Fate steps in and sees you through

I realize that it might not win me any coolness points to use a quote from Jiminy Cricket as the title of a blog post. Still, it’s probably the right thought to start off today’s discussion.

I’ve been thinking about fate. A general goes to war, makes some daring decisions based on inspired guesswork, and wins the war. The general is lionized, celebrated as a hero, and goes down in history as a great and inspiring personage.

Another general, in a different time and place, makes essentially the same decisions, based on the same imperfect information, but this time things don’t work out so well. The war is lost, the enemy triumphant. This general is branded as a coward and a traitor — or worse, an incompetent.

We make decisions all the time based on incomplete information, relying on our intuition to fill in the gaps. Sometimes things work out great, and sometimes not so great. Nearly always, we lay the credit or blame at our own feet.

Why do we do this? What is it about our human nature that drives us to insist that everything which happens to us was due to our own agency — either our own genius or our own damned fault?

Maybe, win or lose, life is just more interesting that way.

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