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Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Are They Really Striving *Against* Destiny?

Legend of Dragoon screenshot on the Moon, text added.
When characters say things like, “We’re going to make our own destiny” or “We’re deciding our own fate now”, the first conclusion that used to flit through my mind was this: they are striving against destiny. These characters don’t want the destiny or fate that’s already been chosen for them; they want something better, more meaningful—or they simply want an end result in which they (or those close to them) are still alive.

But when characters find themselves 'striving against destiny'--preventing the prophetic end of the world, or fully defeating Sin (FFX)--are they honestly striving  against  destiny, or  for  it?

I used to think the idea of striving against destiny was a good one. I mean, the way many video games and novels make it sound, it’s the ONLY path to choose. Choosing anything else would be downright dumb. Or crazy.

Now that I’m a Christian, though, the idea grieves me because when characters reject their fate, they are choosing to strive against God, a Higher Power, a Creator, etc. (which is the point). Of course it bothers me when they, thinking they understand the basic tenets of the universe and the threads of connectivity better than their creator, rebel against him/her/it…but it’s more than that.

It bothers me that they assume the destiny they were given was the real one.

Characters don’t ever seem to consider the possibility that the destiny they’ve been told they must fulfill is a false one. It’s possible, isn’t it?

It’s possible that their true destiny is beyond the false one, and that maybe, just maybe, the false destiny is simply a source of motivation to reach the true one. So really, they could’ve always been destined to ‘save the world’ or ‘defeat sin’…and if it weren’t for the motivation, perhaps their true destiny could not have been obtained.

I’m going to posit from personal experience, philosophical readings, and conversations with others, that destiny is something that you feel deep in your heart—it’s a sense of a deep yearning and a driving force of compulsion that’s present at all times, however intangible.

Of course, I do think that people can attempt to run away from this yearning, and that they can attempt to suppress it…but I believe that the end of such things would be more painful than simply accepting it in the first place.

My point is, if there wasn’t something more to strive for in the first place, why would characters feel such a deep dissatisfaction toward their destiny that they are compelled to fight against it?  If the false destiny was the real one, wouldn’t it make more sense that it be uncontested? Because if it was, the yearning would be quenched—and if it wasn’t, the yearning would still be burning.

So I guess the real question we could ask ourselves when we encounter such situations is this:
Who are characters truly rebelling and/or striving against when they decide to “take fate into their own hands”?

As always, I’m interested in what you have to say! Leave a comment :)

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