Third Person, a middle-aged man wakes up one morning to find that the road he’s been traveling has ceased to be interesting. The turbulent hills and valleys have become flat. The hairpin turns and high-banked corners have given way to straight, dull, uninteresting highway. Trees, meadows, lakes, and streams are no longer noticed. The steady stream of yellow dashed lines is the only color in Mr. Person’s life. Third Person finds that speeding up life only makes the dashes melt together into one solid featureless line. Slowing down breaks up the lines, however, the hypnotic dashes prevent Mr. Person from seeing the world as once before. This morning, Mr. Person woke up to find two forks on the road. There was a left-hand fork and a right-hand fork. The gleaming silver of the fork shone bright in the sun. The yellow dashes from this dull roadway of life reflected in its polish. Inscribed in the handle of the left-hand fork are these words, “There is no reason to wait for a fork in the road, make one.” It was signed, “Mr. Destiny.” On the handle of the right-hand fork was an inscription that read, “No matter which fork is taken, the final destination remains the same.” This fork was signed, “Mrs. Fate.”
Understanding the meanings of destiny and fate helps to cope with the events of life. Mr. Destiny, through his inscription on the left-hand fork, implies that there is no need for someone to wait for a new path in order for one to change the course of life. Mrs. Fate, through her inscription on the right-hand fork, implies the notion that no matter what course of life a person takes, the destination will remain the same. Third Person, being of an open mind, begins to examine life through the words of Mr. Destiny and Mrs. Fate. Mr. Person realizes that destiny and fate are two different people.
Mr. Destiny affects the lives of people by influencing the decisions that are made and map the course of one’s life. These decisions can be constructive with serious regard for consequences or they may be impulsive with no regard for what may happen. Mr. Destiny changes the lives of people constantly. Through manipulation and coercion, decisions are made in the lives of people who are not aware that Mr. Destiny even exists. Those people who acknowledge the influences of Mr. Destiny will still make decisions.
The influences of Mrs. Fate, however, are quite different. Mrs. Fate is laid back, easy going, and has absolutely no bearing on the course of one’s life. Events in people’s lives will happen no matter what. They happen because Mrs. Fate says they will happen. Mrs. Fate decides what events of life will happen, how they will happen, and what time they will happen. There is no way to avoid Mrs. Fate. No matter how much Mr. Destiny may influence the course of one’s life, Mrs. Fate will not be denied. There are no forks in the road that will steer one away from fate.
Mr. Person will spend the next several years mapping the course of his life with the help of Mr. Destiny, knowing full well, that Mrs. Fate waits patiently. Throughout these years Mr. Person realizes there are many people living under the same presence of mind. Many groups, associations, and organizations have been formed for the purpose of learning more about destiny and fate. Many of them attempt to put tangible meaning to destiny and fate, such as the Kabalarian Society. It is the philosophy of this Canadian society that, “one’s mental characteristics, state of well-being, and experiences in life are shown to be determined by one’s name, which incorporates the specific forces of intelligence in the mind of the individual” (Kabalarian).
Destiny can be described as any point in one’s life based on decisions that are made. Similarly, fate can be described as any point in one’s life regardless of whether or not any decisions are made. There are forces that act on individuals at all times. Destiny is construed of conscious decisions made by man. Fate is considered to be handed down by a more powerful, supernatural force. Destiny is left in the hands of man. Fate is left in the hands of God. Mr. Destiny and Mrs. Fate influence all events in life. There is a misguided perception that fate is a result of destiny. Individuals have the ability to choose their own destiny; however, they can not choose their fate. Mrs. Fate is of a power far greater than man.
The events of an individual’s life are perceived in one of two ways, either destiny or fate. When Mr. Person examines an event in his life, responsibility for that event is given to either Mr. Destiny or Mrs. Fate. The main factor in assigning responsibility is the finality of the event. Mr. Destiny tends to leave people with a sense of continuation. In other words, the event is considered by the individual to be temporary and any consequences would be minor and temporary as well. Mrs. Fate, on the other hand, leaves individuals with a sense of termination. The event is final and has permanent consequences, which do not necessarily have to be negative in nature.
In some philosophical studies, it is mentioned that destiny and fate work together, much like in a marriage. Each compliments and affects the other. The Golden Age of American Philosophy, a compilation of works from noted philosophers, selected and edited by Charles Frankel, theorizes that, “The Life of Reason is the happy marriage of two elements – impulse and ideation – which if wholly divorced would reduce man to a brute or to a maniac. The rational animal is generated by the union of these two monsters. He is constituted by ideas which have ceased to be visionary and actions which have ceased to be vain” (287). It is apparent that the perception of the influences of an individual’s existence is quite broad. The focus of perception is based on a large number of factors, such as religion, culture, family, and education, to name just a few. These factors relate directly to the many facets of an individual’s existence.
Mr. Person’s existence contains hundreds of facets. Like the facets of a brilliant diamond, each contains a reflection of one tiny part of Mr. Person’s existence. Happiness, sorrow, love, confidence, family, children, friends, and co-workers are a few examples of the hundreds of facets that make up the existence of Third Person. The responsibility and influences of Mr. Destiny affects only a few of these facets. Some are affected directly and some are not. The indirect effects are normally a result of the consequences of the event, whether temporary or permanent. Mr. Destiny’s effects are limited to only a few facets of Third Person’s existence. Mrs. Fate, however, because of the sense of finality of the event and the permanence of the consequences, affects all of the facets of Third Person’s existence.
Third Person tolerates events in his life by understanding the forces that influence it. Through examining the events he assigns responsibility to either Mr. Destiny or Mrs. Fate. To examine the event, Mr. Person considers the finality of the event, the permanence of its consequences, and the number of facets of his existence that is affected, both directly and indirectly. To tolerate the event Mr. Person simply understands that his destiny can be consciously altered and is not and never will be, final. With that, Mr. Person also understands that there are forces that act upon his existence that are supernatural and without influence. This brings closure to the event, which allows Mr. Person to focus on the facets of his existence that he has the ability to change. Understanding the influences of Mr. Destiny and Mrs. Fate leaves individuals with a richer, happier, relaxed, and more tolerant existence.