Wednesday, June 06, 2012

On fate and faith ...

I have what others may call an "addictive personality." When I take an interest in something, it consumes me — and I consume it — until whatever it may be grows tiresome.

If I find a movie I like, I have to learn all of it. I study the dialog. I research the actors. I read up on the trivia and secrets. I feel as if I must learn all there is to know. And once I've done so, I may move on ... or I may linger.

For some reason that escapes me, it's words that consume me lately — specifically, the printed word. When I'm not reading, I'm writing. And when I'm not reading or writing, I'm thinking of things I've read and/or things I'll write. This may not seem so odd, but considering I read and write for a living, I'd think my heart would choose another addiction as its pastime.

Currently, I'm a little more than half way through Jane Eyre. I'm reading it on the Kindle app on my phone, as I have most of the books I've read this year (save for the Hunger Games trilogy, which I read in paperback format thanks to my daughter).

It strikes me as odd that I find myself rooting for Jane and wishing for certain things to happen or not happen. Noteworthy: I've never read Jane Eyre before so it's all new to me. I have no idea the outcome so I'm not soiled with any predisposition.

It may not seem odd to root for the book's heroin or even a movie hero. In fact, I think it's quite natural. But the oddity is apparent when you think about the fact that the book is 165 years old. Whatever happened to Jane happened well before any of us was born — before even our grandparents were born — so how can the outcome affect me in any way?

The same is true with any movie you watch. You can root and hope all you want, the outcome is predetermined. And on top of that it's almost always fictitious. So getting emotionally attached just seems so peculiar. And yet we do.

To take it to another level, for anyone that believes in fate, it is equally silly to hope or wish for things to come. Either they will come or they won't. All the hoping in the world won't change that fact if destiny exists. Likewise, lamenting past happenings is just as frivolous if fate exists. Even if you have the capacity to change the small things in life, the mere belief in fate suggests that no matter how you deviate from its path, you'll end up back on it eventually. So whatever happened was meant to happen. "Don't cry over spilled milk," if you will.

I'm wondering lately if life isn't just a book that's already been written and we're just acting out our parts or if we truly have freedom to do as we wish. Sometimes I find myself trapped in thought about whether I truly had any choice in the things that have happened in life or if God or the fates conspired eons ago that today I do all the things I've done today. Occasionally, I find myself making a seemingly bizarre spur-of-the-moment change in plans to try to trick the fates, taking Locust Street instead of Transit — or whatever. But then after I make the turn, I wonder if that isn't what I was supposed to do all along.

And if it's true that whatever I do, I was supposed to do, why not do the most outlandish things possible? If destiny will return me to the pre-selected path, why not go awry for a while and see what fun can be dug up in the bushes?

In truth, I'm not sure whether it scares me more to think that there is such a thing as fate ... or that there might not be.

And still, I hope that things turn out well for Jane.

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