Fate and Destiny

7886 WordsApr 1, 201232 Pages
\\server05\productn\T\THE\26-1-2\THE1203.txt unknown Seq: 1 26-FEB-07 9:49 Fate and Destiny: Some Historical Distinctions between the Concepts Richard W. Bargdill Saint Francis University Abstract There has been a great deal of attention given to the “free will versus determinism” debate. However, little attention has been paid to the most common expressions from this controversy—people’s everyday experience of fate and destiny. In fact, fate and destiny are terms that are often used as synonyms as if there were no differences between the two words. This paper distinguishes the two concepts by reviewing some historical distinctions made by a variety of philosophers, psychologists and scientists. The paper also discusses some…show more content…
The second, and more prevalent, way to learn about one’s fate would be through visiting an oracle. The oracle was a mediator between the gods and humans. The oracle did not reveal all the information supposedly woven by the three Fates, but rather it would answer questions about certain parts of the thread of life or about specific situations. Berofsky (1966) suggests that an oracle could only interpret major life events: any important personal project, any event significant to humanity as whole and any action that a person anxiously deliberates about. Morford and Lenardon (1985) write that some tablets found at a temple for Zeus demonstrate that ordinary people often asked the oracle for Zeus’ help on issues such as: “to what god or hero they should pray or sacrifice for their common good; others ask if it is safe to join a federation; a man inquires if it is good for him to marry; another, whether he will have children from his wife” (p. 73-74). The every day ordinary life events of the ancients apparently were not controlled by fate, only the big things. The oracle’s answer to the seeker was typically an ambiguous statement or a riddle. The ambiguity of these prophecies suggests the outcome of the destined event is, at least in part, the seeker’s responsibility. The seeker could interpret the ambiguous statement in any number of ways. The tragedy that typically results in Greek mythology is, by and large, due to the fact that the seeker failed to recognize the
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