If You Don’t Know Where You Are Going, You’ll End Up Someplace Else

Get comfortable, this could be a long one.  Ok, maybe not the most encouraging thing for readers to see when they want something light and fluffy to start their day.  This is not a fluff piece. 

I’ve been trying to write a piece on destiny for a little over a week.  The creative process has taken a back seat on this one, and I’ve been left with conflicted feelings and hesitation.  That is never a good sign for me.  I’ve found that when I think too much, it’s not pretty. 

So I’ve decided to simply print what I have written thus far, in raw, unedited form, and then go from there.  It will either spark outrage discussion or be completely dismissed.  I’m prepared for both.  Here we go;

Part I

Forgive me if I ramble just a little, my mind is in a quagmire.  Like a chicken or the egg type of question about life and fate.  I know, I know…here I go again.

Let me explain.

I was watching television last week and came across the Matt Damon movie “Rounders” while fulfilling my man duty of flipping the channels during commercials.  It had been a long while since I’d seen the movie, and stopped in for a look.  It didn’t matter that the movie was two thirds of the way through.

I was struck by one of those moments when you think you were supposed to see something as it happened.  As I watched, the scene quickly turned to Matt Damon’s character approaching his law school professor and mentor, played by Martin Landau, in a quiet bar.  Damon’s character had been neglecting his schoolwork in order to play in high stakes poker games, and had gone to the bar to apologize to his mentor whom he respected.

Landau’s character tells a story of his youth, and how he was lauded in his Jewish community as being a rabbinical prodigy, and that his parent’s really wanted him to choose religious teaching as a profession.  He did not feel it was his path, and chose law instead.  Though, as Damon’s character points out, law was an honorable profession, the mentor’s parents didn’t see it that way.  They refused to talk with him the remainder of their lives.

Landau’s character sums up his story by saying;

“We can’t run from who we are.  Our destiny chooses us.”

I got all warm and fuzzy inside.  As humans, we tend to self doubt.  But who can blame us really?  We see pain and struggle at every turn, and sometimes our choices, no matter how noble, hurt the ones we love most.  I needed to hear this quote.  I needed the boost, the wise advice to keep me going.  I can’t run from being a writer.  I can’t run from being someone who tells stories.  I feel compelled to do it.  It chose me.  Though it was just a movie, the timing of my seeing that particular moment seemed destined.

Or was it?

What is destiny?  Are we really fated or destined to be certain people?  This morning when I sat down at my desk to write I was flooded with questions.  My desire to talk about destiny was filled with doubt.  There are some pretty strong feelings about fate and destiny.

Darth Vader felt that his son’s destiny was to stand beside him and rule the galaxy.  That didn’t happen.

Morpheus felt it was Neo’s destiny to be “The One” and to save mankind from the machines.  That DID happen.

I was apparently destined to use science fiction films to discuss the existential question of whether or not our lives are predetermined…

I read this first part yesterday and couldn’t expand on the discussion.  I felt so strongly about it the day I’d seen the movie, but I may have waited too long to write about it.  Either way, you may notice the Star Wars and The Matrix references at the end.  If nothing else, this post inspired me to write the absolutely ridiculous post yesterday HERE.

Now on to another day I couldn’t pull it together…

Part II

So as is often the case, I begin writing something to share with you and then I shelve it.  I can tell the moment isn’t right to release my ramblings onto the world.  I’ve been holding onto the above for a little over a week.

In re-reading it this morning, I still feel every word is true.  Funny, too, that I started this whole line of thought with a Matt Damon movie.  I finally saw “The Adjustment Bureau” on Saturday.  It is a movie that deals heavily in destiny and fate, for those of you who haven’t seen it.  I’m going to discuss the end…so here is the required SPOILER ALERT in all caps.  You’ve been warned.

As entertainment, I felt the movie lacked a punch.  As a thought provoking concept, I though the movie lacked a punch.  But still, I think the movie was both entertaining and thought provoking to some degree.  And I thought Emily Blunt was captivating, but that’s a whole other post entirely….

The end kind of killed it for me.  It summed up the entire movie by saying it was a test, and by having conviction in the love of your life you can change and control your destiny.  It killed it for me because I didn’t think it was DRAMATIC ENOUGH.

I agree that things happen for a reason.  I look back on my experiences and know in my heart they have made me who I am.  I am reading a book right now by Nick Vujicic, a man born with no arms and no legs, and the first chapter of his book he talks about his destiny.  Things happen for a reason.

So the quagmire begins.  Do we have free will?  Are we simply at the mercy of a predetermined plan for our lives?  Are the choices we make not really choices?

Let’s explore Darth Vader a little further.  If you’ve seen all six movies, you know his history.  He was told from a very early age that he was special.  He could fly those racing machines around the desert really fast, the only human to be able to do so because of his awesome reflexes.  I could do that too, by the way, because we shared the same haircut.  It’s all in the hair…

But I digress.

Sure, I’ll end a thought with “But I digress”, why not?  Can you tell I’ve been struggling with this thought?  My problem is that I don’t know the way to eloquently pose the question I really want to ask.  For me, it’s more than “Do you believe in destiny?”  I think the conversation is more involved than that.  But, as you can see, I’m over thinking it.  So then let me just ask…

Do you believe in DESTINY?  Why?

7 thoughts on “If You Don’t Know Where You Are Going, You’ll End Up Someplace Else”

  1. I do believe we each have our own destiny, that our life is guided by a higher power that is bigger than us each individually. That being said I also believe that our destiny may change depending on what choices we make. We do have free-will (imo), we aren’t just being twisted around by a puppet master. Just like the fate of one day falling upon a SMK facebook page that recommended Morton Design Works to be followed. I did and my life has been richer because of it. It’s like the movie “Fools Rush In”. We need to learn to read the signs. 🙂

    1. WOW…flattery makes me blush. Ha ha ha! Thanks Jodee. I’m glad you found me. I think I agree about being destined, and having control. It’s a strange dichotomy that maybe isn’t realistic. But it feels right, so I’ll stick with it for the moment. About signs, however…

      I think signs are a funny thing. I have a picture that I will share with everyone on Facebook that talks about flipping a coin. In my opinion, it is a lot like seeing a sign. We tend to see what we want to see when it comes to signs. Some signs, anyway. My wife was taking me to the airport before a trip years ago, and on the way we got a flat tire. We pulled to the side of the freeway, and I changed the tire. The entire time I was wondering if it was a sign I shouldn’t get on the plane. I did, and nothing bad happened the rest of the trip. A good friend of mine is afraid to fly. Had that happened to her, she would NOT have gotten on the plane. The difference is that she might be LOOKING for a reason (or a sign) not to get on the plane. I’m not afraid to fly, and therefore wasn’t looking for a sign (not that the thought still didn’t cross my mind). Anyway…that’s my two cents on signs. 🙂

  2. Great question, Greg. I strongly believe that things happen for a “reason”. I also think we are “led” to certain people, places & events in our lives. I do believe in destiny, but I also believe in choices & free will. So, how does BOTH grab you??? I think some things are destined to be, but other things we choose for ourselves maybe even ignoring destiny. Am I making any sense here??? Hope this helps & gives you some pause for thought.

    1. It certainly helps! One thing I’ve said for YEARS is that there are forces at work we simply don’t understand. Whether those forces are caused by a higher being or simply because “they are” is insignificant. The fact remains that we don’t understand them.

      In my opinion, instead of making something up we aren’t able to prove, why not simply accept we don’t understand it and stay positive about it? I think destiny AND free will fall into this category. Certain people feel destined. I’m one of them. But I also feel strongly about free will. In theory, it shouldn’t work, and I can’t explain why I think it does work. I can only say that it does. Until I have an answer, I’m just going to remain positive and know one day I’ll learn why it works.

      Thanks for your input, Dava. Always…

  3. WOW ! 😀 I’m in that ‘can’t concentrate on writing and getting no where zone’ (or should I say ‘zone out’) today so this is a little heavy duty at the moment. 😉 But very interesting and I’ll have to mark this one to return to. One thing for certain tho … I do NOT believe that things happen for a reason and this particular platitude drives me crazy! Although I do agree with you that there are certain forces at work that we don’t understand. But… I’ll get back to you when my mind is a tad more focused 😉
    Just remember when it comes to this struggle of understanding destiny, that even Jesus fasted for 40 days and Buddha sat under that tree for just as long trying to figure it all out, so I’d say give yourself a break and so far so good. 😉
    PS I have a tire story vs destiny for you !!! And I started thinking about it before I even got to the part about the tire. 😀 WHOA!!! 😉

    1. Ha ha ha…Okay, gimme the tire story ~

      Oh, and by the way, I had to look up “platitude”. Just because I’m a writer doesn’t mean I have a huge vocabulary. 😉 Thanks for your different point of view, I like it!! Variety is the spice of life, I say.

      Hope all is well in your life!!! Be good, have a great holiday…

      1. 🙂 At least I cause you to look up a typo this time 😀
        Thank you!!! You have a great holiday too! 😉

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s