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Theoretical Fatalism and Practical Fatalism 29 September 2008

Posted by MOZAFFAR in Misc.

The young girl at the park climbs to the top of the wall of ropes. Her father cheers for her to climb over to the other side and climb down. But, she is at the top, looking down, looking at the ropes, looking down, and is afraid to cross. So, she gives up.

When we seriously consider our actions, we see that every action has an intention, and every action has consequences. When we seriously consider the consequences of our actions, we discover numerous unintended consequences. Some of the unintended consequences are beneficial while others are unexpectedly horrible.

The problem of unintended consequences is that they are difficult to predict. And, they are impossible to accurately measure.

Thus, in an attempt to minimize the unintended consequences of our actions, we engage in a sort of “due diligence.” Meaning, we pay attention to the details of our actions and tie loose knots to keep them from unraveling.

But, we still have unintended consequences. Thus, if we start worrying about the harmful unintended consequences of our actions, we cause something far greater to our character: paralysis. That paralysis is Practical Fatalism.

Theoretical Fatalism is the intellectual outlook that argues that no matter how you view it, our actions, and especially our destinies are already known. Theoretical Fatalism sometimes asserts that the Divine, who is Omniscient, has already “written” the entire script of our lives. Theoretical Fatalism works on the notion that everything is known.

Practical Fatalism works on the notion that the real consequence and destiny is unknown. We do not know our future, and the possible harmful unintended consequences are so numerous — as outlandish as some may be — that we paralyze ourselves to the point of impotence.

Practical Fatalism is simply an embedded consequence of fear.

Practical Fatalism is fear.

I take a shower, realizing that the volume of water I am consuming for the shower is simply enormous. I take a shower, realizing the chemicals and containers involved is causing unknown amounts of damage to the world around me; they are damaging the same world I, others, and future generations are depending on. And, it concerns me enough that it affects my thinking, but I do not know what to do.

I am thus paralyzed. I still continue my shower, but I become numb to the problem.

That is the shower. But consider other ventures. I am no longer able to fulfill my dreams because I am too worried about what might happen.

To be continued…if Allah wills.



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