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Freedom of Will and Fate

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Freedom of will, in itself nothing but freedom of thought, is also circumscribed in a similar way as is freedom of thought. Thoughts cannot go beyond the boundary of the circle of ideas. But the circle of ideas is based upon mastered intuitions that can, with amplification, grow and become stronger without going beyond the limits determined by the brain. Likewise, freedom of will is capable of enhancement within the limits of the same farthest point. It is another matter to put the will to work. The capacity for this is dispensed to us in a fatalistic way.

Because fate appears to man in the mirror of his own personality, individual freedom of will and individual fate are well-matched opponents. We find that people believing in fate are distinguished by force and strength of will; whereas men and women who, according to an inverted comprehension of Christian tenets, let things happen (since “God will make everything turn out right”) allow themselves, in a degrading manner, to be presided over by circumstances. In general, “Surrender to the will of God” and “humility” are often only a cloak for the timid cowardice to confront destiny with decisiveness.

But if fate, as a limit-determination, still seems more powerful than free will, there are two things we should not forget: first, that fate is only an abstract concept, a force without matter; that for the individual there is only an individual fate; that fate is nothing else but a chain of events; that man, as soon as he acts, creates his own events, determines his own fate; that, in general, events, insofar as they affect him, are, consciously or unconsciously, brought about by himself and must suit him. The activity of man, however, does not first begin with birth. But already with the embryo and perhaps – who can be certain here – already with his parents and forefathers. All of you who believe in the immortality of the soul, unless you are willing to allow the development of the mortal out of something immortal or are willing to grant that the soul flies about in thin air until it is at last lodged in a body, must also believe in the pre-existence of the soul. The Hindu says: Fate is nothing but the acts we have committed in a prior state of our being.

Friedrich Nietzsche - Фридрих Ницше - فريدريش نيتشه

Friedrich Nietzsche · English

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