Saturday, June 9, 2007

Amor Fati

I stumbled on Amor Fati when I was looking up ‘destiny’ ‘fate’ and reading about Calvinism and predestination.

This term loosely translates to “love of one’s fate” and is used to describe the attitude that one sees everything that happens (including suffering and loss) as a good thing. Overall, it is an acceptance of the events that occur in one’s life.

(Incidentally, Nietzsche often wrote about Amor Fati. I knew I never liked him).

Classic mythology says there are three goddesses dispensing fate, Moirae (Greek), Parcae (Roman) and Norns (Norse) – these three ladies were believed to determine the events of the world. Fate, simply defined, implies we mere humans have no choice, and generally ends in death (what a cheery lot our classics are). In this train of thought, fate is determined solely by the goddesses.

Destiny, on the other hand refers to a predetermined course of events, often perceived as a predetermined future, generally or individually. This concept is based on the belief that there IS a fixed order to our universe. However, in destiny, you get to actively participate in the outcome. You are not as much of a pawn as our classical mythology would have preferred you to be.

Of all of these, I have to say I like the destiny description the best. Nietzsche be damned. Trying to accept everything as a positive is just too damn hard. Fate, as defined here, is nowhere in my personal belief system. And yes, I’m staying out of the Calvinism, predestination, theological discussion on purpose.

Although, destiny leaves much more up to the individual, I’m still not in love with this idea.

I can admit that a couple of times in my life seemingly impossible things have suddenly clicked together like Legos. Major things. Do I then believe that because these major things worked out that they were meant to happen? That because I willfully participated and it was my destiny that the universe greased the wheels to make it happen for me? Does that then mean that when things are difficult and you have to fight for every inch of progress that it ISN’T your destiny and therefore, it’s hard because the universe is working against you, or at least not helping you?

My sister-friend Staci and I have joked many times that were “meant” to meet each other. When we both met Mandy, we again had that reaction. Separated by many miles and life experiences, there wasn’t much of an explanation for why we were all so suited to one another, we just were. I feel closer to these girls than people I have known for years, and spent far more time with. We are, in my mind, simply, connected.

Was it our destiny to meet?

What of people, relationships like these, which go horribly wrong?

I hear people using destiny and fate about positive things that happen in their life. But if I am killed driving to see one of these girls, and you’re a believer in either concept (fate or destiny) was that still my destiny? Or did it happen because I pursued a friendship that had simple geography been a limiting factor I would have been unable to attain, and therefore, worked against my destiny and I ‘got what I deserved’ by pursuing something outside what I ‘should’have.

Is destiny vindictive as well as benevolent?


Tracy Lynn said...

I think that that is an oversimplification. I believe that if you are doing things you are meant to do that the way often becomes easier; I also believe that if you are struggling, it is often because you are struggling against the reality of your situation, instead of trying to accept it and work with it.

Example: You are in a relationship that is bad, not fulfilling, in which you are unhappy, and yet you stay. Are you destined to be unhappy? Or are you refusing to believe that you must leave to be happy? Are you refusing to leave out of fear? Do you think that you can figure out a way to make it work? Or are you waiting for someone to 'rescue' you?

This is why I never say Why Me if I can avoid it. It is usually better to say Why Not Me.

roo said...

fuck destiny.
you decide what you want to be. who you want to be. how you want to be. bla-zay-skip.
everything happens for a reason. even the bad, bad, and horrible stuff. sometimes, it takes time to know why and sometimes its a tough lesson.
we found each other for a reason. no lie. but we had to decide what to do with that. which meant i schleped my ass down to WV. and brought D in case it was in fact one of those weirdo internet deals.
lucky for me it didn't turn out to be weird until staci asked for candles.
also. fuck that N guy.
and if you get waffled on your way to my house...there is a reason. dammit, it would prolly be that i need to adopt your dogs too. buckle up, huh?

kenju said...

I think destiny comes from a series of choices you make in your life. We may have certain opportunities and situations we are supposed to encounter in our lives (for whatever reason) and how we receive those situations (and our attitudes toward them) help to determine the course of the future.

This would be a good subject for HITABA to discuss.....LOL

rennratt said...

I don't have enough experience with Mythology or that N guy to make an informed decision.

When it comes to destiny, fate, or any of the religious factors noted, I am far from expert.

As former comedian Mike Warnke noted: "Say I take a plane to X - and it is not my time to die. I have a few concerns. Like, what if it's the PILOT'S time? Am I going to be offed in an untimely fashion because I took the wrong plane?"

That's pretty much my take. And my luck, for that matter.

tiff said...

Destiny can, I think, be vindictive as well as benevolent. Or is that fate?

Parsing out which is which and what control we have where each is concerned is horrifically confusing. Therefore, I subscribe to a philosophy much aakin to TL's - Why Not Me?

O' course it took me some 40 years to hop on that train, but here I am and it's marvelous.

tiff said...

I can't help but wonder why someone is looking up destiny and fate on the iternets in the first place. That's some heavy heavy material for a weekend's ramble.

Sigh. Big issues don't always wait around until normal business hours, I guess.

Anne said...

This is an interesting subject, and something I needed to read - especially Tracy Lynn's comments about changing a bad situation. I wonder if it's fate or something that I was here to read this at a time when it means a lot to me. Hmmm....

I think we are drawn to situations where we can learn and evolve, but a lot of it has to do with the spin we put on things, and the way we handle it.

Biff Spiffy said...

I was telling a counselor friend about my recent car wreck, and said that lots of people have interpretations of meaning for the outcome. He asked what mine was, and I said I didn't have one yet. He responded, 'yours is the only one that matters.'

I am NOT a fatalist, and only go along so far with 'things only have that meaning which we assign.' I was raised Calvinist, but free will is complete. So I believe there's a balance between personal choice and forces beyond our vision.

So what?

You have the keys and title to your life, to choose your direction at will. Circumstances are very flexible - rivers are dammed, mountains leveled, and relationships forged or destroyed by human action.

We tend to go in the direction we're looking. So, where are you looking?

Scottsdale Girl said...

Hello Cravey: thanks for stopping by my blog, thought I would return the favor.

Destiny and Fate are like "religion", you either believe in it or you don't. Either way? We all end up dead. :)

e.b. said...

Nice topic - I tend to think that it can be as vindictive as it is forgiving and benelvolent. That bad happens for the same reason as the good. The important part is keeping it all in mind and respecting the fates.