What role does fate or chance play in one's life?What role does fate or chance play in determining one's action or future events, or do people alone determine their own destinies in life?

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pacorz eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I agree with #4 - Chance is just that, the random occurrences that surround us. Chance is the product of entropy, the natural tendency of the universe to move toward disorder. It's random, and it's a major player in everyone's life. How you handle the various things that chance throws at you is, of course, a matter of choice. Also, you can sometimes nudge the odds of a chance occurrence; for instance, if you never buy a lottery ticket, then it is not possible for you to win the lottery. If you buy a ticket, then there is a chance that you might.

Fate is externally controlled; it is the things that happen because some power or intelligence intended them to. Not everyone believes in fate, for a variety of reasons. Atheists generally don't believe in fate, because they don't believe in the existence of a high power to control it. Additionally, if your life is fated to be a certain way, then does that mean that you do not have free will?

rrteacher eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Certainly chance plays a role in our lives, in that events have consequences that we cannot possibly foresee--sometimes good, sometimes bad. My children might not have been born, for example, if I hadn't chosen, rather on a whim, to respond to a classified ad for a job in a town hundreds of miles away where I eventually met my wife. Some might argue that it was fated, but that doesn't exactly fit with my worldview, and in any case, cannot be demonstrated--it is, as others have said, a matter of faith. I do think that it can be pretty overwhelming to contemplate the often mundane choices that lead to major changes in our lives.

Kristen Lentz eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Ah, this is the sort of question that inspired some of Shakespeare's best plays.  I think it all comes down to your personal beliefs--do you believe in a higher power, and if you do, what role to they play in your everyday existence?  John Locke ascribed to the theory of the 'intelligent clock maker;' that the Creator put everything into place in the world, wound it up, and then stood back to watch it go.  While I personally do not agree with this idea, it is definitely interesting to contemplate.

trophyhunter1 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I believe that choices we make affect the course of our lives and those we touch. However, chance or fate have a role too. If you decide to take a drive one day and at a specific time and place, another car stops short, that is your choice interacting with chance. Therefore, it is a little of both. That was kind of the theme of the movie Forrest Gump. Life is definitely what you choose to do with it and sometimes, little things occur along the way, good or bad that influence your choices.

literaturenerd eNotes educator| Certified Educator

While I have to agree with some of the other posters (regarding an individual's idea about fate and chance), I myself believe that every choice one makes in life contributes to a person's future. I guess that it comes from the idea that every choice I have made in the past has lead me to where I am today.

That said, ultimately, I think that fate and chance only play a role in one's life if they believe in fate and chance.

shake99 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Fate and chance are two different things. Chance is just something that happens for reasons that no one can control. I think there is a lot of that in life. Fate, on the other hand, is something determined by a higher power beyond the control of the person affected by it. I tend to believe less in that, although God is certainly capable of working things that way if he wishes.

pohnpei397 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Fate or chance plays a huge role in our lives.  When I picked what college I would go to, it (along with her choice) meant that my wife and I could meet.  This is the purest chance since we grew up thousands of miles apart and never would have met had it not been for these choices.  So many things happen just out of luck that we cannot deny the role of chance in our lives.

e-martin eNotes educator| Certified Educator

For my own life, chance has played a signficant role in my relationships and in my location. I could not have planned to meet the people I have met who have become very important to me and to my life's course. 

Can I say definitively that these meetings were not fated? I suppose not. I can only say that there was no planning involved on my part.

litteacher8 eNotes educator| Certified Educator
This is partly a matter of religious belief and partly a matter of personal philosophy. However, most religions believe in free will to a certain extent. There are coincidences and chance that ae going to affect our lives, regardless of what we believe. No one power could control everything that happens.
caglatekeli | Student

too many things can be said but personally,

i gave up relating things to fate and got a healtier way to believe: now i think everything that happened to me was my fault or my success - my choice

Eg (for actions): if a car hits someone, it can be said that s/he chosed that way to go, s/he didnt cchoose 'other ways' or  'staying at home'

Eg (for emotion): if someone made me sad, i think what makes me sad is not what that person did to me,  the way that i believe/see/think made me sad OR i let that person to make me sad.