a character on Lost...

Gilly said...

I believe God has a plan for everyone, and is in control but that we still make choices in life and have to work hard to get what we want. And I think that while maybe we don't have that one special person out there we're just waiting to meet, sometimes things just come together and you meet the person perfect for you at the right time that person. And I think that in a relationship you definitely need a balance of views and opinions.
I don't know if that even made sense anyway, I think I agree with you :)

Anila said...

The relationship between fate and free will is tricky - I don't think the two are mutually exclusive and inherently oppositional.

There's nothing wrong with believing in fate, but I think you should do what you need to do to get what you want, but be careful not to scapegoat things like fate or luck or God when you fail.

Anonymous said...

Hayley, you are confusing chance with fate. You believe in chance, but call it fate. Such things as a person being born in a wealthy country or with long fingers is pure chance from that person's point of view.

India said...

...and our relationship is all math

^ That made me think of An Abundance of Katherines, haha! :)
Also, Hayley, I wish you would make another video describing your favorite books! I'm sure they've changed a bit since the beginning of fiveawesomegirls, and I'm always looking for good books to read! :D

Kelly and Monica said...

I dedicated a whole blog post to my opinion on the questions you raised:

http://lifethusis.blogspot.com/2010/06/fate-response.html

I'd love if you'd read it! But I also have this somewhat unrelated point to add:

Your relationship works despite the fact that you are two very different people with two very different worldviews. However, I am in the opposite situation. The boy I like is very similar to me. We think almost the exact same way and understand each other completely. Yet, we can’t make it work. I can’t say this is because we aren’t “supposed” to be together. I think it is a matter of chance, a matter of knowing each other in the wrong periods of our lives. We aren’t at the same stages of our lives right now, and so we cannot be together. But that is not because of fate. In another reality in which he wasn’t haunted by the ghosts of his past, I feel certain we would be perfect together. So I don’t believe in fate. I don’t believe certain people are destined for each other. I think if you want love, you have to make it.

kira902k said...

I almost completely agree with you on the whole fate/freewill debate. I mean, we can never really know for sure, and I'm the kind of person who would say that destiny was b.s. but for some reason I just can't.
I understand that most people work really hard to get where they're at, but at the same time...I dunno.
There are billions of people in the world. And yet for two people to meet who just...fall in love (and it happens often!) there must be some sort of driving force.

Or maybe not.

I don't know, and I doubt I ever will know.

Interesting topic.

Also, like your nail colour. :)

-alex

the orange box said...

Two words sum up my thoughts on fate, shit happens. It would be nice if there was some sort of force out there that was making sure we took certain paths in our lives, but then I feel that if fate did truly exist it would be at the expence of free will. I'm responsible for all the good choices I've made just as much as I'm to blame for my mistakes and misadventures. I wouldn't disuade anyone from believing in fate and I admire those that do but it's not for me.

Sarah Mowrey said...

But, Hayley, Do you believe in Late? (LOST REFERENCE)

Uh, what else. Oh, as Mr. Eko would say (there is a parenthetical spoiler floating around in my noggin) "Do not confuse coincidence with fate." And I don't think you do.

I think the island controls most things, personally but that's because I've allowed a television series, that has been over for a month, to take over my life

accioweasley said...

Terrific Sentence, agreed. :P

Opposites Attract is a phrase put out there so much, and I have to say I disagree with it. Not so much that opposites attract, but people with the same beliefs minus a few tweaks attract. But that couldn't fit on a fridge magnet, could it? (Why would anyone HAVE a fridge magnet with Opposites Attract on it? Prolly there would be a proton and neutron there. Idk. Bad reference.)
People love one another for the things they disagree and agree on, right? They love the bad times and the good times. I've always thought of it as not trying to find a person with every. little. perfect. thing. But trying to find someone with, well, bad attributes. Not completely, but to some extent. Even though it bugs the hell out of me, I love it when he (he being my ex-boyfriend) makes judgments about his own art, that are so vain and uninspiring, but makes him happy. Well, anyway, I do have to say that you and Mike are so fantastic together.

Anne said...

I wrote an essay on this for my final exam yesterday, and the term you're looking for is determinism, not predestination - predestination is a religious belief prominent in the presbyterian church that God has predetermined who is to be saved and who is to be damned, and that there is nothing we can do to change it.

Determinism is the idea that every event/action/decision is a reaction to prior causes and therefore determined - thus we have no free will and no moral responsibility for our actions. Although Soft Determinists argue that only objects of knowledge can be determined, not objects of will, therefore we still have free will in a determined universe.
Personally I'm a Hard Determinist.

'Fate' is clearly a far more romanticised version of this philosophical theory however. Sorry if none of this made sense/you knew this all already.

Love your blog!

Dinah said...

I DO NOT KNOW THE ANSWER.
Blog more please!!!!

lucy and sarah said...

cool post..makes me think about what Becky said to Tim on Friday Night Lights this past week.

Anonymous said...

Your view kind of reminded me of the book Outliers by Malcom Gladwell. I think it makes a lot of sense, that success is a combination of luck and placement and that sort of thing, but also has a lot to do with ambition.
But then again I really the like idea of a self defined destiny and that quote from Into the Wild where Alex says "If you want something in life, reach out and grab it."

Anonymous said...

So I'm just going to say that I disagree and get that off my chest. The thing with "fate" and "destiny" and whatnot is that it suggests that the universe has this pre-mapped out plan and no matter what you do, your limited to ONLY that plan and you can't move an inch away from it even if you stretch and pound and kick with all your might.

And if that's the meaning of fate, can it really exist alongside freewill? I just don't think it works. It sounds pessimistic to say that the world may be entirely indifferent to our existance, but for me it's like an infusion of oxygen knowing that I'm not bounded by the universe's will.

Also what you mentioned about people being born white or having long fingers... well that's just science and genetics. The world is filled with people with their own genetics an it comes down to science.

Sorry for that, but that's just what I beleive in.