Saturday, August 06, 2005

Religion, Spirituality and Fate

Part IV : Fate.An Analogy with the Game of Chess.

I would like to draw the attention to my previous blog in which I had argued that Fate is indeed the last refuge for a Coward. What is fate? I feel it is not a force that preordains man’s action to the minute details. Neither it is a program which dictates man’s life. Its not something which can explain the order of life but precisely it’s a disorder of infinite proportions that overwhelms man’s thinking prowess. It’s the infinite choices that each man is presented with, in his everyday life that makes man think that infact he is being worked upon by a force beyond his control. But the real fact could be that it is indeed is inability to work is the reason why he is feeling being worked upon.

Imagine life to be a game of chess. The difference in this game of life chess is that it has infinite squares and infinite players all moving their pieces ie exercising their choices at speed of thought. Now like in a game of chess, each of your move depends on three factors namely, your last move, the last move of other players and the way in which you want the game to proceed. Before doing each move, you have a choice, which you exercise consciously, or being forced to exercise consciously because of lack of other logical choices or for the fear of consequences of exercising those other available choices. Now, this present move of yours and all your opponents move will dictate the future moves and it has irreparably altered the way your life proceeds. So if this be so, it is easier to see why some are successful in life while others resort to finding excuses for their failures. Apart from hardwork and determination, one who has got more vision coupled with tolerance to ambiguity is likely to succeed. What is the difference between people like me who play chess casually and champions like Vishwanathan Anand? It is simply that a champion analyses more number of possible moves that can be made in every stage of the game and infact makes a mental calculation of how the game will proceed for another 30 moves, completes a full game in his mind if that particular choice of move was exercised and if it is in consonance with his overall game plan, then he makes that move.

So in effect, if it possible for such an analysed action in a game of 64 squares with just one opponent, then it is indeed possible in the life game of chess with infinite squares and infinite players. Though before making every move, we have infinite choices, we do have certain rules like the rules in chess dictating how a piece is to be moved. Some of these are in the form of social restrictions that limit some choices of action in the game of life chess. Every move is dictated by previous move and it governs the next move. If a man is able to calculate all the permutations and combinations and visualise how each move will proceed and end, then ideally he has won the game of life. But man's intellect is limited and he can’t do that. He is overwhelmed by the amount of choices and he feels some sheer force beyond his comprehension dictates his moves. That is named god/fate as per his comprehension. In a game of chess, the champions always see moves much ahead of the normal players. That is why they are champions. In real life game, I agree that one cannot completely visualise all the possibilities but atleast if one can think in life and cater for many possibilities, we have a fair chance of not being overwhelmed too much. That is why it is said, if you think in life, you can defeat "fate" and here I mean by that the phenomenon of overwhelming choices in front of you. And I wish to point out that many a times, most of us end up thinking about life than thinking in life. There is a world of difference between the two.

The moves in life chess is your actions. May be the hindu mythology is terming this as karma. So since your previous action dictates your present action more than other actions of the infinite players in the field, it says all actions have their effect. Most of the hindu spiritual paths talk about cause and effect. And since the results of your action does not depend upon your action alone but also includes the actions of infinite other people, it will be not be wise to expect the exact results as calculated by you before and hence I interpret this as one of the meaning of what Bhagavad Gita says “Do your Duty, do not bother about the results”.

Let me give another analogy. Two people A and B proceed for the same interview. Both of them come to the same bus stop to board a bus to reach the place of interview. For some reason, there is a heavy traffic jam. So A decides to start walking through narrow lanes and reach ahead where ever he can and board another bus struck much ahead in the road, so that when the jam clears, he would indeed reach faster. B decides to curse his fate and does nothing. There are two possibilities. A reaches in time, attends the interview and gets the job. Perfect. The fatalist theory is shattered. It is triumph of will over fate. N
ow say there is a person C, the boss of the company who is to take their interview, coming to office in his car, is also stuck in the same traffic jam and reaches office later than normal time. By this time B has also arrived and both get to attend the interview and by virtue of B’s better skills, he gets the job. In this case, the fatalist will cry victory.

So your results does not depend upon your actions alone, but also on the actions of infinite other players. The traffic jam was indeed caused by an accident by a truck whose driver was drunk because he had a fight with his wife last night since he gives less and less money for home because of the increase in diesel prices which was caused by surge in world oil prices due to the war in iraq for curbing terrorism………This can go on and on. Each and every action of us is minutely interconnected with some other action in the world by unknown faces, Its an intricate web. And that’s what overwhelms man. In this randomness, Closer the players, more profundity of the effect of their actions in our results. But all said and done, the closest player is our own self and by our careful analysis and thinking, we can mitigate the effects this randomness has on us. We can let this infinite choices not overwhelm us by our tolerance to ambiguity and thinking in life. So at the end, even though A did not get the job in the second situation even after trying not to let the situations affect him, his course of action is more correct. If one were to follow B and keep standing in the bus stop and think that if he is fated to get the job then he will get it, then why come to bus stop only??? You can stay at home and think that if you are fated to get the job then you will get it anyways!!!

The essence of my article is that fate is a creation of man's imagination, its all in the mind and that he conveniently assigns it as reason for his failures and shortcomings. While phrases like “ ellam vidhi padi than nadakum” ( All events happens as per destiny) or " maram vachavan thanni oothuvan" ( one who planted the tree will water the plant too) may provide solace in the face of odds, it cannot and must not serve as a refuge for our incompetence, inability to perform, unwillingness to find a way and our shortcomings. For a million Jews cursing their fate in concentration camps and gas chambers, there was one Victor Frankel who chose to fight his fate, who inspired others in the concentration camp and was a source of motivation. He is a legend today. He definitely did not think " maram vachavan thanni oothuvan" ( one who planted the tree will water the plant too)!!

16 comments:

Prophet of Doom said...

Yet another outstanding post from Karthik the maestro !!

The Soul Doctor said...

Rama

Thanks for the compliments. motivates me to write even better:)

soumya said...

"And I wish to point out that many a times, most of us end up thinking about life than thinking in life. There is a world of difference between the two."

i am among those who think abt life in life

wht u say now?;-)

The Soul Doctor said...

@ soumya

LOL:))

That was a good one!!

Barath said...

great analogy....great post! kudos doc!

The Soul Doctor said...

@barath

Thanks very much barath. this post has surprising not drawn the wrath of many readers as others.

Either people are very much convinced or have not bothered to argue, having come to know my seemingly fixed ideas:)

I wonder whats the reason:))

Barath said...

@ Karthik...I cant argue it..its almost like what I had in mind...in different words tho'..so no arguments...!

exasparater said...

Nice post!

The Soul Doctor said...

@ Barath

That was very nice to hear:)
And nice photo too!!

@ eswar

Thanks:)

soumya said...

there wasnt much scope to argue...
this is too detailed as well as fixed kind...
u have analysed things which makes only a small portion of life...
in these wht u say applies nearly fully.. but still life has more important things which r totally out of our control...
chess starts with uniformity at all the time but life doesnt...
take this... i wanted to join army but had poor eyesight... ended up in iit... ppl say my fate had something better... my frnd has 6/5 eyesight much better than normal person but he has not much desire to join army... wht is this other then fate...

a learned soul said...

with all due respect soul doctor life can never be compared to chess with only 2 players calculating moves ahead that are in no way as vast as the choices life gives us 1 player cant read the mind of the other he can only narrow down the possibilites of the move his opponent may make then make his own move only limited choice of moves for his opponent will determine the accuracy of the move he thought the opponent would make so as he waits to see what it will be he`s in the hands of fate or destiny until his opponent makes his move so are bith of their move choices not based on pure speculation and chance if one great player looses to another does he shrug it off as a bad game or maybe he`ll say it wasn`t his day to win or things didn`t go his way circumstances beyond his control not a better opponent that beat him only his own bad calulation of the game ahead and his wrong choice of move compare that to the possibilities life gives us and the sometimes infinite choices we have just how much thinking ahead to what may happen does a person do to give him his range of choices the line must be drawn somewhere or he will go on creating possible outcomes for possible choices for ever thus missing the opportunity to even make a choice nothing ever being acomlished or failed because he is speculating on events that have not and may never unfold because he`s thinking about the future and not one of us knows how that will be so he ponders on a few well thought out scenarios and possible outcomes and then decides on the one he feels most able to apply himself to regardles of his will hard work support from others he can still never be sure how the next two minutes will unfold let alone a possibl outcome in six months time if he fails or succeeds is down to much more than his choices some turn good some dont thats his fate and destiny unfoldig as its meant to so what ever may come he is gaining life knowledge from nothing more than events that present themselves at various times in his life he is constantly tested by his fate and destiny in order that inspite of failure or success he still learns his soul stays strohg he becomes a better wiser man with maybe power or some influence over others a man who knows how sometimes destiny and fate can be cruel will use his power and influene and hard learned knowledge of life to help and guide ithers an even wiser man will also say no matter what fate and destiny have in store for u always learn and find somethig good from even your worst failure u were meant to fail its only what you learn from it and how u use it that will decide ur next turn of fate only when it unfolds he is a little older and a little wiser and much stronger in his soul because he faced what life threw at him weathered the storm and came out the other side dry he doesn`t hide away with his misfortune blaming fate and hiding behind it he embraces the challenge and the new struggle as a test of character and strehgth of soul and should be grateful for his fate going as it did instead of deciding not to give him another day.i would respectfully say to u that given ur opinions and attitude that u have never and will never experience a major soul desroying failure in ur life u may have had succes after success purely because all the challenges u chose to tackle were hand picked by u because for all they may have been slightly challenging u ulways knew they were well within ur ability very rarely or never taken on chance leaving u in the hands of fate and destiny and a possible outcome that u would have neither the courage knowledge or strenght of soul to stand up and answer it so better to form views and opinions that lead u to say it does not exist an its down to a persons will.so tell me now who hides behind the belief that fate doesn`t exist because its much easier than occasionally putting ur self in its hands the hands of fate would crush u. and perhaps u no this only to well thats why u rubbish its existence and will not accept the huge force it really is and the role it plays in shaping the lives of those with courage enough to accept it and stand face to face with it and best it my boy if u have accidemically achieved the pieces of paper to qualify u as a doctor or ur merely adding weight to what u think u know about ur lifes learning and are nothing more than a self proclaimed doctor because u believe u know all about the game of life and can post a few of ur views on a web site may i say the medical board should strike u off effective immediately i can only imagine the damage ur opinions could cause to a true soul searcher looking to find the right answers or guidance when misfortune has them stumble over ur site and they take the doctors writings as knowledge that will enrich their curious soul i pity them and hope they will soon find soeone who has true knowledge born from total failire moderate yet very hard worked at successwho never read books full of someone elses views and theories changed the words a little and made them their own nor did they form opinions based on their fear of failing real souls stand alone with beliefe in nothing other than themselves and regardless of the fear they feel over possibly failing they take a shot and do all that s reqired to get through take my advice doctor ur 27 years old u have no business involving ur own fears and half baked rantings with the affairs of something other than just the soul clearly u have done no research on the big picture and putting fate and destiny aside for a moment to learn those two are put to work by other forces u may be incapable of ever comprehending if u say fate doesn`t exist through ur own rear of failure u will not even begin to open ur mind to even greater forces existing ur a young man go out into the world and live among all of its misfits its successes and total failures try using what u think u know to help a desroyed soul back on the right road i bet ur help would come from only lending an ear unable to return a knoeledgible opinion or worse still u may palm em with money thus easing ur conscience at the fact u had nothing else to offer fany that a doctor who cant treat his patients treat ur self to a big dose of life especially lifes failures and ask them how they ended up there not one single person will tell u it was their own will that got them there they`ll tell u they used every ounce of will they had to keep them afloat u ask so what went wrong u will hear the same reply wherever u go it wasn`t meant to be or fae dealt a cruel hand or it wasn`t my destiny to take that path open ur eyes boy fate destiny and countless other forces are alive and well workin with us one day aganst us the next to shape the outcome of all our lives especially yours its shaping u up to eventually show u that a life spent making ur own soft choices has turned into that u fear most a total failure who never once accepeted a challenge thrown to him unexpectadly by the hands of fate and had to dig deep to find courage and strength within him he never dreamed he had thats true life true learning and above all a true soul paired with a mind full of knowledge and learning because through choice or not it has seen the two very differnt sides of the coin and can proudly say ive been seen and done it and best of all i came through the worst life could throw at me.but hey this is only my opinion formed through taking lifes chances being up an being on the very bottom but always learning and applying my knowledge to try and help another shattered failure of a soul it is merely the way i chose or at times had thrust upon me without warning it is not the way for anyone else nor would i be so arrogant to presume someone shold take it as their own way they would not be living their own life then only be basing their choices oropinions on something they read that someone who has up to now and will always continue to do and thats live my life without fear always learning and always standig strong regardles of what it throws at me im sure u will dismiss most of what ive wrote because its beyond ur level of thinking and maybe too challenging so be it fate didn`t choose u to try lifes tests it did however bring me to ur web page in what capacity i present my self to u only u can decide if i was u after having read this i would undoubtebly say that destiny and fate brought me to ur page as truth realization and proof that good will always come even from disastourous failure

a learned soul said...

im waiting with baited breath for your response to my comments

The Soul Doctor said...

Soumya

Thanks for your comments. :)

You wanted to join the army.Great.
But you couldnt.

Was joining the army your end or serving the nation or was it earning money for survival??

If serving the nation is your end, then even after IIT, you can do great deal of service to nation and achieve your aim.

you moved your coin right but nature moved a piece to block your this move by giving you a poor eyesight.So you move in a different way....the aim is to achieve your aim and win. Means and type of openings doesnt matter!

A learned soul

Thanks for your detailed comments. The most detailed this blog has recieved so far!! At the outset, you have spoken many things with sense and has given a new insight to my thought process also. I am honoured.

I have two small requests :-

1. Allow me a couple of days to post a reply, because i am on holidays and am a little preoccupied.

2. Kindly write your comment, with punctuations and in paras. Makes reading simpler and helps you drive your point better, not only to me, but also other readers and you will get great replies too!!

Electro-Iyer said...

a learned soul ... comment liye oru blog alavu ku type adichutaane... LOL

The Soul Doctor said...

A learned soul

As per you, if one starts analysing and calculating all the possiblities of life, then there will be no end to it and he would not be able to make a choice only. Does that mean that no one should think at all? If you say mean to say that, one must think only to a certain extent and leave the rest to fate, then who draws the line for the "certain extent"?

You say one doesnt know whats going to happen next moment. Does that prevent you from planing for future? Dont you plan for your carreer? Why does one plan at all? Just lie flat on your bed, because you dont know whats next!!!

i would respectfully say to u that given ur opinions and attitude that u have never and will never experience a major soul desroying failure in ur life u may have had succes after success purely because all the challenges u chose to tackle were hand picked by u because for all they may have been slightly challenging u ulways knew they were well within ur ability very rarely or never taken on chance leaving u in the hands of fate and destiny and a possible outcome that u would have neither the courage knowledge or strenght of soul to stand up and answer it so better to form views and opinions that lead u to say it does not exist an its down to a persons will...........(and the bull shit you have written after that)

Preposterous assumption! Before making this comment, did you even find out who am I and what trials and tribulations I have undergone in life and why am I writing what I have written. Please learn not to be prejudiced. Shall serve you well!

clearly u have done no research on the big picture and putting fate and destiny aside for a moment to learn those two are put to work by other forces u may be incapable of ever comprehending

Fate exists or it does not is not the issue. But surely, people have found it a convenient soul saving refuge for all their failures and short comings! For every person who attributes his failures in life to the "nerve wracking" fate, there is one who has fought it and has proved that he is a man indeed and not a coward hiding behind fate!
WHAT ELSE CAN BE MORE RESEARCHFULL THAN ANALYSING ONES OWN LIFE??

im sure u will dismiss most of what ive wrote because its beyond ur level of thinking and maybe too challenging so be it

Well, it shows how diffident you are about your views. Even before I have dissmissed it, you have presumed that I would and that too because of my lack of intellect! Never mind..

Thanks for the long comment anyways!

The Phoenix said...

Inspired by 'faith thread';)