Difference Between Fate and Free Will (With Table)

Have you ever engaged in the debate of whether fate has supremacy over free will? Surely, this is not a method of conclusively concluding about a person’s personality but is more of an aspect upon which you can infer the kind of person someone is. Not only does it give you a fair insight into that person’s thought process, but it also demonstrates his depth of knowledge and understanding.

Fate vs Free Will

The difference between Fate and Free Will is that while most philosophers have opined that the former is a concept of psychology and humans have very little to no control over it, the latter is governed by our will to do something, and it is when we have complete control over our lives.

Fate is a stretch of our imagination. This is when we believe that our life is not always under our control, sometimes, it isn’t us seated in the driver’s seat but circumstances, and these circumstances, along with other elements, control the course of our lives. When we come across new opportunities, we tend to believe that it is a result of manifestations that are beyond our control.

On the other hand, things can be described as exactly the opposite in the case of free will. It is a phenomenon when we exercise our will to accomplish something or abstain from doing it. We employ our cognitive senses along with our other senses when exercising our free will.

Comparison Table Between Fate and Free Will

Parameters of ComparisonFateFree Will
MeaningThis is when what happens to us is beyond our controlThis is a phenomenon when we exercise our will to accomplish something or abstain from doing it
Presence of GodThis is a concept that is set on the premise that what happens to us is pre-determined by the almightyGod is not, but we are responsible for what we do
ControlIt is believed that we have no control over it but these are occurrences that are influenced by forcesWe have complete control over our actions whether or not we are aware of their consequences
Psychological DifferenceIn psychology, it is believed that we are each born with a fateThis is something that we figure out on our own with time
ExampleRakesh was walking back home when a bike came in full speed and hit him and that led to his deathRakesh was walking back home he heard a bike approaching and moved aside even before the bike got anywhere close to him

What is Fate?

This is when we believe that our life is not always under our control, sometimes, it isn’t us seated in the driver’s seat but circumstances, and these circumstances, along with other elements, control the course of our lives. When we come across new opportunities, we tend to believe that it is a result of manifestations that are beyond our control.

As per psychology, it is believed that we are each born with a fate. For instance, Rakesh was walking back home when a bike came in full speed and hit him, and that led to his death. This shows that it was fate, and the bike was meant to cause his death because all the factors were beyond his control.

Furthermore, it is also believed that we find assurance in this concept. Most often than not, we try to escape liability by pinning our wrong actions on fate. If there is something that happens and such happening was not something that was in alignment with our desires, then we label it as fate. Sometimes it serves as a beacon of hope, and sometimes it is just an excuse.

If we pin our hopes on fate, then we will sit in anticipation of our fate to take control over our lives, and in turn, what will happen is what is meant to happen.

What is Free Will?

This is a phenomenon when we exercise our will to accomplish something or abstain from doing it. The possibility of God acting or shaping the course of our lives will sound ludicrous to those who believe in this concept.

It is reflected in all our actions or inactions. We have the gift of “judgment.” We can judge the consequences of an act even before doing it or the consequence of inaction even before refraining from doing it. Based on this idea, it is only logical to state that we have complete control over our thoughts and actions and if this is our reality, then what happens to us is indeed the result of our deed and not the result of external forces directing the course of our lives.

For instance, Rakesh was walking back home when a bike came in full speed and hit him, and that led to his death. At a glimpse, it might appear that what happened to Rakesh was indeed fate, but on a closer look we the police found out that he was wearing his earphones and talking over a call while walking. As a result of this, he couldn’t hear the bike, and this resulted in his death.

Main Differences Between Fate and Free Will

  1. Fate can be described as a stretch of one’s imagination and is something that happens to us but is beyond our control. On the other hand, Free Will is a phenomenon when we exercise our will to accomplish something or abstain from doing it.
  2. It is believed that Fate is a concept that is set on the premise that what happens to us is pre-determined by the almighty. In contrast, Free Will leaves no room for God. God is not, but we are responsible for what we do.
  3. When it comes to Fate, it is believed that we have no control over it, but these are occurrences that are influenced by forces. Whereas, in the case of Free Will, we have complete control over our actions whether or not we are aware of their consequences.
  4. In psychology, it is believed that we are each born with a Fate. However, Free Will is something that we figure out on our own with time.
  5. From a religious angle, Fate is when we believe that we have received a signal from the almighty. On the other hand, Free Will is our desire to either follow or abstain from following such a signal.

Conclusion

Some people argue that both fate and free will co-exist. But if we think about it, these concepts cannot co-exist. This is because humans will do what they wish to do and all our actions or omissions have some consequences at the end of the day. If the consequence happens to be something that cannot be explained by us, we label it as fate, where it was the result of our actions or inactions, whether immediate or distant. Sometimes Karma is regarded as an act of fate but isn’t free will something that shapes our actions, so can free will and fate co-exist?

Well, there is a perfect balance between the two. While most philosophers have opined that the former is a concept of psychology and humans have very little to no control over it, the latter is governed by our will to do something, and it is when we have complete control over our lives.

References

  1. https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10009-004-0146-9
  2. https://muse.jhu.edu/article/380767
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