The New Year is a great time to reflect, set goals, take stock and secure a better grip on who and where we are. Last April I wrote about Ralph Waldo Emerson’s essay Self-Reliance. It’s about personal responsibility and the ethic of American individualism. Emerson wrote a follow up essay named simply Fate 20 years later. It discussed two overwhelming forces that oppose each other – fate and human will power.
It’s clear that fate and destiny are real. And fate is not sentimental or nice. The tyrannical, unforgiving wrath of nature is powerful. Our history, DNA and family heritage create who we are. The weight of fate, however, varies widely among humans. Personal will power pushes back against the “irresistible dictation” of life. Emerson said nature and thought are like two boys pushing each other on the pavement. Humans are either pushed or pushing. The one who is weak is pushed by circumstance, while the wise and the strong do the pushing.
Wound up in fate is human freedom and to dwell on fate alone makes one weak and lazy. It becomes too easy to blame everything on fate. Strong individuals embrace fate. Emerson said ‘If the universe is a savage accident, our atoms are as savage in resistance. What is this city but an aggregate of incongruous material, which has obeyed the will of some man? The granite was reluctant, but his hands were stronger, and it came to be’. A fired up human can change the world.
Your Estate Planning War Chest is resolute box of efficacious will power. You are in control. John Connor opens the movie Terminator 3 with “The future has not been written. There is no fate but what we make”. And the heroine in Disney’s Brave asks – if you had the chance to change your fate, would you? Now, write down those New Year’s resolutions and git ‘er done!