15 October 2007


I recently watched a rather interesting movie called Stranger than Fiction. This is about a government employee, played by Will Ferrell who suddenly hears a voice. Specifically, it is the voice of a woman, narrating his life events.

Things suddenly go awry when Will realizes that he will be killed by this narrator, Emma Thompson. So it seems that the audience should exercise an extreme case of suspension of disbelief, so that one can follow this story well. Will goes into this crazy-like phase, and then desperately tries to find this narrator so as to stop his death.

I won't tell you how the movie ended, but all in all, it was a very philosophical movie. It may be billed as a comedy, but it is indeed very philosophical when it comes to addressing the issue of whether humans have control of their lives or not. I find it that the movie is an allegory of sorts, where Will plays the average human, while Emma plays God.

Indeed, if one thinks about it, our lives are affected by a number of factors. First of all, our free will. We are relatively free to decide what to do with our lives. We ultimately choose what to wear for the day, what to eat, what to read, and what careers to choose, among other things. These exercise influence over our lives.

Another factor is the fact that other people control our lives too. Parents tell their children to do things. Friends ask people to do things. Superiors order their subordinates to do things. And lower-status beings try to persuade higher-status beings to do things. These also exercise influence over our lives.

Finally, there is another factor that may or may not influence our lives. Some people say that this does, some say that this does not. I won't argue for one, but I would let my readers decide. This is the idea of a supreme being. Is there a supreme being that pre-determined everyone to where everyone is right now? In short, are we predestined?

Being a human with free will, my personal answer to that is no. I am where I am right now because I chose to be where I am right now. I find that predestination simply is an escapist answer. People who say that it wasn't their choice to be obese, that it wasn't their choice to kill a person, that it wasn't their choice to have cancer, among other things.

Another point against it is that being predestined paints a picture that is contrary to an otherwise loving god. If one were predestined to be good, and another to be bad, wouldn't that be unfair for the people?

So predestination may be wrong, but still, I believe that somehow, there is an element of control that is exerted upon us. If man is not capable of guiding oneself, then isn't that a fact that was preset long ago? That humans will fail without superhuman guidance? Does this mean that whatever we do, without divine guidance, we will fail?

I find it to be similar to a car. The maker says that this car will not run without gasoline. The car then is preset, predetermined to be like that. Humans are just the same.

So, in conclusion, human lives are carved by at least three forces, our own individual desire, the desires of others, and invisible hand of a supreme being.

(The Virgin, standing on a serpent, from my La Virgen de Quito Series)

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