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Philosophical Musing

I've always wondered whether there is destiny in life or if everything is just left up to chance. Is one’s life, animal or human, planned out in advance and we just go through the motions of life unaware of what is actually in store for us or is it just a throw of the dice?

I am not one who believes in coincidence and believes that everything and I mean everything, happens as it was meant to be and for a reason.

Anyway, an experience that happened to me a few weeks ago further cemented my belief that there may just be destiny in life on this planet and I can't stop thinking about it at times.

I was in my garage and I noticed a pretty big spider crawling around on the floor near my shoes, maybe a little bigger than my thumb. I thought about killing it, but since I am one who prefers not to kill anything unless I really have to, I scooped it up in a jar, walked to the door and tossed it outside.

The poor spider no sooner hit the ground when a bird swooped in out of nowhere and ate it! I mean like instantly, as if the bird was waiting for me to do it. This kind of shocked me and I just stood there in awe for a minute or two with many thoughts going through my head.

I wondered if the spider was meant to die at the time I spotted it or was today the day the spider would die no matter what I did. If I left it alone would it go on its merry way and live a normal life or would it have been eaten by another spider or creature or would it have died a terrible life in a garage with little or no natural food? Was it near the end of its life anyway? Was I destined to be its executioner? Was it meant to be food to sustain the life of a baby bird and I just facilitated that in happening or did I interfere with nature and cause its death? Many people would probably have just stepped on it, and some would have just let it live without bothering it. I thought I was extending and improving its life by tossing it outside, but I actually caused its demise. Or, when all is said and done, was it meant to be or was it just a freak coincidence?

I don’t know the answer, but it just got me thinking further and harder on the complexities of life and death in this strange world of ours. I know a spider’s life and a human life is not comparable, but when something like this happens it makes you wonder. I think I read of a Chinese proverb somewhere that says experiences in life do not happen by chance and another one that says something like, the people you meet today or run across are not coincidental, they were meant to be. I sometimes feel that, regardless of what decision I made regarding the spider that it would have died that day no matter what I did as it was meant to be.

This experience made me look back on my own life all the more and wonder if everything that occurred was pure chance or destined. Looking back on how I ended up in Japan, met my wife, opened my own business there, where I am now and what my future may hold, I have to concede that it just may well be destined as many experiences occured against major odds.

I read somewhere that it has been proven that there are more than 10 dimensions or parallel universes and that in each one there is a different outcome based on the decisions one makes. For example, here I made the choice to join the military and that set everything in motion to get to Japan. But in another parallel universe I didn't make that decision and my life may have turned out worse (or better). But I do know for a fact that had I not made the decision to enter the military when I did that my life would suck today as I never would have gone to university.

Granted not all of my decisions turned out as I expected and some of them made my life pure hell, but they totaled up to where I am today.

People may b*tch and moan about their present position in life, but when you really get down to it, one's position, good or bad, is the sum total of every decision they have made up to this moment.

Therefore, in another universe the spider lived and was maybe eaten slowly by another spider or died a natural death in another. Makes one nuts to think about it.

Crazy? You tell me. Has anything similar ever happened to you that made you wonder if your life is destined or is it pure chance?

Maybe this should be thread.

Comments

I studied philosophy in highschool and university, and that stuff really got me thinking (in conjunction with physics which I dabbled in indirectly as an extension of philosophy) about the actual nature of time as a phenomenon. I arrived at the conclusion that time doesn't really exist, rather it's just a specific activity level in our brains associated with Beta waves (the wavelength our brains operate on in the waking state). That's why its passage feels different depending on what state of mind we're in. As the old addage goes, 'Time flies when you're having fun'. And anyone who's ever stared at a clock when they were in school, waiting for it to hit 3:30, knows that time also slows down considerably when you're NOT having fun.It doesn't march by constantly, it just gets experienced in a similar way by enough people because for the most part as humans we're all on the same wavelength. That and the fact that our phyiscal universe appears to unfold in a certain way as well, which to us is constant and measurable, again perceived in relatively the same way from person to person.

So beyond that, this kind of discussion gets me thinking about how much destiny there is in life. As you mention, that spider was fated to die at that very moment no matter what happened, and that such seemed to have been its eventual end since its conception. But taking into account this theory of time, I don't think our free will is negated by any discussion of fatalism. I think fate exists only as a function of our narrow view of the world, because we know that all decisions and actions must result in some eventual outcome. Having collapsed other realities and possibilities, whatever conclusions we arrive at are the only ones that were ever going to materialize. But the fact that the outcome already exists and we are just 'slow' in reaching it perceptually doesn't mean that the actions that precipitated it did not occur.

That spider, despite dying, reached that point completely free of any influence or meddling from a god figure, and fulfilled the requirements for its brief life perfectly. In much the same way, humans are going about their lives, making decisions, moving closer and closer to that point in time where the conditions necessary to sustain their lives will no longer be present and their bodies will die.

If you've ever seen the movie 'Contact' with Jodie Foster, there's a great paradox in the movie that sums it up nicely. When they drop the module into the teleportation device, it seemingly falls directly through the center and lands at the bottom without having ever stopped. Despite this, Jodie Foster's character experiences an 18 hour long trip where various things happen. I like to think of life in this way.

So here's where I get weird: life is a moment, it's not even a split second or measurable amount of time, it's like a point or a dot, a geometrical position that is void of substance and exists only as a theoretical starting point. But within it, our collective experience is fleshed out across a 'time', a specific energy wavelength inimcal to all humans that we subconcsiously and communally share in, where we learn and grow together leading lives of varying length and quality in a sort of growth matrix or dream-zoo. Everything's real, the people are real; it's meant to teach us lessons. But, it doesn't truly exist. It's school for the soul.

After you die I have no idea what happens, but I'd imagine it's like waking up from a dream. You'll look around and see the people you knew in life, your friends, etc. And you'll ask each other 'So, what was it like for you??' Some people will have spent their lives being cold, calculated and accumulating wealth and other things they weren't able to bring with them. Others will have had wonderful experiences and truly lived a life rich in meaningful interaction and development.
 
Thank you for your reply bakaKandajin. It was very insightful and a joy to read.
bakaKandajin said:
Everything's real, the people are real; it's meant to teach us lessons. But, it doesn't truly exist. It's school for the soul.
In a nutshell that is the whole reason for our existance. "Schoolhouse Earth" as it is called in some circles. We are spirtual beings having a physical experience in this container called the human body and we are here to learn. Are we to learn right from wrong? as what is right and what is wrong?

I believe we experince the physical life in order to not succumb to the "Seven Deadly Sins" of Lust, Gluttony, Greed, Sloth, Wrath, Envy and Pride. Failure to conquer even one of them results in a return to life on this planet. (I feel I will have to return again if I die now as I still have about two to conquer.)

I believe the human soul and reincarnation is like the engine of a car. If my engine (read as friend, family member, etc) failed and died, the entire vehicle would be sent to the scrap yard. However, once an engine dies in a particular model it can be taken out, rebuilt, and put in a new model while the original body is crushed up into a block of steel to be recycled.

Now, if this engine (soul) were rebuilt and repaired and put in a different car (body) and was riding down the street I would never know it was my engine (friend, family member, etc) if I should come upon that car. The engine (soul) was given new life in a different body.

Such I feel is the same with the human soul until we conquer the seven deadly sins.
Oversimplification maybe, but it's the best way I can explain it.
 
Perhaps I am what some might call "over-romantic" (not necessarily in the "love" sense in this case) but I believe that every single thing that occurs in our lives how and when it is supposed to happen. I think even when and where we are born is supposed to. We cannot choose that and that is when it all starts in this lifetime.


It boggles the mind to think about it, but why are some born in some places under certain conditions and others born in other places under other conditions? And this really stretches things, but why and how are living creatures born as fish, cows, cats, dogs, humans, etc.? In other words, why are some born as humans and others as animals? Some say that animals have no soul, yet I disagree 100%. Could it possibly be that souls reincarnate to different levels over millions of lifetimes of various durations until reaching the highest level of returning to the Highest Level when we have learned all lessons we need to learn and have mastered our souls and true selves? Do we exist only on this planet and universe throughout this journey of reincarnation until arriving? Or, do we go to many levels that we cannot even imagine or conceive of in innumerous forms?
Another thing that I personally believe is that everyone we meet in this lifetime we are supposed to meet when and how.
Quite often we might say to ourselves, "if only I had met him/her 20 years ago things would be so different for me/us" about any kind of relationship be it a friendship, romantic relationship of business relationship. That may be the case sometimes, but I tend to think that had it happened, it would not have been what we may think it would have been and more importantly that we were not ready to meet this person and/or have this situation/opportunity happen.

Also, sometimes we know somebody who knows somebody and say, "what a small world". But I feel that we "connect" with certain people for a most definite reason and others that we never do, both of which may not always be obvious. So I feel that things, meetings and occurences not only happen for a reason but happen when they happen for a reason.


The excellent movie Signs with Mel Gibson exemplifies this point quite excellently. If you have not seen it, it is an absolute must.


A line in a great song by Triumph kinds of sums a lot of it up:
"Is it fate or random chance?
How can I decide?
Are we victims of circumstances when destinies collide?"


Rik Emmett
Triumph
"Somebody's Out There"
 
Thank you for your reply Uchite and I'm sorry I didn't see it before, but I agree with what you have written 100% and have often wondered the same things myself. The spider incident just seemed to bring it all together.

As we get older and reflect on our lives, one cannot help but think, whether good or bad, that it was all pre-destined as I do not believe in coincidence, especially concerning the outcomes of certain events in my life. And when I look further back on it and the roots, for some strange reason, I was destined to live the life in Japan I did, move back here to the US, and then (hopefully), return to Japan to live out the remainder of my life.

Could it be because I was Japanese in a previous life? I do not know. But what I do know is I once had a dream about 30 years ago where I was a soldier and was ambushed with gun fire from the bushes. I heard the pops of the gun and felt the bullets, with no pain, go into my chest and then I died. For some weird reason I thought I was a Japanese soldier in the Phillipines when I awoke.

Could that be why I felt such an affinity for Japan when I arrived and learned the language and adopted the customs so easily and why I stayed? I don't know. Could it be that I returned to a former life to live out a life that was cut short? I don't know as, when I was younger, although I had a strange affinity for Asian people, I never gave Japan a second thought until I was assigned there. And the things that occurred that made it a reality are way to weird and too long to post here. As I said, it seems to have been destined.

I also agree with what you said about meeting certain people and having an instant "connection" with them while not having the same "connection" with others you meet in life. Some you just despise for reasons you cannot explain.

I also agree and believe that you meet certain people in your life WHEN you are supposed to meet them whether it be here on JREF in the 21st century, in the street, or anywhere else for that matter. It is supposed to happen and it is for a reason. Whether good or bad, it is for a reason.

I also might add that my wife, who is also into researching this stuff, partook in a past-life regression hypnotherapy session. In a previous past life of hers, she said that, in Italy about 150 years ago, I was married to her present mother (which explains why we hit it off so well!) and that she was my daughter and that I was a prominent businessman. I had refused her to marry the person she loved and that she had committed suicide in the kitchen of our home! And today we are married!

Bull Sh*t? I don''t know, but I wil not disbelieve her because of the good relationship I have with her mother today (from the first day we met we hit it off!) and the facts concerning how we met. It was just too weird, coincidental, and should've never happened, but it did.

She was so startled by this that she never went back to see if we had a life in Japan and I will not do it as I do not want to know! I just know what I feel and that is enough for me.

It is said that people reincarnate as a group and that they change roles. True or not I will not say, but I do know that things in my life seem to say that maybe this is true.

Therefore, as with the spider, I concur that things in life happen for a reason and that is why we are here, on "school house earth", through these countless incarnations, to learn and to eventually reach a pinnacle where we can advance as there has to be a reason for being in this so-called hell hole, or as some say, a purgatory on earth.

Thanks for your keen input!
 

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