“It lies not in our power to love, or hate. For will in us is over-rul’d by fate.”
Have you ever done something or met someone who you realise is very bad for you, but you go against your notions of good sense because you know that no self suppression is going to save you? Allow me to digress.
I often say, when asked what I believe in, that I believe in everything. It is paradoxically true and untrue. But ever one to suspend opinion on any matter I find myself quite able to believe in contradictions. However, I hate to believe in fate.
When something goes awry and that dim-witted person drags out the exclamation, “that’s Karma for you!”, not only do I shudder at the western society’s limited conception of Karma, but it sticks in my craw that some thing should be governing my actions, so much as to be striving against me. Whether that be, luck, fate, the world, or deities both benevolent and malign. Have I missed any out?
I strongly believe we make our own way in this world, we govern our fate through our choices and gods, the fates and likewise have very little interest in anything so insignificant as us. That being said I have not had the best of lives. Most of it has been a story of pain, loss and unfulfillment; it could be called tragic if tragedy did not presuppose a state of success or prosperity from which to rapidly descend. But I don’t intend to dwell on that, I only mention it in contrast to the firm conviction which I have that, against all odds, we govern our lives as autonomous individuals.
We don’t have bad days. We have bad moments which we allow to condemn us or not. It is our choice. There are things outside of our control, yes. The person that walks across the street and is mowed down by a bus, is not fated to do so but the circumstances have fallen in such a way that the bus driver did not look up at such and such a time and…woops. Could that be called fate in itself? We are then dabbing our toes in chaos theory and that is already muddy water, one which is now generally thought not to be the source of the river through which life flows.
We are then subject to the wills and choices of others that construct the animation of life. Yet of our part, we too impress our will and set in motion that which will effect others and here we have power over our lives and there is no omnipotent force present.
Here is the rub. I will write further on my views on society’s impotence later. For now consider that perhaps, just maybe, I am making a desperate attempt to maintain some illusion of power in a society where one is rendered impotent?
We are powerless. To our country, our occupations, our gender, religion and all the institutions of society whether physical or subjective that manipulate our state of being and how we live. By recognising our impotence and the ways in which we try to assert ourselves against it, usually in aggression and over dominance i.e. sexism, racism, ignorance, xenophobia, displays of violence etc. We can opt out of the irrepressible fate of impotence.
Back to my original point and the quote by Marlow which says more in a few words than I have been able to elucidate by rambling. There is someone in my life who I know is the worst thing that can happen to me and my peace of mind. I am powerless against them and all will fall apart. I shall be a beggar on the street by winter. This is not a new problem. A problem that has pursued me for years and for years I have dodged it, like a tag game with fate, my force of will against destiny. This is nothing new and few greater expressions of it can be found other than Wilde’s Salome, the daughter of the king who in being the object of his desire brought about the death of the prophet John. Wilde intimately understood the good of a bad thing if his relationship to Lord Alfred Douglas is anything to go by.
I am reminded of an old folk song:
“You can run home for a long time,
Run on for a long time,
You can run home for a long time,
But sooner or later God’ll cut you down.”