Which is the most powerful force in human affairs: a. human reason; b. fate; c. God?  In other words which of these three is, ultimately, the most fundamental driving force in our lives? Why?

Expert Answers
enotechris eNotes educator| Certified Educator

"Radix malorum est cupiditas." For those who didn't have the benefit of suffering through Latin, "The root of evil is cupidity," or more poorly and incorrectly translated, "Money is the root of all evil."  Money has nothing to do with it.  Greed is the root of all evil. Humans are opportunistic, and that's neither good nor bad.  An opportunity can have good or bad results; it depends on the intention.  Certainly what has occured economically was driven by greed, but rather than faulting some businesses with lax morals, where was government and Rule of Law to prevent such actions in the first place?  It's not the economic system's fault.  It's the fault of those who saw an opportunity at other's expense, and those who failed to legally stop them when they should have.  I wonder if the quote should be updated to "the root of all evil is poor government."

Abraham Maslow's (1908-1970) scale of human needs, in order, (air, water, food, shelter, sleep and sex) are imperative to survival and therefore the items that drive human behavior. See an analysis of more of the refined drives (beauty, love, etc) at http://www.improverse.com/ed-articles/linda_magallon_2002feb_maslow_map_2.htm

mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Judging from the state of our nation at present, the answer is (d) none of the above.  At the risk of sounding cynical, it seems the powerful driving force of many people has been an ancient one:  Greed. 

Shakespeare wrote about this evil many, many times.  It is the nemesis of certain people in the Old Testament and it may be their nemesis in the modern world.  Greed, the desire for wealth and its accompanying power, that often supercedes reason, drove Napoleon to defeat in his desire to attain an empire to surpass that of England. Greed has driven many to become dictators of governments (e.g. Sadaam Hussain) as well as of companies.  The UAW and CEOs and their greed have led to the state of General Motors today as did the greed of CEOs for Enron.  Greedy bankers forewent consequences to the home loan deals in the nineties. And so on....

On the other hand, there have been more people killed in the name of religion than in any other war, so perhaps misguided faith is the most powerful force in human affairs.


timbrady eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I would say human reason, but it's not that simple.  In some ways I've had to say God, because that's where human reason comes from.  I do not believe that God directly manipulates anything that happens to us.  What He did was give us the ability to make decisions so that we can "complete" the world that He created.  I don't think we always do all that well at it, but I do think it's the reason that we have been given intelligence and other "lower" animals were not.

I do not believe in "fate" as an active force, although I do know that some things happen because of confluence of forces; but I do not believe that there is consciousness behind this.

Of course, this leaves open the whole problem of evil, but that's a bit much for this question :)


dbello eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Unfortunately it depends upon the person. The Good Lord has bestowed upon humanity 'free will' and although a sacred gift, it has too often been misinterpreted and misused by humanity. Free Will is a source of power that is very difficult to monitor...all one has to do is look at the state of the United States to see that 'greed' reigned supreme in 2007-08. However, my hope is that humanity will side with reason...which will reel in 'free will' and maybe 'fate' will be on our side.

litteacher8 eNotes educator| Certified Educator
Human reason is the most powerful force in human affairs because no matter what God or fate brings us, we still use reason in our response. Human beings have free will, meaning we make our own choices. There is no plan for every second of every day, and while we may believe in fate or God, we still have choices to make.
dbello eNotes educator| Certified Educator

d. The human instinct to survive and reproduce.

If I am the 'd'. in your post... I agree...those forces are as powerful.....

atyourservice | Student

It depends on a person but i will go with human reason because if a person doesn't believe in fate or god then they mean absolutely nothing to that person.

krishna-agrawala | Student

I have no definite or confirmed knowledge about existence of God, but if God exists and is anything like what it is supposed to be as per ancient Indian philosophy, or other great religious leaders like Christ, there can be no doubt about God being the primary, fundamental and the greatest driving force. However, my knowledge in matters relating to God is too limited, So, I will limit my discussion to comparison of other two driving forces - human reason and fate. Actually it will be better to expand the scope of fist factor to include all types of physical capabilities and efforts. I will refer to all these factors taken together as efforts. So we are comparing the importance effort versus fate.

One thing is very clear, effort and faith both play a part in achieving desired goal or success in affairs of men. The only questions we need to examine is what is the relationship between effort, fate and success.

I see two possible types of relationship between the three as represented by two alternate equation given below:

Equation I:  Success = (Result of effort) + (Effect of fate)


Equation II: Success = (Result of effort) x (Result of fate)

= Result of (Effort x Fate)

I believe the second of the above two equation is closer to the reality than the first one.

The following are the conclusions we can draw from this equation:

  1. Effort and fate both are necessary for success. If either of the two is zero, the product of effort and fate, i.e. (Effort x fate), will also be zero, and therefor result will also be zero.
  2. any change in either effort or fate will result in proportionate change in the result. If either effort or fate are doubled, the result will be doubled also. If both effort and fate are doubled the result will increase four fold.

In a situation like this we can conclude that fate and effort are of equal importance.

Before I close my discussion, it will be worthwhile to find out that fate is something like statistics. When we say that quantity of fate is doubled we mean that probability of success or the expected value of result is doubled. Thus results in our above equations refer to the expected value of result rather than a definite and fixed quantity of actual results.



frizzyperm | Student

d. The human instinct to survive and reproduce.