Free Will Vs Destiny/Fate/Karma

crystal ballIt’s an age old question which has stumped many.

Do we have free will or are we held to the ransom of a greater force? Whether it be fate, karma, destiny or kismet, the reason why so many people have difficulty reaching a conclusion is because they think it’s one or the other. The truth is, it doesn’t actually matter.

People are so determined to find a one dimensional and digestible answer but the difference lies in perception.

I don’t see it as my job in life to answer the question, I see it to be lived as if nothing is set.

I live my life as if I have free will but I understand that events arrive to me often without me having any say in them. All I can do is choose how to respond to them. The source of those events really don’t concern me; what concerns me is how I use my power of free will in that moment to override my reaction.

The trouble with fate is that it can leave you with a feeling of helplessness. I’ve heard people say that they are destined to be broke and to be a loser. Are you someone who thinks like that or do you know of anyone that does?

If you are, then through the power of choice, you are setting the outcome of your future events more so through your attitude than some predestined power.

Here’s a two step process by which I look at this whole debate in a way that serves me.

1. All events are fated in some way. That could be a short term fate relating to decisions recently made or through some higher power and unseen force. I don’t have control over the events.

2. I have absolute power of my attitude and the way I choose to respond to those events. At all times I have the power right now to decide how I think. I can choose to be grateful and cultivate the attitude of a decision maker.

There are also people who think that God has a plan for them. I don’t buy into that. Yes I do believe in a higher power but I believe the greatest gift bestowed to me by that higher power is the gift of thinking freely.

I don’t believe we are accidental beings; we were meant to live life on purpose. I have the gift of free will in world where fate and destiny exist.

89 Responses

  1. sam says:

    Interesting way of looking at things. I do sort of believe in fate but reading over what you’ve said has made me think a little. Nice blog by the way!

  2. Danielle says:

    This is a cool way of looking at things. I have to do an essay for school that is titled “Destiny vs. Choice” and this entry has sparked some ideas for it! :) Thanks.

  3. Amit says:

    Hi Danielle! Glad to hear it. If you want to chat more about it you can just email me or post another response. It’s pretty similar to the chicken and the egg debate. To be honest I think it’s one of those things we’ll never find an answer to but it’s always makes for a lively discussion. The best angle to approach this subject from is which way of thinking serves you best?! 😉

    • mft says:

      hello, i have a paper to write about this topic and i’m looking to find someone to interview. so am wondering if you could help

  4. lizzie says:

    to me god has a plan for all of us which is our destiny. You may make a choice but god already new that you where going to make that choice. He makes and writes your destiny it’s his plan for you.

  5. lizzie says:

    to me god has a plan for all of us which is our destiny. You may make a choice but god already new that you where going to make that choice. He makes and writes your destiny it’s his plan for us.

    • tyson says:

      Lizzie, being an athiest i think of it this way I would love to believe that we have free will however was it fate or free will that i was able to say that? i would love to coniue this conversation but was it fated or freewilled to happen?

  6. Hi, that was a very insightful post, I too am writing a similar essay and found your view of combining the two interesting and logical. I had a similar view on the matter as I would find it hard to believe that my entire life is not my own. I really liked your escalator analogy too. Thanks for that and good luck with your blog.

  7. Ashley says:

    I myself do not believe in fate.
    I think it’s always our decision to be who we want to be.
    I have never seen myself as a victim of any force, as I feel it is just creating excuses.

  8. Faith in destiny or fate disempowers human beings. And then the real fun is in being in control of our lives, not in enacting someone’s else script. So, exercise control over your life and leave ‘destiny’ to be just a word in the dictionary.

  9. Amit Sodha says:

    As I’ve quoted before: “only the past is destiny, the future is free as you choose it to be.”

  10. John Conner says:

    The future is not set, there is no fate but what you make.

  11. Amit Sodha says:

    Thanks John, I always loved that line from the Terminator film too!

  12. vidhi says:

    heeeeeyyyyyyyy!!!!thnx a lot.nice oot luk of lukin at tingz!

  13. Amit Sodha says:

    Hi Vidhi, thanks for the comments and I’m so glad you liked the article! Hope to hear more from you soon!

  14. Thanks for this blog. Sometimes I ask God if man has truly endowed with absolute free ill. You know what, the bible answered me of human responsibility. We can choose to live good and to die in hell. Because God did not make us a machine or a mouse controlled by a spiritual force or Spirit. Yet, In the Name of Truth, we shall only choose that which is good inorder not to die in hell. Therefore, in the strictest sense of the word, man has no choice but to live good because God is for the good. That is a sovereign will of God for all men to be with him eternally. So can you still choose otherwise? Of course, man still can choose but on the other side or contrary to goodness but you have to take the risk. We all get rewarded and get punished from the choices we make. If one wants happiness and success, then pursue righteousness. If not, then expect for a bad karma.That’s why many times many successes of man turned back to ashes because they have made it against His will.Maybe God made this way, simply because He is God and has sovereign will over man. I learned some pointers how to live successfully and meaningfully from my mentor at kamja which I am proud to be their clients.

  15. .,tnx a lOt Of ur blOgs…it helps a lOt 4 me b’cOz Of sum ideas u pOst…especially 2 cris da lst blOgs dat i read…sir,i agree w/ u…w/ gOd
    evrytngs gOnna be right…jaz kip On believing Her..,

  16. Dominic says:

    You know you should always consider the past as destiny. If you think the past was free, you become guilty, you become regretful, you become remorseful. You are very upset thinking of the past: ‘Oh I could have done this way,’ ‘I could have done that way,’ ‘I could have… could have… could have…’ Useless! Past should be seen as destiny. Future should be seen as free will. This is wisdom. Wise people do like that. Otherwise what you think… You think the past was free will, so you regret the past. And future you think is destiny, and you do nothing about it. You simply sit! We must reverse this tendency. Just doing this one thing will help you to a great extent.

  17. Amit Sodha says:

    Hey Dominic,

    This is one of my earlier pieces and I agree with you. If you look at my quotes you will see one by me – Only the past is destiny, the future is as free as you choose it to be – which is exactly what you’re talking about.

    Thanks for commenting! :-)

  18. nathanael says:

    i just want to share that our only destiny is to live in this world with our own will and choice for us to know and experience the good and bad.but in the end what really matters is how we decide to fulfill that destiny and to choose to be with HIM…

  19. MasonSizzle says:

    Hi, my name is MasonSizzle and I too am writing an essay on this topic. Thank you for providing me with absolutely no new information on the topic. I found your essay to be very dull and unintelligent. I do like, however, your ability to con idiots like Lizzie and Amit into thinking you’re intellectual. I would like to know if you can do this to pretty girls you are pumping drinks into at the bar as well.

    • Amit Sodha says:

      Hi Mason, your opinion is noted and your entitled to it. I am Amit and I wrote the article and many years ago in the early days of the blog when I was still a beginner. If it provided you with no new info, my suggestion, keep searching on google, you’ll find more info.

      As for your final comment, I neither drink alcohol nor do I purchase it for others.

      • MasonSizzle says:

        As for the topic of Fate vs. Free Will, I would like to discuss this between the two of us, from one blogger to the next. For the past twenty or so minutes, I HAVE been pumping drinks into some girl at the bar (yes, I am blogging to you via iPhone whilst doing a firsthand study). Now, if she goes home with me tonight, is it of her free will, or is it simply fate? Was she destined to become another girl with a hangover, sneaking out of my apartment at five in the morning?

        • Amit Sodha says:

          I guess that depends on how drunk she is! What’s the title of your essay?

          Sometimes some things are not quite the dichotomy that we want them to be.Things do happen, which are out of our control, but we always have a choice in how we respond to them.

          Does she have to the free will to decide whether to accept drinks from you? Of course she did. After a certain number of drinks will she be coherent enough to make conscious decisions? Probably not – and that also answers the question of why I choose not to drink.

  20. Milan Bakrania says:

    I got up this morning and decided to be happy! It was my choice, my free will. I’m a big believer that thoughts create the world we live in, after all everything around us was once a thought. Maybe God only watches from a distance and allows us to make whatever choice we want in life hence the actions of bin laden, sadaam hussein, mother teresa, princess diana…you get my drift. It could be possible that our thoughts and feelings manifest into actions (karma) and our subsequent life and its reactions. Oops, that doesn’t leave much room for the notions of fate and destiny…

    • Amit Sodha says:

      Excellent point Milan. The subsequent reactions you mentioned are what could be referred to as fate – sometimes those events are out of our control but in this very moment I can choose how to feel, respond etc, I have the power to decide!

  21. Milan Bakrania says:

    “I have the power to decide!”….Ain’t dat the truth! Excellent article btw.

  22. Mark says:

    I’m definitely in the free will camp. There are just too many things that have to fall in line to believe in fate.
    New at Mark\’s blog post ..Loans For People With Bad Credit

  23. Excellent observations.

    It is often a state and mindset which perpetuates itself after some small factor pushes you in that direction. Taking the initiative to guide that state yourself gives you a lot of power over your future.
    New at Adam – Ditto Effect\’s blog post ..9 Types of Useless Texts Everyone Hates to Receive But Send Anyway

  24. It is often a state and mindset which perpetuates itself after some small factor pushes you in that direction. Taking the initiative to guide that state yourself gives you a lot of power over your future.

  25. RAHUL says:

    Hi,Good morning,i am Rahul ,from INDIA,
    i Believe Karma & Destiny & past Life & Rebirth & Aliens.
    i Believe our past Life & Rebirth is also on other planets as Aliens; in that planets Alien Life span is 1,000years,or 10,000years,or 100,000years; in that planets Aliens Live without polution(They use solar energy,not use petrol,diesel Like us);They are Looking so Beautiful compare to us(not Like as Hollywood film Aliens);God created Not only our Dirty planet,he also created,good world’s,for who people did good Things,in their past Life;if God is not Here,Then all planets,stars(suns),Asteroids,Black Holes are collapsed (crushed by Accident);
    i Think There is No Hell and No Heaven; God created only Hell Type of planets(Like our planet)& Heaven Type of planets;
    i Think There is No Ghost. if There is Ghost, Then God Didn’t created our planets&universe; Because,Ghost Destroy our planets & universe; only ourr past Life karma is Deside our Luck or Bad Luck; But suicide is Not Death,it is Against to GOD.
    Note:There are 9 planets,100 moons in our solar system,There are 10,000crores(100 Billions) above solar systems in our Galaxy,There are above 10,000crores(100 Billions) Galaxies in our Universe; There are Lot of universes in space;

    • Amit Sodha says:

      I share your views that there are many planets out there with life but I do not share your view that this is a hell planet, that’s just your perception.

  26. Best psychic says:

    I believe that we have a natural course to follow in life, something like a highway. But beyond this path exist other paths, such as short-cuts, u-turns and stops.

  27. Silagra says:

    Thanks John, I always loved that line from the Terminator film too!

  28. Phuong says:

    Hello. It’s great to meet everyone here. it’s only a few words but i feel like the whole world for awhile.

  29. Brother in Christ says:

    The Lord is with you,or the Christ is among us.The person who says:”I don’t know”, believes.Praise the Lord.God is always good.Help and Lord help you.Jesus Christ saved and healed me from drugs through this center:”DESTACADOS – ASOCIACION RETO A LA ESPERANZA,NO A LA DROGA”,in Serbia.If it is you,or you know someone who have drugs problem and problem with alcohol,then give that person this website.All things are possible to God and to the person who believes.Jesus Christ is the same yesterday,today and forever.One day and a thousand years in the Lord is the same,there how large his patience and compassion,there how large goodness,grace and love for all of us.Do not doubt,but believe.Glory to Lord and Christ.Jesus loves you,God bless you. – Psalm 103:1-5; Ephesians 4:32

  30. Neo says:

    Do you believe that fate and destiny are the same? I think fate has a more precise, uncontrollable aspect that is too pessimistically accurate to attribute to life. For instance, “I was fated to lose my job at age 25” verses, “I was destined for a life of tragedy.” Destiny being the broader events of life- not specific events. (Eventually, he would catch tragedy- whether it was in the form of a bad yearbook photograph, or a forgotten homework assignment. Stressing “eventually”, with no precise date set.) Free will would be (as you have stated) our response to destined events; where we can take a life of tragedy and spin it into one of happiness, or more relevant, one of excitement (volatility), or become pessimistic and harbor negative emotions about life. And also, free will being the product of both our environmental factors and our own, personalized consciousness. (So not entirely “free” will, but pretty close to free.) Your thoughts?

    Just another student with an essay to write!

    • Amit Sodha says:

      Are fate and destiny the same thing? I believe they are both words in the English language to describe and try and explain the things that happens to us. Whether that be the kind of events on a daily basis or the grander sense of what was meant to happen in our lives.

      In the dictionary Fate and Destiny or synonyms for one another.

      For me, I would say the meaning of both are relatively synonymous. In Hindi/Gujarati, the words for both are relatively interchangeable.

      With regards to what you mentioned regarding our free will based on environmental factors: – only so far as you choose it to be a factor. Can you think of single environmental factor right now is not beyond your choice?

  31. Noemi says:

    A motivating discussion is definitely worth comment.
    I do believe that you should write more about this issue, it may not be a taboo
    matter but usually folks don’t talk about such topics. To the next! Kind regards!!
    New at Noemi\’s blog post ..Noemi

  32. Mapal says:

    I’m firm believer of destiny and without doubt believe God writes my destiny.. I can choose which way I want to go but at the end its God who will lead us on a path. I’ve experienced this several times in life. If I have to choose between 2 things and I pick one way to go then something unexpected happens out of the blue(unexplained) and I have no other choice but to pick then one that I decided not to choose.. And when you look back from the point you are today and try to connect the dots you know and can see that you were meant to be in a particular situation and in certain relationships and it wouldn’t have happened if I had to write my destiny.. It was God’s plan for me to be where I am today.. All that has happened in the past is only for our good though it may have seemed otherwise at that point and it couldn’t have been any better because God loves and cares for us and will only do the best things for us in our lives.

    • Amit Sodha says:

      “I’m firm believer of destiny and without doubt believe God writes my destiny.” – What makes you think it’s God? Maybe your chose your destiny before you were born and it’s your soul keeping on the path that you wanted?

  33. Zet says:

    Well obviously your post is garbage Mr!I mean seriously,how can you say you have the ability of “thinking freely” when reason is governed by the preconditional principles and laws of axioms ???

  34. Zet says:

    I replied to the email you sent me.So try checking If my mail didnt accidently end up in your other archives like spam msgs,etc

  35. Zet says:

    Bascially what I said was ” No,you have no clear cut choice on replying to my msgs.You only chose to reply b’cuz you felt your intelligence was being undermind.It’s more or less a matter of causlity,the “effect” that my comment had on you,”caused” you to boldy reinstate your opinion to me.I doubt it had anything to do with your deliberate will “.

  36. Zet says:

    Bascially what I said was ” No,you have no clear cut choice on replying to my msgs.You only chose to reply b’cuz you felt your intelligence was being undermind.It’s more or less a matter of causlity,the “effect” that my comment had on you,”caused” you to boldy reinstate your opinion to me.I doubt it had anything to do with your deliberate will “

    • Amit Sodha says:

      I knew that you were going to say that but if I felt like my intelligence was undermined then why did I choose to approve your comment at all? I could so easily have deleted it but I chose not too.

      Read again what I wrote. I clearly said I don’t think it really matters which school of thought is true. What I personally believe to be more important is how we perceive life. I believe it’s more important for the human spirit that we feel like there is a choice.

      Events are cause and effect however, decision, volition, all facets of a free thinking consciousness.

      Lets face it, we could continue this discussion, which I’m more than happy to do, but I very much doubt that either of us are going to yield.

      Still, this is fun!


  37. Zet says:

    As a matter of fact,how can we possibly ever have free will when we’re bound by nomological constraints which are in fact fatalistic ?

  38. Zet says:

    Lol,Okay then.

  39. Zet says:

    On a more random note though,could you give me your brief understanding of the following concepts

    ¤Free Will and

    (And by “your understanding” I mean your personal insightful wisdom(Nous) and not something quoted from Wikipedia

  40. Zet says:

    And lastly,I personally dont think choice is a good thing for a premature species like humans to possess.As we are currently living in a fallen creation of a deliberately willed intelligence (reason/free will)that’s detached from universal intelligence(Supreme Logoi/Nous)thus further misleading us farther away from truth

  41. Zet says:

    Isnt that what the Fall of Man is about ?How the forbidden fruit granted Adam and Eve the ability to discern between good and evil ?Which are polar opposites of a dual perception.Therefore pioneering humanity’s migration from the Absolute Monad,the Platonic Form of the Good which otherwise lacked differentiation therefore lacking reason and coincidingly,free will.

  42. Zet says:

    Oh and I apologize for coming across as rude in my prior msgs

  43. Jon Danzig says:

    Even before modern medicine deciphered the chemical code of human existence, philosophers argued whether we truly have ‘free will’. We now know that chemicals control our functions, but can we as sentient, intelligent beings control those chemicals? Who’s in charge?

    Jean Paul Sartre believed humans definitely have ‘free will’ – there’s no excuse, we are fully responsible for all our actions and conscious thoughts. But Albert Einstein said no, we don’t have free will. Einstein summarised this in his famous quote,‘God doesn’t play dice’, meaning that all actions have a pre-determined reaction as a result of laws fixed by our ‘creator’.

    To find some answers, read my article, ‘We are chemistry’

    • Amit Sodha says:

      Hey Jon,

      Thank you so much for sharing your insights into the subject.

      I was at a lecture by Deepak Chopra some years ago and he was talking about an experiment a friend of his was conducting on the human brain. It was a process of stimulating certain areas of the brain to, say for example, get the arm to move upwards. Then this Doctor would ask his subjects to then resist the urge to move the arm; all of whom were able to do so.

      He repeated this on numerous occasion all with the same outcome.

      His conclusion: There is something else there that allows us to override the chemicals and stimulus.

      I don’t recall the name of the doctor but I do remember writing it down at the the time and I”m sure I still have it somewhere.

      I’ve always had interesting debates with people on this subject and my conclusion has always been the same; Only the past is destiny, the present is infinite, and the future is totally open to our free will.

      I’ve often heard that quote by Einstein and I actually interpret it in a different way in that, the universe was not an accident. It wasn’t a freak of nature. There is intelligence in the design.

      Always wonderful to have this debate with people. Would love to hear your follow up thoughts on the subject.


      • Jon Danzig says:

        Thanks for engaging Amit. I honestly don’t know the answer, I guess I am better at raising the questions! The point of my article that I shared with you, however, was more from a medical point of view: that sometimes things do go wrong with human chemistry, and in those circumstances humans are often unable to control what’s happening to them – such as the patient whose prescribed medicine made him become a compulsive gambler, and the little boy who fell out of a tree, and years later the damage to his pituitary possibly led to his suicide.

        So, if the chemistry in our bodies can change who we are when it goes wrong, I guess it might also figure that even when the chemistry is going well, it might be the chemistry affecting us more than us affecting the chemistry. Do we control the chemistry or does the chemistry control us? I don’t think we really know…

        • Amit Sodha says:

          Hey Jon,

          Likewise, I always appreciate any constructive engagement around topics like this that require deeper thought and consideration.

          Like you, I’m unsure of the answer to those questions. Who ultimately know what’s in control. Is it biology, biography, volition, consciousness, a greater power, etc etc.

          One thing I will say though is that I feel the most constructive place to live from is that every moment is a choice. I can feel that with my being. So if someone right now, placed two plates in front of me.

          On one plate is broccoli, on the other, a doughnut and it’s up to me to decide which one I can eat, and I’m only allowed to pick one.

          Naturally I consciously know that broccoli to be the healthier option. It is however, still my choice as to which one I pick. If I really want to, I can choose the doughnut, but I do it because I choose to, and not just because I really want it.

          Hope that make some kind of sense.

          All the best,


  44. Wanders says:

    I think the problem is these are spiritual questions which we try to answer scientifically. Without esoteric spiritual knowledge, then we are like fish in a bowl trying to contemplate our existence. Some things can not be comprehended with the mental faculties or scientific methods we currently use.

    Until one has a real spiritual experience and has a glimpse into a world and truths we can’t fully comprehend, then they will still be contemplating spiritual matters with a logical brain, getting nowhere.

    • Amit Sodha says:

      Hey Wanders,

      Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts. I do agree with you in some ways, but for some people new to this area in their life, may only have basic tangible knowledge to get started, the esoteric, as you put it, can come later. Naturally everyone’s journey is unique.

      I started meditating when I was 15 years old, I really didn’t understand it at the time, but after a while the experiences came and I started to ‘get it’ so to speak – a gross way of putting it.

      I believe even a logical thinking brain, can be a starting point.

      Thank you again for sharing.


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