Saturday, January 16, 2010

Jacques the Fatalist

If I hadn’t gone out of the house, I wouldn’t have gotten a ticket. If I hadn’t decided to take the last run of the day on the ski slope, I wouldn’t have broken my leg. If only I hadn’t said what I thought, I might still have gotten the job, the lover, saved the friendship, won the contract. All of these conditional statements are based on the notion of free will, on the idea that we live in a rational universe. As the existentialist philosophers stated, existence precedes essence. We are all-powerful, to the extent that we are all decision makers. Another point of view would have it that action is the result of a long chain of circumstance. I was doomed to go out of the house because I was restless and suffer from a chronic case of ADD, which makes it impossible for me to sit still. I have an impulse disorder that makes it impossible for me to understand the negatives attached to this or that action. Just one more time, I thought, as I decided to brave the icy slope in the dark, unable to realize how tired I was and how fatigue had impaired my judgment. Mania and narcissism make it impossible for me to understand that the motives I impute to others are simply my own. When I see rejection in my lover’s preoccupation, I am only projecting my own behavior on to her. Not everyone reacts in the same way. My distrustful outburst and its consequences were the result of my own fabrications. Ditto the friendship and the job. Then there is the Calvinist analysis, which sees no room for the subject at all. Predestination rules the universe, and our attempts to out-think destiny lead to inanition and ultimately death. I was meant to get the ticket, to break my leg on the ski slope, to lose the lover, the job and the contract, since all men are ultimately little Jobs with no control over a fate that is ultimately adverse. We all wish to win the jackpot, and as life draws closer to its inevitable conclusion, we constantly raise the ante in a futile attempt to avoid the inevitable.

1 comment:

  1. a magnificent piece of reality... once again.


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