Fate, then, is a name for facts not yet passed under the fire of thought; for causes which are unpenetrated.
Ralph Waldo Emerson – “Fate,” The Conduct of Life (1860).
Life is what makes existence possible. Fate is what gives direction to life. Wisdom is what gives life meaning. Intelligence is what makes the gathering of wisdom efficient.
Admiral Nano of Omicron IV – Admiral Nano’s Journal
Cowboy Bill and Fisherman Peter cleaned up the remains of the eaten bass, mostly bones and heads. They dumped them into the lake to which a small river flowed. In that river had been good fishing, but now the meal of bass was done and they were happy. It was mid afternoon and the shade under trees was a cool respite from the warm sun and glare. Nearby the small cook fire still burned, lowly now towards embers, the smell of smoke pleasant and keeping insects at bay. Nano had enjoyed the fish. It was not something he’d eaten before and it had been tasty, though the two friends with him said with butter and pepper it would have been better.
Not through with the conversation that had been taking place before the bass munching had started, Cowboy Bill restarted it, having used the meal as time to think. “Nano, I’ve been thinking about what you said about Life and Fate being two forces in the universe and how they are needed for anything else to exist. It’s a big topic. I’d have to think about it a long time to make as much sense of it as you seem to think it has. But let me ask you a few questions about it now.”
Fisherman Peter listened as Cowboy prepared his questions. He was satisfied to let Cowboy take the lead for a bit. He picked up a small thin stick and lighting the end of it, got a cigarette started then handed the stick to Cowboy, who just held it for the time being.
“First, if Fate is a force that guides Life, well, why does Life need Fate to do that? What is Fate actually doing that’s important to us or Life? How do we know how Fate affects us?” Cowboy scratched his chin thoughtfully.
Nano responded. “Let me first restate better some important relationships between several things that philosophers have debated for all history. Life is what makes existence possible. Fate is what gives direction to Life. Wisdom is what gives Life meaning. Intelligence is what makes the gathering of wisdom efficient.”
He waited a bit, then continued, “Look out at the lake. On a still day it’s like glass, quiet and unmoving. A great body of potential energy with no where to go and nothing to accomplish. It fills the bowl and depressions it is in uniformly in that there are no places it can go that it hasn’t. There are no holes, gaps, voids or empty places within the water of the lake. It is all encompassing, filling everything it can reach like air fills valleys and mountain passes. Life is like the water of the lake, it fills the reality of this universe uniformly and completely, leaving no voids or empty places. It is omnipresent. It is there to be used, a basic building block of reality and existence, but it cannot by itself do anything. It is a patient force without direction. So, in answer to your first question about ‘why does Life need Fate to do that’, Life needs Fate the same way potential energy needs kinetic energy. Life needs an impetus to be useful.”
“Fate is what Life needs for direction, the impetus. Fate can be likened to a kinetic force. It’s not kinetic, but for our example of water, think of Fate having a kinetic energy. Fate gives Life a movement. Also, when Fate is added to Life, the direction Fate gives Life makes the two of them stronger than the sum of the parts. Without Life, Fate has nothing to work with. Without Fate, Life is unmoving and still, not able to provide for the accomplishment of Life. And what is Life for? The point of Life is gaining wisdom. Wisdom is what Life is for. Wisdom gives Life meaning. Wisdom requires Intelligence and Experience, but I’m leaving experience out for now. Intelligence accelerates the acquisition of Wisdom. Intelligence is not wisdom nor does it guarantee Wisdom. Intelligence is merely a very good way to gain wisdom quicker than having less Intelligence. The uneducated can gain Wisdom, but on the whole, more slowly. Intelligence is like a tool to pry open a clam and look inside for a pearl. You can use brute force to gain a pearl, but with a good tool you’d do so faster. The greater the intelligence, especially if you are open-minded and have good imagination, the faster you tend to gain wisdom from your experiences.”
“So, now reconsider the lake and watch this carefully.” Nano picked up a small stone and with a heave launched it out past the shore where it fell into the water with a splash. He turned to Fisherman who needed an introduction to this conversation and ask, “What did you see Fisherman?”
A philosophical question, so Fisherman paused for a few moments, then said, “I see a sudden splash, then ripples going out from there in larger and larger circles until they hit the shore. I heard a sound also and some birds reacted to it all. You probably scared a few bass too we didn’t see.” He smiled at Nano who grinned and laughed. There was always time for the humor of a friend in a conversation, though tangents could spring from them and divert focus from a subject.
“You saw well” said Nano. “Now, the lake is Life, quiet, deep and still, till Fate, the stone, entered into it. At that point you heard the forces reacting and saw semi-intelligent birds make a decision based on wisdom, intelligence and past experiences that have become instinct. Cowboy?”
“Well, if Fate gives direction to Life, the stone gave the surface of the water direction by spreading it away from the impact in a pattern of ripples.”
“Correct” agreed Nano. “Now I present this idea of Fate and Life working together for the two of you to think about. It’s up to each of you what you do with it, how much time you spend thinking about it. An old saying suggests that the more important something is, the more work it takes to get it. Or if something comes easy, there is less value in it than something that takes longer to achieve.”
Nano watched as Cowboy lighted his own cigarette with the almost forgotten brand he received from Fisherman. Nano summarized a bit now.
“So, the water of the lake is Life, which moves thanks to the force and impetus of Fate, the stone. Fate gave Life a pattern of directions that Life needed, sending ripples outwards. Life went from potential energy to kinetic energy, sending ripples out into the reality it occupies. Those chaotic first moments of the event became organized. They distributed themselves over a much large area than the initial area. They changed the reality of the lake. That event and the forces working together can be the start of other events, like intelligent species. As an intelligent species, you have had the experience of observing this event. Combining your experience of it with intelligence and previous wisdom, plus some imagination, you have a chance to become wiser. That is the the point of Life, to learn, to grow, to become wiser. The status quo, the unchanging mind, the lack of a habitually introspective and questioning mind will not progress a person or a species. Evolution does not abide that which stands still and changes not. Such species arrive at extinction. Successful existence requires change, some physical, but mostly mental. Mental evolution drives physical evolution. It all starts with the basic building blocks, Fate and Life. Without them nothing is possible.
“I get it” said Fisherman. “That’s a lot to think about, but it makes sense to me. I like the way it sounds. It’s smooth and answers a lot of other questions too.”
“Yeah, it’s sensible, but I never heard anyone say stuff like that. Are you a Christian Nano? Do you believe in god?” Nano grinned and that question went unanswered for another time.