Choice or Destiny

Destiny is a topic much argued over in cultures across the world. Predestination, or the belief that our fates are set in stone the day we are born, is in my opinion quite a narrow scope of nature. To remove the aspect of choice from life would leave things incredibly dull. If anything, it appears to me a cop-out, for you could say that any outcome was pre-destined. If I were to try to disprove this, by dropping out of school, quitting lacrosse and turning into a disheveled mess, you could still say it were my fate to take that course. Yet, if I worked hard in life, marry and be happy, you could still say that was my destiny, and I would have the same evidence to prove otherwise as before: none. No, I believe that man-kind, as well as every living being in the universe, has been gifted the tool of free-will. 


Before I continue any further, I do believe some outcomes are inevitable. First: death. Death comes at the end for us all, and we all enter its embrace alone. There is no escaping our final rest, no matter how hard our primal instinct to evade its grasp may push us. Second: evolution. It is the nature of things that over time change will come to every living being. Through mutations and adaptations, the universe is a changing place and life will continue to change alongside it. Third, and the point of possible contention for my three “inevitabilities” is life. I believe that life is inevitable across the universe, for the same reason that I believe Earth is less unique than a fingerprint in the pool of seven billion humans. Assuming the percentage of Sun-like stars in the universe is 1% of the total, and that 1% of those stars have Earth-like planets (1x10^20), and that 1% of those developed life and that 1% of the planets with life deve loped intelligent life, that would result in 1x10^16 planets throughout the universe with intelligent life forms. Even if each probability was reduced to .001%, the number of intelligent-life hosting planets would still number 1x10^8 throughout the universe. The odds of Earth being the only host to intelligent life in an infinitely expanding universe are ridiculously small.

In fact, when taking a look at just our galaxy, the percentage of sun like stars, and the percent of those with Earth-like planets is actually much higher, sitting at a purported 10% and 22% respectively according to recent Kepler Space Observatory studies. Extrapolating that data would result in our galaxy alone hosting 2x10^9 stars with Earth-like, habitable zone planets, meaning my estimates were well under the actual percents found across the universe. (

While some aspects of the universe are, in fact, inevitable, that doesn’t apply everywhere. I believe that, while the final destination is always death, the path we take to get there is ours to choose and ours alone.  Because of the grand consequence of the inevitability of life, there proceeds a belief of a true cycle of both life and death. However, what meaning could there be to our existence if we were to exist merely to finish some pre-determined goal. No. There must be more to our lives. For these reasons, I believe life is built upon our own choices, with an overlying cycle wrapping around us.

Death By Black Hole, Neil deGrasse Tyson