Opinion

Embrace uncertainty instead of fixating on fate

Despite beginning my Hebrew school education in third grade, reading the Torah excerpts, studying how to write the characters and dutifully attending high holiday services – well, maybe not so dutifully – I found my true religious scripture in my junior year of high school: “Fate” by Ralph Waldo Emerson.

I never really found refuge in religious pillars, but I couldn’t articulate why. But Emerson could.

“The Spartan, embodying his religion in high country, dies before his majesty without a question,” he wrote. “The Turk, who believes his doom is written on the iron leaf in the moment when he entered the world, rushes on the enemy’s saber with undivided will. The Turk, the Arab, the Persian, accepts the foreordained fate.”

This was the aspect of religion I could never quite reconcile: fate. I rejected the notion that there were guideposts I had to follow to achieve the favor of the higher power. As I thought about it, I realized that nearly every theistic religion included some level of predetermination.

Calvinism, in fact, boils this notion down to two fates: “unconditional election,” a destiny resulting in salvation by grace, or “reprobation,” eternal damnation for all of one’s sins. Though this is a bit of an extreme example, if you peel back some layers of modern religions, such as sects of Christianity, Islam and Judaism, it is evident that they all maintain some variation of this ideal.

Growing up and developing my own views, I have tended to side more with a spiritual perspective, which, to me, meant there was some force beyond human understanding overseeing the trajectory of the world. I never imagined this force to necessarily be a person but perhaps simply a series of serendipitous events.

When I find myself needing somewhere to turn in hard times, I think of how my future is unknown, limitless. I might end up a Nobel laureate. I might end up a fry cook at Wendy’s. I might end up in the glamour of New York City. I might end up in the deserts of Phoenix. But wherever I end up, it will not be contingent on the master plan of an omnipotent being or on the quantity of my sins or acts of charity. I find the unknown and the lifelong support of some amorphous spiritual power to be even more mysterious and motivating than an identifiable god figure.

I think Emerson said it best.

“Providence has a wild, rough, incalculable road to its end, and it is of no use to try to whitewash its huge, mixed instrumentalities, or to dress up that terrific benefactor in a clean shirt and white neckcloth of a student in divinity.”

For me, the intricacies and unexplained phenomena of life can be the most comforting belief of all.

Dana Munro is a sophomore majoring in musical theater.

Featured photo courtesy pixabay user pixel2013.

December 1, 2017

Reporters

Dana Munro


Around the Web
  • Miami Herald
  • UM News
  • HurricaneSports

The Hurricanes wrapped up spring with a big, as in 6-5 and 290 pounds, surprise on Saturday. Four-st ...

Spring ended Saturday for the Miami Hurricanes, with hundreds of UM football alumni and family membe ...

One day left for the youngsters to show University of Miami coach Mark Richt what they can do. One d ...

Former Miami Norland High star Zach Johnson is coming home for his final year of college basketball. ...

They have been feted and adored for years by football fans from coast to coast. But legends Frank Go ...

The Energy and Conservation Organization was recognized with the 2018 Roberta “Bosey” Fulbright Foot ...

The Brazilian judge whose office spearheaded a massive corruption and bribery investigation said tha ...

The director of the University of Miami's Osher Lifelong Learning Institute, who passed away Ap ...

Business Professor Patricia Abril, and Trustee Stuart Miller receive Faculty Senate's highest h ...

The No. 17 Miami women's tennis team wrapped up the regular season with its sixth straight vict ...

The University of Miami men's tennis team dropped its final Atlantic Coast Conference contest o ...

Frydlova and Grimstad each record 3-over 75 Sunday; Weber leads UM in 12th place. ...

The Hurricanes' rotation saved its best for last. ...

Sean Grossman broke the 30-minute mark to set a school record in the men's 10,000m at the Virgi ...

TMH Twitter
About TMH

The Miami Hurricane is the student newspaper of the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Fla. The newspaper is edited and produced by undergraduate students at UM and is published weekly in print on Tuesdays during the regular academic year.