Choice vs. Destiny

Everything in this life as we know it is down to chance. “You make your own luck,” many a drunken pub bore has droned into my ear over the years. Up to a point, Lord Copper.

What about the Air France plane that crashed into the Atlantic last week, killing everyone on board? Just awful bad luck. Men, women and children – all 228 of them – with everything to live for snuffed out in an instance.

So it was sheer dumb good luck that an Italian woman who had a ticket for that fated plane didn’t get aboard because she arrived late and missed the flight.

Lucky or what?

Except that same woman, Johanna Ganthaler, has been killed in a car accident this week, agencies report.


Death becomes us. The Italian woman missing her fatal flight only to die in a car accident shortly thereafter makes me think that Terry Pratchett (and the writers of Final Destination, and the writers of Dead Like Me) might be on to something.

Can we truly escape death thanks to a lucky turn of events or due to personal choice? Or does Death just end up with more work to do when we miss our appointment? Does Death re-schedule or is it considered a loss until another day?

Really, it is just another proof trying to find the answer to the choice or destiny debate. Later in the post, Dumdad mentions a 14 boy who narrowly misses being bludgeoned by a meteorite. The boy is still alive.

We can discuss odds and statistics ad nauseum, but I always liked the thought that was so eloquently dropped into Forrest Gump.

“I don’t know if we each have a destiny, or if we’re all just floating around accidental-like on a breeze. But I think maybe it’s both. Maybe both are happening at the same time.”

Or in my mind, we have choices to make about how we arrive at our destiny, but fate has already laid out a finite — however large it might be — number of paths for us to choose from.

What do you think? Is it all in our hands, just some of it, or does a higher power juggle the marionette of life?