Sunday Observer Online


Sunday, 21 December 2014





Marriage Proposals
Government Gazette

The weapons of fate

Once you make a decision, the universe conspires to make it happen.” - Ralph Waldo Emerson - American essayist, lecturer, and poet.

Man, the result of a purposeless and materialistic process that did not have him in mind - for he was not planned - and to whom what is meant to be will always find a way of becoming; is the child of chance, coincidence, and luck.

Life is what happens to him while he is busy making other plans. Therefore, it is no use crying over spilled milk because all of the forces of the universe were bent on spilling it; since man had surrendered his hopes and dreams to the fateful limitations he had placed on his own life.

As the child of chance, his fate is nothing but the deeds committed in a prior state of existence. Fate may be uncontrollable, and destiny predictable; but the mystery of human destiny is that we are fated; yet, we have the freedom to fulfill or not fulfill our fate.

As a creature of free will, who is tempted into futility, the seeming futility of his actions does not absolve him from the failure to act and realise his fated destiny: A destiny that depends upon the nightmare of his choices; whereas, inhuman beings like the cockroach, realise the entire cycle without going astray, because they make no choices.

By choosing, one may seize fate by the throat; but the fact is, no one has free will until they are an adult; and by then, the choices made for them have already set them on a course that gives limited freedom in the choices they can make. How incredibly far our lives drift from where we knew with all certainty they would go; how little today resembles what yesterday thought it would look like. Fate: one could never anticipate it.

The test of the quality of a man is the way he meets his fate. The life of a human being is, stern and lonely. He has laboured hard, often amid depravation, to perfect his life.

He has turned aside from quick success to strip his vision of everything secondary or cheapening. His working life is, marked by intense application and intense discipline.

In a world organised and governed such as ours, where mankind is in a race to master the sky and the rain, the ocean and the tide, the far side of space and the inside of man’s mind, the real question is can we endure to fight fate? Does man have the nerve and the will? A rising tide may lift all boats; but in the case of man, only those who dare to fail greatly can ever achieve greatly. There is always inequity in Life.


Some men are killed unexpectedly, some men are wounded; some men never achieve greatness while some do, abilities not withstanding. It is very hard in the personal life to assure complete equality. Life is unfair. Some people are sick and others well.

If such be the weapons of fate, to battle and survive the perils of fate, man needs to invest in the spiritual confidence of humane kindness: to consider and meet his obligations to the rest of humanity, including the numberless generations that will follow.

Only then can he fight the weapons of fate.

Without belittling the courage with which men have died fighting fate, we should not forget those acts of courage with which men have lived fighting fate. What really counts is not the immediate act of courage or of valour, but those who bear the struggle day in and day out - not the sunshine people, but those who are willing to endure the battle with fate for as long as their life lasts.

A man does what he must, to fight fate, in spite of personal consequences, in spite of obstacles and dangers and pressures; and that is the basis of all human morality.

Yet, can we say with some assurance that, although humans may be the victims of fate, they will not be the victims of human neglect, human immorality? The stories of past actions can teach, they can offer hope, they can provide inspiration; but they cannot supply action itself. For this, each man must look into his own self.

To fight the weapons of fate, man must think and act, not only for the moment but for all time. There is the example of the story of the great French Marshall Lyautey, who once asked his gardener to plant a tree.

The gardener objected that the tree was slow growing and would not reach maturity for a hundred years. The Marshall replied, ‘In that case, there is no time to lose, plant it this afternoon.”

In life, especially to fight the weapons of fate, we must act without wanting to reap and harvest returns. When I was young, I had to choose between the life of being and the life of doing; and I leapt at the latter like a trout to a fly.


To my deep great disappointment, I learnt that each deed I did; each action I took, each act of fate I fought, bound me to itself and to its consequences, and made me to act again and yet again. Very seldom did I come upon a space, between act and act, when I could stop and simply be and wonder who, after all, I am.

Thus, twenty years from now, we will be more disappointed by, the things that we did not do than by the ones we did do. So throw off the bowlines; sail away from the safe harbour; catch the trade winds in your sails; and explore; dream; discover.

Today every inhabitant of this planet must contemplate that day when this planet may no longer be habitable. Every man, woman and child lives under the sword of Damocles, hanging by the slenderest of threads, capable of being cut at any moment by accident or miscalculation or madness.

The weapons of fate cannot be, abolished; they abolish us. It is a lesson well worth for the worthless man to remember: We are not here to curse the darkness, but to light a candle that can guide us through that darkness to a safe and sane future. For the world is changing.

The old era is ending. The old ways will not do. Dante once said that the hottest places in hell are, reserved for those who in a period of moral crises maintain their neutrality.

Hence, do not be afraid to act; our fate cannot be taken from us; it is a gift and it is in your moments of decision that your destiny is shaped. “In any moment of decision, the best thing you can do is the right thing, the next best thing is the wrong thing, and the worst thing you can do is nothing.” - Theodore Roosevelt, an American politician, author, naturalist, soldier, explorer, and historian who served as the 26th President of the United States.


The enigmatic influence of fate, fortune, and the heavens on the lives of human beings forms a compelling theme that decreed the power of the stars to dictate the fate of mortals.

They have featured prominently in the diverse works of all great authors: from Plutarch, Seneca, Ptolemy, Shakespeare, and up to the modern era - in comedy, tragedy, or history.

From medieval morality to current morality, fate has dictated the capricious and fleeting rewards of material existence: to rise and fall in conjunction with the unpredictable forces of chance, coincidence, and occasion; sometimes interpreted quite simply as divine providence, or more problematically in the context of human free will.

Set to test the virtue of those seeking favour of fickle faith, is that all there is to fate; or do the inscrutable forces of fortune, justice, and cupid, also contribute to the whims of fate?

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