Today I found myself reminiscing over high school life. It is going to the third year since I left high school and the fun I had and many things I learnt are still fresh in my mind. I recall one of the English teachers who taught us that you are either an existentialist or a fatalist. At the moment, of course, he was referring to exams. Fatalists who didn’t burn the midnight oil always found a way to give an excuse that failing was their fate while the existentialists made an effort to study and ace their exams.
I came to think about this two concepts and how they apply to our daily lives and the events that define our era. Generally existentialists hold the belief that we can chart the direction in which our lives here on earth take. It assumes that everyone has free will and, as put by many positive thinkers and motivational speaker;”we can be anything we want.” This philosophy is to some extent true and relevant the 21st century where we claim that 95% of barbarism has been successfully eliminated.
Many optimists subscribe to existentialism; however, life does not always turn out the way we expected. The twists, ups and downs of life always cause happenings that are beyond our control. I was imagining an event where you are walking and suddenly a tree (for no apparent reason) falls on you and crushes your poor self to death. No one told the tree to time and fall exactly at the time that you were passing by. This is the cruel hand of fate. I don’t mean that fate always has to bring bad results. Another case is when you are part of a stampede. If the crowd of scared souls is big there are 99% chances that you will be trampled on the ground, never to rise up to walk again.
Considering these two events, I don’t think any human being, no matter how powerful, could have prevented these events from happening. The son of a peasant rises up to become CEO or a President because he was destined to be one, no matter the activities he does in between. I am made to believe that some events happen to us individually or as a group because they were meant to happen however much we follow the advice of the motivational speaker to chase our dreams.
I understand this is a debatable issue and I was just wondering if there is a force that charts our fates and force us into them. I have to conclude then that am 70% existentialist and 30% fatalist.


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