Porchstep Philosophy

"Free Will vs. Destiny"
(Or How Doris Day Gave Me a Clue!)

I was born a natural philosopher. As a small child, I would spend a good deal of time sitting on the front porch steps of the small apartment building where my family resided looking up at the sky. I wasn't looking for pictures in the clouds on a sunny day or for rainbows after a rainstorm or for shooting stars in the night sky. I was simply awed by the majesty and seemingly endless depth of what surrounded me. I was also aware of a very great presence who, in my child's mind, must have painted the ever-changing beauty on this vast canvas with a cosmic paintbrush sprinkled with stars and mysterious secrets. I never felt afraid but rather loved in a way that surpassed my understanding. It was not like the love of mother of father or friend ... it felt all encompassing and all understanding and ever watchful. I felt one-on-one and tuned into something indescribably grand.

As I grew older and became indoctrinated into the world via the guidance and teachings of my parents and elders, I learned that my "awareness" was quite correct ... there was a Supreme Being and Overseer for all that I experienced and beheld. Here, at last, I learned that the great presence who held all the secrets and who created all there ‘is' was called GOD. I also learned that God had a very special relationship with mankind granting us dominion over the Earth and granting us "freewill" allowing us to make decisions according to our own dictates. This wasn't quite as liberal as it sounded of course. There were consequences connected to certain actions and even sometimes for non-action. None-the-less, it seemed clear that one's own life was in one's own hands ..."life is what you make it." Then along came Doris Day who brought along another consideration.

For those of you too young to recall, Doris Day was a popular movie actress, comedian and singer in the 1950's and 1960's. I loved Doris Day movies. For me she ranked right up there with Liberace and the Mickey Mouse Club. This great source of entertainment would have me glued to our old black and white T.V. set for hours. (To digress for a moment - Those of us born when Uranus traveled through the last degrees of Gemini were the first to experience television and would even become known as "T.V. children" forever changed by this new form of media.) Doris Day had a # 1 hit song in 1956 called "Que Sera Sera" translated to "what ever will be, will be." The lyrics went something like this, "When I was just a little girl, I asked my mother what will I be? Will I be pretty ... will I be rich? Here's what she said to me ... que sera, sera, whatever will be, will be. The future's not ours to see. Que sera, sera." Wait a minute, what was this? Well, I quickly asked my own mother (who thank the stars was very broad minded) about this and that is when I learned about Destiny.

According to Webster's English Dictionary, Destiny is defined as, "the purpose or end to which any person or thing is appointed; unavoidable fate." I was about nine years old when I started to contemplate this new spin on things. How could I or anyone be a Master of Fate? Was there something predestined going on? Esoteric astrologers believe that each individual chooses his or her natal chart before entering the Earth plane during each subsequent incarnation. According to astrology we are all bound by certain conditions - the strengths and limitations of temperament, family patterns, and era specific patterns ... all indicated by the posits and aspects of the planets. Do we have freedom of choice as our astrological life theme plays out? Certainly ... but how limited is that choice? Can it be defined? Ponder this statement by the great psychoanalyst Carl Jung: "Freewill is the ability to choose that which of necessity we must do." Jung further intimated that what we are unconscious of meets us from outside of us. Was he referring to fate?

In my mind's eye, fate or destiny must work in balance with freewill for no one is born or lives in complete control of his or her life. The joy lies in the opportunities we grasp by the forelock and the broadening of our self understanding. As for the rest, "Que sera, sera!"

"Yet the timelessness in you is aware of life's timelessness,
And knows that yesterday is today's memory ...
And tomorrow is today's dream"
Kahlil Gibran