Wednesday, June 4, 2014
Is Fatalism a Fatality?
I've always been a very realistic person, with a hint of optimism, so when asked two days ago about how I stay happy and deal with stress, my answer was a very concrete one that didn't please most people in my class. My answer was to just take a deep breath when you feel overwhelmed with stress and see realistically what is the worst thing that could happen. Then, start thinking about what is still possible to do, so that you try your best to avoid what you fear could happen, but at the same time realize that in a more general point of view, there is always something to do, and that the result won't be that bad after all. Then, we had to walk around class asking people what kind of person they were, optimist, pessimist, etc. Talking with all these people made me realize that many among us are very pessimist, and make a huge problem out of things that are not that problematic when you think about them objectively. So, I searched a definition of fatalism in the Longman dictionary, which made me want to write about it today: "The belief that events are decided by fate and are outside human control".
I know that my aspirations and hopes are partly due to my young age, and that I am thus more inclined to be optimistic than someone who has lived a full life of events that didn't go the way they wanted them too, but from what I hear, read or see, most of the time, it isn't due to a predetermined fate, but rather by our own actions and reactions. What we generally do when having a problem, is worry. We don't think about what, when, what if, how, etc, in other words, we don't think about concrete solutions, but instead, we focus on this feeling inside of us that screams fear. And it is this fear, which overcomes our rationality and our positivity, and makes us feel powerless, to the point where we remain passive in moments when we should be all the more active to change the course of events. Of course, I am not tackling the events such as sickness, death, or other very serious events, because it always depends on the situation, on the person, etc, and I'm by no means a specialist of any sorts to have some predefined rules to follow in this or that situation! And those most probably don't exist anyway. But in our everyday life, we easily get stressed out by events that aren't too difficult to turn around, and rather than to make the best out of it, we concentrate on the fact that we didn't expect them to be like that.
So, I wonder, why do we focus so much on how things happen? Aren't we programming events in the future too much, to the point that when something of our whole plan doesn't happen the way we expected it to, we feel like it all crumbles down? I believe that part of the problem is that when we schedule things, we tend to plan one way for things to go well, as being the ONLY way. And then when things don't go that way, which they most probably won't, all our plan destroys itself! If we had some ideas, that we tried to follow with a constant objectivity, ready to grasp every opportunity, wouldn't we be happier? Or at least less disappointed? Instead of seeing things as failures, we start seeing them for what they are, just random changes of events that keep happening in life. How can we expect our life to be linear and already planned when everything is in constant movement?
Things keep changing, we can never know how our life will turn out in a year, or 5, or 10, since we don't even know what might happen today! How many times haven't we experienced this feeling of despair when everything seems to be so wrong, and then one simple thing happens and we feel some hope, and see things differently. We find solutions to solve our problems, that would never have crossed our minds 5 minutes ago. So, why not keep our minds open to whatever is to come and be ready to make the best of it? Why not keep our minds free of all the limits we ourselves establish and that so often blind us to face reality? Why restrain our hopes, projects, envies beforehand, and already predicting that it is never going to happen anyway, and feel miserable about everything, feeling beaten down all the time, when all we have to do is change our state of mind?
The worse or best part is, that we all know that deep inside... We all have that feeling deep inside that convinces us that today we just want to feel miserable, and we know that we could just do something else, but we still somehow prefer to stay that way, for real reason. So, I guess my point is, that even if you are a pessimist, or a fatalist even, and if you think everything will go wrong no matter what, why not take the chance that it might as well turn out just fine? What is the worst that can happen, when you're already convinced you'll fail? The worst that can happen is what you've already convinced yourself, so basically, when you think about it, whatever you do, it is going to be better than what you feel right now... Because even if you don't achieve anything, it doesn't really matter, because at least you will have tried, and inside of you you will automatically feel better than you would have felt if you hadn't tried. Now, from this point of view, isn't positivity worth a try? Isn't life worth a real try?
Here is the link to the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy on the entry "fatalism", if you'd be interested to get a real definition or explanation of what this concept really means:
Have a great day, and keep your mind sharp!