The Random Comic Strip

The Random Comic Strip

Words to live by...

"How beautiful it is to do nothing, and to rest afterward."

[Spanish Proverb]

Ius luxuriae publice datum est

(The right to looseness has been officially given)

"Everyone carries a part of society on his shoulders," wrote Ludwig von Mises, "no one is relieved of his share of responsibility by others. And no one can find a safe way for himself if society is sweeping towards destruction. Therefore everyone, in his own interest, must thrust himself vigorously into the intellectual battle."

Apparently, the crossword puzzle that disappeared from the blog, came back.

Monday, May 9, 2011


There are many things in life worth musing over. One of them is the concept of "free will", the other is the concept of "predestination." These are opposites, of course, in so many ways. Let me take the concept of predestination first... What does it mean?

For Catholics, we can turn to this definition:

Predestination (Latin præ, destinare), taken in its widest meaning, is every Divine decree by which God, owing to His infallible prescience of the future, has appointed and ordained from eternity all events occurring in time, especially those which directly proceed from, or at least are influenced by, man's free will. It includes all historical facts, as for instance the appearance of Napoleon or the foundation of the United States, and particularly the turning-points in the history of supernatural salvation, as the mission of Moses and the Prophets, or the election of Mary to the Divine Motherhood. Taken in this general sense, predestination clearly coincides with Divine Providence and with the government of the world, which do not fall within the scope of this article (see DIVINE PROVIDENCE).

I'm not Catholic. But my mother once was, and her mother and siblings remained so plus I had a number of friends who were, so over the years I got a taste of it. It is likely an erroneous one, of course.

It does not matter. The concepts seem opposed to each other. If you have free will then your future is not yet determined but if there is predestination then your future is already written. If you wish to ignore specific religious connotations, the concepts still exist. We have a choice about our futures (optimist) or the path is already laid out (fatalist).

Do you believe in fate? I first started thinking about this concept of fate when I was quite young but was exposed to the concept of the "soul-mate" or "the one" when it came to love. The idea was that everyone had that perfect mate... somewhere in the world. "The one" you were intended to meet and spend the rest of your life with.

It struck my young brain as incongruous (that wasn't the word I used then, I am sure) that one's "soul mate" might be alive and pining for you in some far off land. So many people seemed to find "the one" in their home towns. Sometimes... even right next door.

Then there was the inevitability factor. Fate made sure that your paths crossed. This is also expressed with this phrase: "Everything happens for a reason" or "It was meant to be." And, as I went through my teens and early twenties, I found a number of girls who thought I was "the one." One young lady, heavy into astrology, even managed to chart our stars to show how we were "meant to be." I think these girls were just enamored of the idea of "one true love" and fit things together sort of after-the-fact once we met. I am sure any number of you have come across a potential "one true love" a number of times in your life.

I thought about this concept the other day, Saturday, just after being hit by a golf ball . Here are a few things that crossed my mind:

1. If I had not been standing with my back turned to Pete, I would have seen the ball coming and avoided being hit.
2. Had the ball hit me two inches to the left, it could have crushed my Achilles Tendon.
3. Had the ball hit me two inches to the right, it could have crushed my posterior tablofibular ligament.
4. Had the ball hit me two inches higher, it would have certainly broken my ankle at the talus.

Any of the last three would have left me severely injured. Maybe left me with permanent damage. The ball may be small but it was traveling in excess of 40 MPH and it is quite hard. They aren't replacing ankles just yet. Instead, I have a small round bruise and some minor pain.

So, "fate" not only allowed me to be in the right position at the right time (or wrong time, if you will) so that Pete could get clumsy just at that moment and hit the ball, unwittingly, in such a fashion as to cause me some great pain but not to break anything. I could have shuffled just a little left or a little right and had a much worse injury. The ball could have flown higher and hit me in the back or the head. Yet it didn't.

The "free will" in this was my choosing where to stand. Joe and I had just moved further to the left so as to be clear of a slightly errant (the most likely scenario) shot of Pete's. Had we stayed where we were, neither of us would have been hit.

Call it what you will, I call it "coincidence."


Sightings said...

Hmmm, I think you're lucky! But I know a number of people who've been hit by golf balls (including myself three or four times), and do not know of anyone who got seriously hurt. It can happen, if you get hit in just the right (or wrong) spot, but you'd have to be pretty unlucky. Anyway ... be careful out there!

P.S. Florida and golf? I'd think lightning would pose a bigger problem than golf balls.

Douglas4517 said...

I have been hit by two golf balls in the past 40 years, one hit me in the
back after a second bounce back soon after I first took up the game. It had
slowed its velocity considerably. This incident was the second time. I have
been hit by two baseballs. The first was a pitch that ticked my wrist when I
was maybe 8 years old. The second when I coached a team of 8-10 year-olds; a
line drive that caught the right temple arm of my sunglasses. Neither I nor
the sunglasses were actually hurt.