Friday, February 21, 2014

Fatum est Datum

There are three forces which operate in the history of the world—God, fate, and human freedom. That accounts for the complexity of human history.
     [Nicolas Berdyaev, The Beginning and the End]

Berdyaev does not define what he means by fate in a particular way—beyond meaning what I suppose we all think fate might mean. Pondering this statement, and the meaning of fate—and also that of complexity—made me think that fate, in this context, is that which resists our will, which is matter itself, the given. The phrase used as my title came spontaneously with the thought. Fate is the given you can’t do much about.

Or not very much—and even that only with lots of effort. Behind that title, furthermore, is the fact that I’ve just spent two hours removing a vast accumulation of built-up ice which, melting, caused a generous flow of water in our basement as is bypassed poor caulking between brick and concrete and then followed the necessary, fateful force of gravity down to our red-painted basement floor.

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