Fate & Barca

That which heaven has once determined,
That which God’s eternal finger
Has upon the azure tablets
Of the sky sublimely written,
Those transparent sheets of sapphire
Superscribed with golden ciphers
Ne’er deceive, and never lie;
The deceiver and the liar
Is he who to use them badly
In a wrongful sense defines them.

– SIGISMUND from Life is a Dream, by Pedro Calderón de la Barca

Life is a Dream is probably Barca’s most famous play. In it, the Spanish playwright tells the story of the King of Poland who imprisons his son from birth to avoid the predictions of astrologers who claim he will take the throne from him. But for some reason he has a change of heart later on in life and releases him to stand trial where the son acts foolishly and is sent back to his tower. The son becomes convinced that the whole trial was a dream but meanwhile, the peasants have risen up and they free him to be crowned the new king.

And so, as Barca did a few centuries ago, I wonder some times whether we have less freewill than we think. I wonder the extent to which everything is predetermined, and if that be the case, I wonder what it means to live a life constantly consciously unaware of the signs that the universe is guiding you and not your own hand.

And if that be the case, I wonder, if we are all predestined to wonder about the things which feel predestined.

Because if it turns out that we are all just, theater, then I’d love to fast forward to the end of the movie to see how it all plays out. I’d like to remain in my seat after everyone stands up to leave, just to see the credits roll and find out who was truly behind this whole production.

To find out whether I was the executive producer and God the director?

Or perhaps He is all those things, and I, just a supporting role in a life that was only a dream.

Like the opening lines from Waking Life:

“Dream is Destiny”


  • mmmmhmmm… Here is something I wondered and constantly wonder…I’ll quote myself and direct you to the original post in the end so you can read some of the comments:

    “…As for the question of whether humans are predestined to enter Paradise or Hell, we must remember that Allah transcends the limits of time. He is All-Knowing of the past, present and future. Thus He knows in advance which path — good or evil — each individual will choose and what will be his or her final destination — Paradise or Hell. But such knowledge does not mean that He makes each person choose a certain path.“

    Isn’t this a contradiction? How does He not make each person choose a certain path? After all, everything is pre-destined and everything is within Allah’s will (which I deeply believe in), for when He created everyone and everything He determined when each would come into this life, the qualities, wealth and nature of each and when each would depart. Also, everything in the universe – whether we’re able to see it or not – is completely subject to the overriding power of Allah…ultimately, nothing what-so-ever can happen outside His will!

    I agree with the fact that we cannot know our future and, to a large extent, we cannot control it…and I also agree that we can make decisions within the limits of what we can control, based on our understanding of the way the world works…so I don’t sit idle and expect things to come to me…I have to actually work towards what it is I want to achieve, perhaps exhaust all possibilites to make it happen..but ultimately, if Allah doesn’t want it to happen, then it will not no matter how hard I try. So basically, my free will isn’t so free, for there is a greater will that controls it – and that is Allah’s will.

    And even if sincere prayers do change the course of how things unfold in our lives, that too is pre-determined. I mean, how do I guarantee that my prayers are sincere? I’ve sincerely prayed for many things, and almost none of which have been answered. Maybe my understanding of sincere isn’t clear? Or perhaps none of which actually happening is Allah’s way of answering my prayers… Who knows best but Allah!

    And believing (?) such makes my experiences, past and days in general a lot more bearable! But that still doesn’t change the fact that I’m confused…confused about my existence, my purpose, events unfolding or lack of…about my life in general…

    Here it is…

  • Iman , about “qadar” or destiny its not allah choose a way, its his future knowledge, so when its written that you will go to Paradise inshallah, its not that allah sent you there, its because allah knows your future, its written, there in “your book”, confusing ? 🙂

    anyway deep post Nas, thnx

  • Naseem, very deep and nicely written.

    I think the few and vague information we know about the other life that does not make sense in our earth conceptions and the different versions among various beliefs what puzzles us most. As every person finds some sense or logic in some other beliefs than his mostly or partly be it any commonly known or discrete beliefs. However, I think that god would judge on good will and deeds, on how much every person moved to maximize the good in the universe within his potential that was endowed or earned.

  • The question was very nicely addressed in the movie “Forrest Gump”. The way the wind plays with the feather is the way destiny plays with us, or does it?!

  • wow, this is back! But…, looks like it’s been deserted for centuries…(rubbing my eyes).. It’s empty except for this post!

  • Nas, what an honor to share the same template (at least briefly) 😀

    Great to see you back up and running. A Nas-less blogosphere isn’t half as interesting.

  • Hi,

    I was going through your blogs and found it quite interesting.

    I write to you from GO, the Business Management Magazine that is published by CPI, Dubai and Images Multimedia India.

    GO’s target audience is young business professionals and management students who are in waiting to be entrepreneurs.

    The magazine’s various sections cover: Management, marketing, industry profiles etc. We also have a section called Doing Business In that looks at living and working in different cities across the world. For our past issues we have covered Dubai, London, Singapore, Mexico, Istanbul and many more.

    This time round we are featuring the city of Amman, and it is in the context that I am writing to you.

    It would be great if I could interview you and get your take on Jordan.

    Looking forward to your swift and positive reply

    Best regards,

    Sana Vishwanath

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