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Fate happens.


Fate is not what we decide or make our goal. It is what we are revealed to be in the working out of fate. We act in the dark. Everything we do has a significance that escapes us and overturns all our certainties.

STELIOS RAMPHOS, Fate and Ambiguity in Oedipus the King

Fate in the life of a people, as in the life of an individual, signifies an existence of compulsion. A strange necessity binds the particulars into one whole. The individual, against his will, is subjected and subjugated to the national, fate-laden, reality.


Fate comes by our own agency. It belongs to our underlying spiritual values, because it is unattainable without experience of the world, and therefore differs from one person to the next.

STELIOS RAMPHOS, Fate and Ambiguity in Oedipus the King

When I seek out the sources of my thoughts, I find they had their beginning in fragile Chance; were born of little moments that shine for me curiously in the past. Slight the impulse that made me take this turning at the crossroads, trivial and fortuitous the meeting, and light as gossamer the thread that first knit me to my friend. These are full of wonder; more mysterious are the moments that must have brushed me with their wings and passed me by: when Fate beckoned and I did not see it, when new Life trembled for a second on the threshold; but the word was not spoken, the hand was not held out, and the Might-have-been shivered and vanished, dim as a into the waste realms of non-existence.


Wonderful, wonderful, yet again the sword of fate severs the head from the hydra of chance.


Surely no man can reflect, without wonder, upon the vicissitudes of human life arising from causes in the highest degree accidental and trifling: if you trace the necessary concatenation of human events a very little way back, you may perhaps discover that a person's very going in, or out of a door, has been the means of coloring with misery or happiness the remaining current of his life.

FULKE GREVILLE, Maxims, Characters and Reflections

Fate shows a different face, the gulf between what we are and what we think we are.

STELIOS RAMPHOS, Fate and Ambiguity in Oedipus the King

Only the fool, fixed in his folly, may think
He can turn the wheel on which he turns.

T. S. ELIOT, Murder in the Cathedral

The planets are bells on his motley,
He fleers at the stars in their state,
He banters the suns burning hotly--
The Jester whose nickname is Fate.

ARTHUR GUITERMAN, "Fate, the Jester"

When we consider the incidents of former days, and perceive, while reviewing the long line of causes, how the most important events of our lives originated in the most trifling circumstances; how the beginning of our greatest happiness or greatest misery is to be attributed to a delay, to an accident, to a mistake; we learn a lesson of profound humility.

ARTHUR HELPS, Thoughts in the Cloister and the Crowd

Fate is an inherent disposition in things mobile, by which Providence binds things to that which It has ordained.

BOETHIUS, De Consolatione IV

People often think that their individual fate is everything. How wrong we are! It is enough to contemplate the invisible to know how much there is that is greater than fate. Yes, close your eyes, you will see what light renders invisible. You will see the little shadow in the shadow. You will see the signature from beyond. Listen to that fountain; don't you see every tiny drop of water sparkling in the dark? There is meaning.


But if fate, as a limit-determination, still seems more powerful than free will, there are two things we should not forget: first that fate is only an abstract concept, a force without matter; that for the individual there is only an individual fate, that fate is nothing else but a chain of events; that man, as soon as he acts, creates his own events, determines his own fate; that, in general, events, insofar as they affect him, are, consciously or unconsciously, brought about by himself and must suit him. The activity of man, however, does not first begin with birth. But already with the embryo and perhaps--who can be certain here--already with his parents and forefathers. All of you who believe in the immortality of the soul, unless you are willing to allow the development of the mortal out of something immortal or are willing to grant that the soul flies about in thin air until it is at last lodged in a body, must also believe in the pre-existence of the soul. The Hindu says: Fate is nothing but the acts we have committed in a prior state of our being.

FRIEDRICH NIETZSCHE, "Freedom of Will and Fate"

Thy fate is seeking thee,
Fear not! Fear not!
Nor hither, thither run, with puny strain
Of frenzied fingers on this closèd door,
Or that, to find her. Leave thy worse than vain
And feverish seeking; fret thy soul no more,
Nor vex the heavens with ineffectual cries;
Fate will adjust her perfect harmonies
And weave thee in. There is both time and space
For thy one little thread, it shall have place,
Though it be gold, or may be dull of hue,
Or silken smooth--whatever thou hast spun
Be sure in the great woof shall duly run.


For Providence is the very divine reason which arranges all things, and rests with the supreme disposer of all; while Fate is that ordering which is a part of all changeable things, and by means of which Providence binds all things together in their own order. Providence embraces all things equally, however different they may be, even however infinite: when they are assigned to their own places, forms, and times, Fate sets them in an orderly motion; so that this development of the temporal order, unified in the intelligence of the mind of God, is Providence. The working of this unified development in time is called Fate. These are different, but the one hangs upon the other. For this order, which is ruled by Fate, emanates from the directness of Providence. Just as when a craftsman perceives in his mind the form of the object he would make, he sets his working power in motion, and brings through the order of time that which he had seen directly and read present to his mind. So by Providence does God dispose all that is to be done, each thing by itself and unchangeably; while these same things which Providence has arranged are worked out by Fate in many ways and in time. Whether, therefore, Fate works by the aid of the divine spirits which serve Providence, or whether it works by the aid of the soul, or of all nature, or the motions of the stars in heaven, or the powers of the angels, or the manifold skill of other spirits, whether the course of Fate is bound together by any or all of these, one thing is certain, namely that Providence is the one unchangeable direct power which gives form to all things which are to come to pass, while Fate is the changing bond, the temporal order of those things which are arranged to come to pass by the direct disposition of God.

KAREN LOUISE JOLLY, Tradition & Diversity

Free will appears unfettered, deliberate; it is boundlessly free, wandering, the spirit. But fate is a necessity; unless we believe that world history is a dream-error, the unspeakable sorrows of mankind fantasies, and that we ourselves are but the toys of our fantasies. Fate is the boundless force of opposition against free will. Free will without fate is just as unthinkable as spirit without reality, good without evil. Only antithesis creates the quality.



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