We have nibbled around the idea of predestiny here before but I have never formally asked you outright — as I shall now — for your official answer to this inquiry:

Are our lives predestined from the moment of conception or are we creatures of free will from birth where every decision we make is ours and ours alone?


  1. Our lives are mapped out well before we’re born. Our bodies are just a temporary home for our souls. A wonderful temporary home nonetheless.
    As souls we choose whether to experience a lifetime on Earth, so we can better serve others after our bodies die. For example, being a Spirit Guide. A lot of them have experienced a lifetime on Earth so they’re more aware of emotion and why people act the way they do. Some of them are great master teachers and have never experienced a lifetime on Earth.
    As Souls we know who our Spirit Guides are going to be. We work with those and the Master Teachers before coming down to Earth to map out our lifepath and we choose what major things we want to experience in order to evolve to a higher spiritual level when we go back to that realm.
    There’s a saying that Life on Earth is hell – when we die, we go home so to speak. I think that’s a wonderful saying and so so true. Part of my belief also stems from the question of why would God/All That Is, let us live on Earth with nobody to watch over us and gently steer us back onto the right path every now and again?

  2. Hi Dawn!
    Fascinating! I am curious how you reconcile the need for being gently steered “back onto the right path every now and again” if our lives are pre-mapped before touching earth? Why would corrections need to be made in situ? Wouldn’t those movements away from the path already be part of the plan?

  3. Most times, people aren’t aware that they’re actually following a life path. A lot of people don’t believe in life after death, and/or Spirit Guides, or Helpers as they’re sometimes known.
    To that extent, people may not actually be aware that what they’re doing isn’t part of their life path. If this is the case, their Spirit Guides will try and lead them to a situation or person who may “help them” get back onto the right path. Most times, a gentle nudge is all it takes, and it’s not an everyday occurence.
    Not everybody is perfect, we all need a little help every now and again 🙂

  4. okay, that wasn’t really that clear lol. Here’s a better way of stating what I want to actually say.
    Every major event in our lives is mapped out before we come to earth – how we get there is another matter entirely.
    That sums it up much better. Sorry lol, the brain isn’t working so well this morning. The result of a few too many drinks last night I’m afraid.

  5. Oh, and Dawn, your answers create even more questions!
    What if we choose to leave the path and stay off the path? Are we allowed to ignore those nudges back on track or not?

  6. We’re allowed to ignore those nudges, but if we stray off our life path and ignore the nudges back on it, then when we eventually rejoin the soul realm, we usually come back to Earth for another lifetime to finish the life path.
    It’s all about evolving to a higher spiritual level. We can’t gain a higher level if we don’t finish the path we set out before we joined Earth. And yes, I know the answers create more questions lol, not at all the subject for someone with a sore head, but I shall try my very best 😛

  7. Excellent, Dawn!
    So when we are walking the earth, are we aware of our predestiny and the greater plan for us? Or are we blind to everything except its nudges?

  8. Thats where each individuals beliefs come into play. We either believe in Spirit Guides or not. Therefore, if we know and believe in Spirit Guides, then yes, chances are we’re aware of our path. If not, then no, we won’t be aware of it.
    I wouldn’t say we’re blind to to everything. Have you ever been sat wondering how to solve something and then had a solution semingly come out of nowhere? Chances are, your guide led you to the solution without you even being aware of it.

  9. Yes, things come to me as if through magic all the time, Dawn!
    Is it possible to discover these guides in the midst of a life? Or must we be aware of their power before we touch down here?

  10. Oh a meaty one for Sunday !
    Am I predestined to answer this – or do I choose to – or not to?
    My personal beliefs are in some ways similar to Dawns , in that I believe that we are all souls on a journey to a higher state – and that we have goals for each lifetime and that we keep going until we get it right.
    However – I also believe in free will – self determination and CHOICE. We all have a choice in how we react to external circumstances – we can ignore them, we can flee from them or we can embrace them or we can let ourselves be bogged down by them.
    What we each individually choose to do in a given circumstance is what defines us as individuals.
    Maybe free will and taking personal responsibility for ourselves instead of blaming others is the first step in that journey?

  11. David, why can’t you ask a complex question like this on a day when I have a month to spare to answer it!!?? 🙂
    OK, consider this. Five hundred years from now,a computer has been created, or evolved from other computers, which is ten million times more powerful than our most powerful computer today.
    This computer has been taught, or programmed, to know right from wrong, to experience emotions, just as we humans experience emotions. It has been given the power to make all it’s own decisions, based on all the information it has amassed in it’s memory banks. It has a conscience and is subject to all the laws of society. It has developed needs and wants, just as we humans have needs and wants. It even has a sex life and can experience it’s own brand of sexual pleasures.
    In this hypothetical situation, would you say that all the computer’s action and experiences in it’s lifetime are predestined, because, after all, although it has free will to make it’s own decisions, which include decisions to break laws and do bad things, it’s very existence is a result of programming. It has learned many things that were not pre-programmed, but it’s power to make decisions regarding which things to learn, has come about from it’s initial programming, or the programming of the computer that made it.
    The flip side of the coin is that it DOES have the free will to make any decision it wants. It’s decision making process may well be influenced by other computers or human beings around it, or may be influenced by it’s environment. It’s cousin, in another country, make make different decisions, based upon it’s immediate environment, about what it chooses to learn, for instance. Essentially, each computer of it’s series, has it’s own free will to make it’s own decisions.
    So, would you say that the computer’s “life” is predestined, because it will make it’s “free will” decisions based on it’s programming, including how it is likely to respond to it’s environment? Or would you say that, from the moment it is switched on, it makes all it’s own decisions about everything in it’s “life” and therefore it has free will?
    Each newly born baby is a complex biological computer, many thousands or even millions of times more advanced than any computer on earth today. It is pre-programmed with data, it will use that data and it’s inter-reaction with the world around it in order to grow, to learn, to develop it’s own personality, to develop a conscience, to have tastes and preferences, likes, dislikes and prejudices.
    That newly born baby will grow up to be able to make it’s own choices and decisions. However, those choices and decisions will be based on the data it was born with, which has been passed down gentically and it’s experience of inter-reaction with other people and it’s environment.
    So we come back to the same question which I asked about our hypothetical computer and the same criteria apply.
    I guess by taking this view, I am sitting on the fence, somewhat, in respect of giving a definitive answer to the original question. If pushed, I would have to say that my answer would be, a little of both of the options.
    *Removes splinter from right buttock and redjusts his seating position*

  12. Dave!
    I think you’re right about Nebraska! They have regained their pigskin religion! I did a search on “Nebraska football Jesus” and came up with these results:
    I agree predestiny is built on the God/Gods/High Authority belief system in that we can’t all be here by happenstance and that we each have a goal to reach and it is up to each of us to match the challenges of that plan to achieve Nirvana/Heaven/The Ultimate Realm or whatever else is the eternal life better than that on earth.
    To disagree with that hegemony is to be heretical and to have pity put upon you for your inability to see the “big picture” of the larger guideposts and pattern of the design set out for you.

  13. Miss Nicola!
    Well, I’d have to say you answered this question by chance because I promise you I had no plan to ask this today. I was planning on asking it Wednesday.
    Now will you tell me it was my predestined pattern that changed my mind instead of my own free will indecision?
    I have a distant uncle who reads auras and past lives. He taught me to read auras and he told me in my previous life I was a sail maker and I was run over by a carriage on a cobblestone street before I was given this life. Now you’d think I’d have more a fear of being run over than a fear of fire but my most innate fear is one of burning and not of freezing or of falling or of cobblestoning.
    My aunt — who is married to the Vietnam chaplain we previously discussed — felt we were being taught Satanism and she removed me and my cousin — her daughter — from the room of knowledge considering our previous lives.
    Was her action predestiny or free will?
    Did I live a life as a sail maker or not?
    Which belief system do you believe: Mine, yours, my distant uncle’s or my aunt’s?
    We can’t all be right, can we?

  14. Professor budgie!
    The first rule of this blog is: YOU CANNOT HAVE IT BOTH WAYS! PICK A SIDE AND RUN WITH IT!
    Golly… we thought Nicola would have trained you better!
    Ten lashes with a dry noodle for the both of you!
    You create a difficult hypothetical but I will try to answer it.
    Computers are predestined. They have a shelf life. They are incapable of abstract thinking. They cannot create or regenerate something they do not already understand. They are without imagination and a sense of humor. They cannot move beyond the physical instigation of their lives to become something physically bigger from their original, organic, state.
    The Internets, however, is free will. It is molded by its own wishes and the limitations and dreams of others who choose to leap along for a ride. It is always creative in ways it can sing and crash and frustrate those who are unwittingly predestined to be forever lassoed by its dreams and humor.

  15. Why not ? Are you saying we should all believe the same thing?
    Belief systems are there to help us make sense of ourselves and our universe. I believe mine because it works for me and you believe yours because it works for you.
    I find it perfectly understandable that a person living in one area of the world can have a different belief system to those living in another. Their culture, their environment and their upbringing will impact on how their belief system develops.
    I would say your aunts action was fear of what she did not understand.
    I am not going to disgree with your uncle – maybe you need to have a look at your other past lives to understand your fear of fire?
    Were you given this life or did you choose it ?

  16. David,
    If you will come up with a question that doesn’t have a definitve answer, then it’s not MY fault!! 🙂
    Computers, as we know them at the moment, do have a shelf life. However, in my hypothetical example, five hundred years from now, it is not inconceivavble that computers will have advanced to the stage that I described.
    I guess you don’t buy my analogy of the human brain being an extremely powerful and complex biological computer. Scientists, however are already working on a computer to simulate the workings of a human brain.
    “An effort to create the first computer simulation of the entire human brain, right down to the molecular level, was launched on Monday.” http://www.newscientist.com/article.ns?id=dn7470
    These are the first steps in producing a computer that could ultimately replicate the workings of a human brain. Of course, the first attempts are unlikely to produce a computer with imagination, or a sense of humour. However, given the advances made in computer technology over the past fifty years, it is not inconceivable that in five hundred years, a computer that is capable of imagination, emotions and a sense of humour, even superior to mine!! 🙂
    It is not inconceivable that they would be able to grow, add to themselves and replicate themselves. It is a leap of scientific faith to be able to accept this as a possibility, but no greater than the leap of scientific faith that would have been required by someone five hundred years ago, if they were to try to imagine what our modern day computers are currently capable of.
    Getting back to the original question, I would ask you to humour me for a moment and consider that my hypothetical computer is a possibility. Given the scenario that I describe, would you say that the computer’s “life” is pre-destined, because of it’s reliance on it’s original programming about how it would react to other humans, other computers and it’s environment, or would you say it had free choice?
    I maintain that the human brain is no more than a very advanced biological computer, which is pre-programmed with some basic gentically transferred data. The decisions we take in our lives are all arrived at by our thought processes which are affected and influenced by our experiences and our reaction to our environment, which are in turn influenced to a large extent, by our pre-programmed basic human instincts which are genetically transferred to us.
    Free will is a fallacy and a delusion. There are certain ocassions, especially in our younger years, when basic human instincts (pre-programming) of fear, will cause us to take certain actions, over-riding our free will. In later life, our free will is limited by the rules of our parents and later by the laws of society.
    Therefore, although we do maintain a lot of free will, it is not total. Some of our choices are made because of the pre-programming or basic human instincts that we are born with. Some of our choices are also shaped by the society that we live in.
    So, rather than picking one of the two alternatives on offer and running with it, I’m afraid I have muddied the waters even further and added a third alternative!!
    A lot of our decisions are not made of our free will, they are shaped by the decisions of others and the rest of society.

  17. Nicola —
    It’s interesting you argue that we all do not need to believe the same thing to get along in the world, yet you characterize my aunt’s response as being one of “misunderstood fear.” I don’t think she believes she was acting in fear. She was acting to protect her child from what she believed was a Satanic influence.
    Are all beliefs equal in the realm of getting along with each other?
    I certainly did not choose this life and it certainly was not given to me!

  18. Hi budgie —
    No, I do not buy your argument that a brain is a computer and in the link you cite, I might be more inclined to be interested in the experiment if not for the “simulation of the entire human brain” caveat — if it were an attempt to create the real instead of a simulation I would be more interested.
    A computer 500 years into the future is the realm of the wishful and the unknowable and of science fiction. It is fun to wonder but hard to discuss in a meaningful way for me.
    As for hypotheticals — if my aunt were a man she would be my uncle – so they are not a terribly interesting for discussion because in a hypothetical anything and everything is possible and cats are dogs and spiders are space men and brains are computers and sailors are Satan and everything can be changed and modified and twisted to make a fluid argument that changes with perception and reading.
    The most interesting discussions we have here in a hard text form are those that use thoughts and arguments that are based in knowable evidence and experience and are then backed up by reason and reference and fact.
    We can propel into wishing for fun and entertainment but it makes it hard to hold a cogent discussion when the ground keeps changing into future ether.

  19. David,
    I used the computer analogy because I had hoped it would make my point of view more easily understood… I obviously failed.
    So, my opinion (without any references to computers or the future) is:
    We are born with some basic human instincts. The early decisions we make in life are made as a result of applying those basic instincts to the people we inter-react with and our environment. I would say those decisions are reactions, rather than choices.
    Later in life, our choices are made by referring to our past experiences. Therefore, although these decisions might appear to be free will, our “free will” has actually been moulded by the data from our earlier experiences. Our earliest experiences were governed more by the result of our basic human instincts coming into contact with others and our environment.
    If I were forced to come down on one side or the other, I would therefore say that our futures are pre-destined, but not in the way I believe “pre-destined” was meant in the original question. I believe that the choices we make later in life are based on the experience of the early inter-reactions of our basic human instincts and our environment, during which time there was no free will involved.

  20. You ask interesting questions, Dave!
    Predestiny requires some sort of divinity in order for it to happen. Predestiny is, by its very definition, not self-created or self-effacing. There must be a wiser hand, a larger mind, a better monument that calls out the path to the forsaken and the lost and, as you suggest, it is fear of not behaving properly along that path or against that divine will that keeps most of us in line.
    The feral child, the incapacitated mind, the disabled ear are thought by some to be punishments from God, the mark of Cain or the indicator of pre-existing sinful thoughts. You demonize what you fear and you ostracize those who are not like you on the similar path in order to keep order and to serve as warnings to those who may dare to think outside the path.
    As for the all-knowing-computer and science fiction as science fact, you can see the need to provide form and a belief system even in the fanciful and the wonderfully hypothetical worlds of tomorrowville and what-if yesterdayland:
    Star Wars as religion:
    Star Trek as religion:
    Lord of the Rings as religion:
    Harry Potter as religion:

  21. What David said inside the quotes.
    “It’s interesting you argue that we all do not need to believe the same thing to get along in the world, yet you characterize my aunt’s response as being one of “misunderstood fear.” I don’t think she believes she was acting in fear. She was acting to protect her child from what she believed was a Satanic influence.”
    I think that might be me expressing myself badly.
    I should have expanded my point as well or put it in context.
    I used the word fear because I suspect she was afraid/fearful of what the consequences were of you being exposed to Satanism. A lot of people fear what they cannot understand or relate to.
    “Are all beliefs equal in the realm of getting along with each other?”
    I think when we are trying to get along with each other we have to start with facts and realities – one of those will be who believes what, another will be race, another will be sex.
    First fact being – we have to find a way to get along (we are running out of space on this planet) in spite of our differing beliefs – that is the challenge.
    “I certainly did not choose this life and it certainly was not given to me!”
    That question was in response to this part of your previous answer.
    “He taught me to read auras and he told me in my previous life I was a sail maker and I was run over by a carriage on a cobblestone street before I was given this life.”
    It was a genuine question – I have met many that believe that you can choose your parents and place and time of birth in order to complete the tasks or path for any given life.

  22. budgie —
    Thanks for your response, but it is again difficult to argue a point when you do not accept the definition of “predestiny” because the world is explicit in its meaning and, in order for us all to understand each other and to talk about the same thing, words need to have agreed meanings or we end up talking about nothing.
    Oxford’s Definition:

    (of God) destine (someone) for a particular fate or purpose
    — Calvinists believed that every person was predestined by God to go to heaven or to hell.
    — determine (an outcome or course of events) in advance by divine will or fate : she was certain that fate was with her and everything was predestined | [as adj. ] ( predestined) our predestined end.
    ORIGIN late Middle English : from Old French predestiner or ecclesiastical Latin praedestinare (see predestinate ).

    Webster’s Definition:

    Etymology: Middle English predestinacion, from Late Latin praedestination-, praedestinatio, from Latin praedestinatus (past participle of praedestinare to predestine) + -ion-, -io -ion
    1 the act of predestinating or the state of being predestinated : FATE, FOREORDINATION, DESTINY — the freshman comes with a kind of fatal predestination — Irwin Edman.
    2 the theological doctrine that all events throughout eternity have been foreordained by divine decree or purpose; especially — the foreordination by God of each individual’s ultimate destiny particularly to eternal life

  23. Press away!
    I think reincarnation is interesting but I respond better to things I directly experience or learn by knowing or that I can innately discover through the method of them mind. I know I can read auras. Being a sail maker in a previous life — not so sure.
    I do know I did not pick my parents. I’m sure there are better choices out there — but birth is scientific and cold and hard and you do the best you can with the environment around you and you hope there will come a time when you are better able to maneuver the odds in your favor without losing yourself in the process.

  24. David,
    Thank you for those definitions. I do not believe that any Divine entity determines the course of our lives in advance.
    I think the word that describes the way I am thinking is “predetermined” as opposed to “pre-destined.
    1. To determine, decide, or establish in advance: “These factors predetermine to a large extent the outcome” (Jessica Mitford).
    2. To influence or sway toward an action or opinion; predispose.
    I believe the way we react to situations in our lives is predetermined by our earlier experiences. Those earlier experiences being a result of our basic human instincts reacting with our environment.

  25. Can you read auras over a distance – ie without visual/eye contact – again I have met people that claim to be able to do both. Do you also get the vibrations/see the fluctuations as well as see the colour fields.
    I remember breiefly meeting someone in a gallery in San Fransisco who was using a camera that claimed to photograph auras – I am going to have to go and look that up now!

  26. Nicola —
    I was taught auras had to be read in person. I can’t imagine how you’d be able to see the colors remotely unless you were making it up. The colors shimmer based on hue. I get vibrations from shaking hands, not auras.
    I’ve seen some of the aura photographers profiled on TV and I find them, and their methods, unconvincing. A photographic lens is not a human eye.

  27. Again I think my choice of words let me down – maybe I should have said pulse rather than vibrate – or it could be that I see energy combined with auras – it is definately more than a shimmer.
    I can sense some people remotely – particularly if I have other connections with them or have met them in the past – but I cannot do it cold on photographs like some have claimed.
    I too prefer to use my own sight/senses – the concept of photographing auras is fascinating – but I am sure it is much more than a *visual* thing – almost like another sense.

  28. Hi Nicola!
    Yes, I think these kinds of readings are better in person and they are especially accurate if the other person is a willing participant in the event.

  29. The only ‘predestined’ factor, I believe is the day I was born and the day I would die. The path in-between is a choice. At least, I see it that way.
    Back home, my grand parents did a horoscope for me when I was born. In that horoscope my life was mapped like a typical Indian middle class one – I read it when I was 11, and smiled.
    It is easy accept certain choices of life in the name ‘destiny/pre destiny’ – you will beat yourself up less if you can believe in it. Moreover, you don’t have to come out of your comfort zone if you succumb to the pressure of your ‘destiny’.

  30. When I was born it was not my ‘conscious’ choice.
    The rest was and is ‘conscious’. I am not sure whether pre-destiny can be a matter of conscious choice or not, or the fact that I am conscious is predestined…I don’t know.
    Accoeding to my horoscope I was supposed to follow a very typical path of life…which I didn’t.

  31. David, I don’t know when I will die…at least not consciously…
    I have so many thing to do! And if I die tomorrow…? Well, that is not my choice either! Predestined? May be!

  32. So, Katha, in order to follow your argument — are you saying those who died when their planes crashed into the World Trade Center were predestined to die in that manner on 9/11?

  33. David,
    I don’t know any easy answer for this. Probably there is none.
    If I die in a similar incident tomorrow, my friends and families will seek comfort in the notion that it was predestined – beyond their control.
    I was supposed to be dead at the age of 8; I suffered from severe ‘black measles’ (aka ‘hemorrhagic measles’) that kept me in bed for almost six months. At least I was supposed to become a deformed person considering the options for the treatment provided.
    I was supposed to be dead at the age of 11 when I had a fatal brain injury that caused internal hemorrhage.
    What if I was dead? How, why did I survive? Apparently I got lucky to get the right doctor with the right mentality at the right time….
    Deep down….I don’t know.

  34. I am still confused…
    Because, when I look back I feel like none of those were my choice..

  35. I guess we need to reverse your argument in your first comment where you said the in-between points where choice and only the end points were predestined.

  36. Hi David:
    You say “Predestiny requires some sort of divinity in order for it to happen.”
    If one drops a rubber a ball, on a hard floor, it seems predestined to fall, then bounce etc. in a predetermined or predestined way. Divinity does not have to enter the picture. In a similar way all objects “non-alive” behave this way. Plants and animals can also be seen in this light. It is only with humans that people start to consider “free-will” as entering the picture. There is no way for a human to demonstrate he/she has “free will”. Why not accept the more simple explanation (destiny).

  37. David,
    All those suffering were not my choice but ‘bouncing back’ as a healthy human being by blindly following medical advice were mine (which was very hard to follow…)… 😀
    or else, my story would have been different!
    in fact, there would have been no story by me today if my doctor would have hesitated to use certain medication on me – he took a chance, because he was unable to diagnose it properly, he confessed later.
    I wonder,is it a combination of both?

  38. fred —
    We previously defined predestiny in this thread and our definition for this discussion requires the God Head or the Spirit Guide or a Divine Intervention.

  39. Hi Katha —
    I am with you as you wonder on the topic — I am more of the free will band than the predestiny gang — but those who support Divinity and a greater plan you do not control would argue your recovery and your doctor’s chance were merely predestiny tests to make sure you were on the right path.
    The most interesting thing about Predestiny is that it is always 100% correct in the history of one’s life but rarely successful in determining future events — unless and until, that is — they happen, and then they were part of the plan all along.

  40. Hi All
    I feel it was put best in the film ‘Forest Gump’ when Forest Gump said,
    “I don’t know if Mama was right or whether it was Lieutenant Dan. I don’t know if we each have a destiny, or if we’re all just floating around accidental-like on a breeze, but I think, maybe it’s both, maybe both are happening at the same time.”

  41. Well said, Paul, and welcome to Urban Semiotic!
    I’m not a big Forest Gump fan where life happens to you instead of you happening to life, but your quote is quite prescient and on point!

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