Was it a ball bearing from a roller blade? Maybe a piece of buckshot. How did it end up here? Why is it here? Why did I see it among the thousands of small rocks? Was I meant to see it? Is there some message in it for me? Are my ruminations signs that I’m going mad? Is it simply a random coincidence and nothing more? I put it in my pocket and finished my walk, rolling it between my fingers.
Have you ever believed, even in some small way, that you are exactly where you are in this moment because it where you are “supposed to be”?
It’s not, of course, an uncommon concept – usually reflected on from a place of happiness after a period of strife.
Having found an amazing apartment only after you didn’t get the one you really really wanted (which turns out was worse), makes you say “I was meant to not get that one, so I could get this one”.
Is there is some grand plan involved? Is it our “higher-selves” guiding us toward our “best place”? Is it “God’s will”?
Do we only consider these ideas valid when things turn out well? Have you ever said, while in the unemployment line, “things are really working out like they are supposed to”?
I know that I tend to hold these things to be true, at least in some cases. I am in a good place in my life, and can’t help but think that I would never have gotten here were it not for the extraordinarily shitty places I was before.
Is it some form of destiny, wisdom gained from experience, travel on a subconscious plan, or simply self-justification of random circumstances that we feel compelled to “explain”?
Where does free will come in? If you were meant to be here – if you were in those circumstances for the purpose of learning, growing, or because it was God’s will, doesn’t that mean that you weren’t exercising free will? Was something or someone outside of your conscious awareness manipulating or influencing your choices?
To answer in the affirmative means your choices were not (completely) yours. It means that you aren’t in charge of your decisions or your choices.
To answer in the negative means you have full and complete free will. It means that those shitty things were pretty much your fault, and the good things are your fault. It also means, since we don’t have the foresight to know that the shitty might lead to good, that it’s all just a random crapshoot.
Neither answer is tenable, so the truth must lay somewhere in-between…
Could it be that there are influences affecting us beyond the ability of our simple senses to detect or identify?
Could it be us influencing ourselves? Could it be our subconscious, our spirit, our guides or angels gently nudging us in this direction or that?
Could it be a higher being? God? Someone or thing outside ourselves gently choreographing a vastly complex performance where billions of the tiniest of interactions influence every other one?
Did that little metal ball influence me to contemplate destiny and free will?
Would I have written about it and shared it with you anyway?
Maybe that little metal ball wasn’t for me at all.
Maybe it was for you.