By Jamal Laoudi
By Jamal Laoudi
Washington D.C. – We may find ourselves pondering concepts that may be bigger than us sometimes, only to find out that as a race, we have been grappling with them since day one.
Destiny comes to mind. It is an abstract concept with an aspect of phantasm that makes it very alluring. The notion that there is a hidden power that controls all future outcomes and nothing will prevent those outcomes from materializing is quite intriguing.
The goal here is not to embark on a journey trying to explore the concept of destiny, its relations to us, or how it has been viewed and perceived over time. The idea is to look at one of its popular applications at a specific place and moment in time.
In some cultures, there is a prevalent belief that any and everything that happens to us is predestined. You lose someone, predestined; you get into a car accident, predestined; you work hard and it pays off, predestined. In other words, “the individual is merely driftwood on the waves. It is ridiculous to fight against the relentless law of fate.”
On that basis, you could drive a car blindfolded and hurt someone in the process yet, since it is destiny, it would be wrong, offensive, and even immoral to hold you accountable.
You could have a vision to start a business, plan out for it, work hard, save money and gather resources, find investors, and finally set it up, and succeed. Well, your efforts really did not have much to do with the success, it was meant to be.
You could be deciding between buying model A vs. model B car, and upon arrival at the dealership, you happen to find a car in model A in your favorite color. The choice has, therefore, been made for you, thanks to destiny. Let’s shove the concept of “chance” aside.
What is interesting with this type of understanding is that it leaves absolutely no room for taking responsibility for action or credit for effort. Our lives have already been completely mapped out for us. That begs this question: What responsibilities do we bear for our actions? What about choices we make? None according to the aforementioned understanding.
Muslim scholar, Mabrouk Atiy, provides an interesting perspective almost void of religion. In a nutshell, he explains that there are two types of destinies:
- What we don’t control:
This is about things you simply have no control over as in the color of your hair and your eyes, your height, the day you were born, the place you would die, so on and so forth. And absolutely, these things we simply have no control over.
- What we can control and influence:
These are things you have a say on. Do you buy a red car or a blue car? When you take vacation, do you go to place A or place B? Do you befriend such a person or not?
In other words, it is a Choice!!
So why are we quick to lean on destiny and confuse it with choice? Choice is tough because it brings with it the burden of responsibility and accountability. Is it that our survival instinct dictates so?
George Michael was spot on when he said “to the heart and mind, ignorance is kind. There’s no comfort in the truth, pain is all you’ll find.”
Photo by Marwa Errai/MWN