Destiny Explained (Probably)

Destiny can be explained as a statistical probability that something will happen. There are real real-world things that exhibit order and randomness at the same time and they make good examples of how destiny can operate without magic or mystery.

is destiny or luck and fortune your future life?
a plot of a mathematical calculation repeated millions of times

What are Chaotic Systems?

Chaotic Systems are processes that have unpredictable outcomes from moment to moment. Examples of this are:

  • The weather
  • Stock market prices
  • Predator and prey populations

In such systems, the current system state is highly sensitive to previous states, and they quickly become unpredictable.

The accompanying images have been created by running a computer algorithm millions of times, feeding the results at each step back into the algorithm as inputs for the next step. A coloured point is drawn at a location corresponding to the result. The only way to calculate the correct result for any step along the way is to calculate all of the prior steps one at a time. There is no way to calculate a single result in one pass.

Our Lives are Like Chaotic Systems

The patterns in your life have similarities to the behaviour of chaotic systems. We are born with innate sensibilities inherited from our parents, and our behaviour is also modified to some degree based on what we learn during our lives. This mix is complicated by your physiology that can influence your level of extroversion, happiness and energy among many other things. In addition, your value system has been growing in tandem with these factors all the while. It’s quite a complicated mix, and out of it all comes decisions in response to stimuli.

The overall result of this is what we would consider stereotypical behaviour. This can be applied to a person, family, village, town, city, region, country.

Although there are many variables, they don’t change radically very often and we generally make similar decisions when faced with similar choices. The decisions become ingrained and form a pattern that defines the type of person you are to your friends, family and acquaintances.

Chaotic Systems are Not Completely Unpredictable

You can see from the images that the patterns are complex but they are not entirely unpredictable. There are regions where the calculated result will never go, leaving a completely black background colour. The figure loops back and forth chaotically, but the final result is a pattern that never exceeds invisible limits set by initial values.

In the same way, the decisions you make in your life take you into orbits that vary slightly but are repetitive and make their own patterns. As particular circumstances arise in your life, your response to them will be broadly the same and the likely consequences follow. There are things you do often. There are things you will never do.

For example, if you have a physiology that is less sensitive to stimuli than average, you will be seeking a higher level of excitement through risky sports. That orbit will be part of your life pattern, and it also brings with it a higher likelihood that you will have a sports injury. It wasn’t just bad luck that you twisted your ankle on a ski slope, that was preceded by an interest in skiing, a willingness to try more difficult slopes and surfaces perhaps and for example perhaps a less committed attitude to learning how to ski properly first.

Destiny is Probability

The kind of destiny I have been describing here is based on probabilities that are associated with each moment of your life. It’s a statistical destiny that doesn’t prescribe when, where and how things will happen. It describes a set of likelihoods and preferences that mix with your circumstances to fulfil potentials that you yourself create. That won’t remove the possibility of an external event affecting you, but it does paint a picture of how your life will unfold if left alone.

You arrive in situations that you have influenced, failed to avoid or are attracted to with a set of preferences that has a scope in terms of cause and effect.

Your skills, preferences, fears and quirks create probabilities that shape the path before you. In order to avoid some of the negative outcomes you may repeatedly experience, you may need to change some of the fundamental beliefs you have. The beliefs shape your attitude, which sustains your behaviour and triggers responses that can build circumstances that promote events.

In addition, the probabilities for events to unfold are not limited to a single moment. The orbits in your life are cyclic and the opportunity for a particular consequence to occur will reappear repeatedly in an ever-changing context.

Change Your Thinking for Better Results

On a simple level, it’s like saying that if you make a change in your life you will get different results. However, the mathematical illustrations shown here do correctly indicate (in my opinion) that all of your life is involved in guiding the pattern you are creating. The simple conclusion leaves out the extent of the influence of the sum all the parts. The results are complex and subtle. You probably won’t get a significant change in your path without changing your belief, attitude and behaviour together. You may need to change things that appear to be unrelated.

The Butterfly Effect

This video illustrates the sensitivity of the future to past events.


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