If we look at the results of twin research, which examines identical twins who grew up separately, we can guess how significant the effect of our genetic – material – destiny is on our lives. For example, these twins, who never knew each other and grew up in completely different families and environments, named their children the same, both married twice, and both had wives named Betty and Linda. They named their dog Toy, were once deputies, and vacationed in the same places. Others had the same habits, like putting rubber bands around their wrists or wearing five rings and two bracelets on one hand. They shared illnesses, views, likes and dislikes, and even used the same words as the other to describe them. They wrote diaries and skipped the same days as their distant twin.
I wonder why we insist so much on the existence of our self-determination, our free will. Why is it so important that we can decide and take charge of our lives?
Where is the difference between, on the one hand, an existence in which we can plan and act and thereby achieve something or fail to achieve something, in which we have free will and yet are dependent on the whole world around us for the success or failure of our plans, and, on the other hand, an existence that is guided by fate?
If our existence is fateful, then everything – also „we“ – happens without „our“ intervention.
If our existence is subject to our free will, then the world also exists without our intervention. The only difference lies in the thoughts of our mind, which would then be „free“. If everything would have success what our mind would plan, then that would be a big thing with the free will. But don’t we have real influence on (as good as) nothing? Neither on the course of the creation, nor on the implementation of our plans? Isn’t the little that we seem to achieve by free will just an illusion to which we try to cling convulsively? But why? Why is it so? Why should we prefer free will to fated guidance? – The answer to this question lies in pain. Part of our fate is to exist in separateness and material loneliness. We do not want to accept this pain as fated and wish to escape it through an act of free will. We cannot accept that we may not be able to alleviate this pain. Our survival instinct does not permit such a view of things. Thus, the idea of „free will“ may even be an inevitable consequence of the function of our mind. For the mind is the tool of the survival instinct and is supposed to protect us from pain.
If there were only the one world fate, then we would be a part of it and we would have to submit inescapably to the pain until our death. But if there is the free will, then there are at least already once two. There is then me and the fate. Since I now have an opponent, I am able to become completely matter and to fight with all means the fate to escape the pain – at least apparently – again and again.
Only we cannot win. Pain is an indelible part of our human existence. Only in death, in the dissolution of our material existence, pain ends. Until then we are at its mercy. With free will and also without it.
Therefore: Is it not better to go one’s way guided than to fence against mirrors without rest and yet be unable to achieve anything eternal? Isn’t the acceptance of destiny equivalent to the existence of an inescapable guidance? Is not the rejection of destiny equivalent to „free will“? Is perhaps this decision of acceptance and rejection our only truly volitional act? It is this decision that makes us follow fate dormantly or that makes us follow fate in perpetual struggle. Fate is there. How we let it unfold – whether in rest or in struggle – that lies in ourselves.