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Fate is what Heaven imparts.

DAGOBERT D. RUNES, The Dictionary of Philosophy

If you please to plant yourself on the side of Fate, and say, Fate is all; then we say, a part of Fate is the freedom of man. Forever wells up the impulse of choosing and acting in the soul. Intellect annuls Fate.

RALPH WALDO EMERSON, The Conduct of Life

In this world whatever is gained is gained only by self-effort; where failure is encountered, it is seen that there has been slackness in effort. This is obvious, but what is called fate is fictitious, and is not seen. Self-effort, Rama, is that mental, verbal and physical action which is in accordance with the instructions of a holy person well-versed in the scriptures. It is only by such effort that Indra became king of heaven, that Brahma became the creator, and the other deities earned their place. Self-effort is of two categories: that of past births and that of this birth. The latter effectively counteracts the former. Fate is none other than self-effort of a past incarnation. There is constant conflict between these two in this incarnation; and that which is more powerful triumphs.

VANKATESANANDA, The Concise Yogi Vasistha

They may well fear fate who have any infirmity of habit or aim: but he who rests on what is has a destiny beyond destiny, and can make mouths of fortune.

ORISON SWETT MARDEN, Architects of Fate

Fate is a misplaced retreat. Many people rationalize an unexplained event as fate and shrug their shoulders when it occurs. But that is not what fate is. The world operates as a series of circles that are invisible, for they extend to the upper air. Fate is where these circles cut to earth. Since we cannot see them, do not know their content, and have no sense of their width, it is impossible to predict when these cuts will slice into our reality. When this happens, we call it fate. Fate is not a chance event but one that is inevitable, we are simply blind to its nature and time.

JAMES LEVINE, The Blue Notebook

The element running through entire nature, which we popularly call Fate, is known to us as limitation. Whatever limits us, we call Fate. If we are brute and barbarous, the fate takes a brute and dreadful shape. As we refine, our checks become finer. If we rise to spiritual culture, the antagonism takes a spiritual form. In the Hindu fables, Vishnu follows Maya through all her ascending changes, from insect and crawfish up to elephant; whatever form she took, he took the male form of that kind, until she became at last woman and goddess, and he a man and a god. The limitations refine as the soul purifies, but the ring of necessity is always perched at the top.

RALPH WALDO EMERSON, The Conduct of Life

Fate is the all-round determinateness of a person's existence that necessarily predetermines all the events of that person's life; hence, life is merely the actualization (and fulfillment) of what was inherent from the very outset in the determinateness of the person's existence. From within himself, the person builds up his life (thinks, feels, acts) in accordance with particular goals, by actualizing various forms of that which has validity with respect to meaning and objects, upon which his life is directed: he acts in a particular way because he feels he ought to act that way, considers it proper, necessary, desirable to act that way, wants to act that way, etc. And yet, in reality, he merely actualizes the necessity inherent in his own fate, the determinateness of his own existence, his own countenance in being. Fate is the artistic transcription of the trace in being which is left by a life that is regulated from within itself by purpose; it is the artistic expression of the deposit in being laid down by a life that is understood or interpreted totally from within itself.


The realm of fate is self-limited, and from every part the decree has gone forth that the realm of freedom shall not be invaded. Fate is one unit, freedom another unit. And there is nothing in the one element of nature that is in the other. There is a line, on the one side of which all is fate and on the other freedom, and neither can trespass upon the territory of the other. Man may utilize both for his good and for the glory of God.

H. H. MOORE, Methodist Review, vol. 73

Thus we trace Fate, in matter, mind, and mortals--in race, in retardations of strata, and in thought and character as well. It is everywhere bound or limitation. But Fate has its lord; limitation its limits; is different seen from above and from below; from within and from without. For, though Fate is immense, so is power, which is the other fact in the dual world, immense. If Fate follows and limits power, power attends and antagonizes Fate. We must respect Fate as natural history, but there is more than natural history. For who and what is this criticism that pries into the matter? Man is not order of nature, sack and sack, belly and members, link in a chain, nor any ignominous baggage, but a stupendous antagonism, a dragging together of the poles of the Universe.

RALPH WALDO EMERSON, The Conduct of Life

Fate is the union of the moment with eternity.

KEIJI NISHITANI, The Self-Overcoming of Nihilism

Fate remains a confrontation with that which cannot be explained in any other way. It is a part of the very meaning of fate that it is incomprehensible, but this curiously does not mean that all who accept fate are irrational. Whatever is experienced is contingent, and insofar as it is contingent it is not necessary; and not being necessary it is not a product of pure reason. But no one would say that what is contingent is irrational. It might be said to be nonrational, meaning it is not known necessarily; but the term "irrational" is usually reserved for that which directly contradicts itself, like an odd number wholly divisible by two, or a married bachelor. Fate is troubling and perhaps even nonrational, but it is certainly not irrational.

MICHAEL GELVEN, Truth and Existence

He who has to explain fate must be just as ambiguous as fate is.

SOREN KIERKEGAARD, The Living Thoughts of Kierkegaard

The catch-22 is either everything is based on fate or nothing is.

RHONDA BRITTEN, Change Your Life in 30 Days

That which, to him whose will is not developed, is fate, is, to him who has a well-fashioned will, power.

JOHN CONOLLY, The Westminster Review, Jan. 1865

In a curious sense, we all must admit that our fate is indeed a part of our existence. Whether we like it or not, we are beings who do not control all, or even most, of what goes on to make us who we are. So, on the one hand, if we appeal to fate as some kind of explanatory force we are grossly mistaken about how concepts explain; but if we deny that our fate is indeed an essential part of who we are, we are likewise grossly mistaken, and existentially beguiled.

MICHAEL GELVEN, Truth and Existence

Every jet of chaos which threatens to exterminate us, is convertible by intellect into wholesome force. Fate is unpenetrated causes. The water drowns ship and sailor, like grain of dust. But learn to swim, trim your bark, and the wave which drowned it, will be cloven by it, and carry it, like its own foam, a plume and a power.

RALPH WALDO EMERSON, The Conduct of Life

One who says "Fate is directing me to do this" is brainless, and the goddess of fortune abandons him.

VANKATESANANDA, The Concise Yogi Vasistha

All we can control in life is our own choices, how we choose to live and deal with what life has to offer. Everything else is fate.

MARK PURYEAR, The Nature of Asatru

Fate ... is a name for facts not yet passed under the fire of thought--for causes which are unpenetrated.

RALPH WALDO EMERSON, The Conduct of Life

Fate or divine dispensation is merely a convention which has come to be regarded as truth by being repeatedly declared to be true. If this god or fate is truly the ordainer of everything in this world, of what meaning is any action (even like bathing, speaking or giving), and whom should one teach at all? No. In this world, except a corpse, everything is active and such activity yields its appropriate result.

VANKATESANANDA, The Concise Yogi Vasistha

The youth should be taught that he alone is great, who, by a life heroic, conquers fate; that diligence is the mother of good luck; that, nine times out of ten, what we call luck or fate is but a mere bugbear of the indolent, the languid, the purposeless, the careless, the indifferent; that the man who fails, as a rule, does not see or seize his opportunity.

ORISON SWETT MARDEN, Architects of Fate


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