A recent viewing of “The Adjustment Bureau” left my mind buzzing with thoughts about fate and free will, a subject that interests me deeply. It doesn’t matter how the plot plays out; a film that tackles the nature of human agency is enough to get me going intellectually.
I’ve spent a great deal of my life feeling my way through the world. Some conditions and experiences I’ve created on my own, or at least I think I have. Some parts of my life simply have happened to me, out of my control—or at least it appears this way. The truth is that I have no idea what I’ve chosen versus what’s chosen me.
Many times, when I’m wondering if I made a choice solely on my own, or if the universe or some higher force pushed me toward a decision it “wanted” me to make, I look beyond. Way beyond.
“You’ll find out the truth about life one day—after death,” I tell myself. This comforts me briefly, for I soon realize that even if this were true I’d be unable to do anything about my existence, being dead and all.
Perhaps I’ll never realize the extent of my agency. Perhaps knowing would alter how I experience the world. Perhaps pondering big questions is enough to keep me going, pushing through the bad and relishing the good.
I’ll end with a quote from another movie, the 1994 Tom Hanks classic “Forrest Gump.”
Ever the philosopher, Forrest declares in the film’s final moments: “I don’t know if we each have a destiny, or if we’re all just floating around accidental-like on a breeze, but I—I think maybe it’s both. Maybe both is happening at the same time.”