Today I am delighted to have YA author Nicola Morgan guest posting on my blog as part of her blog tour to promote her new novel, Wasted, which was released in the UK on 3rd May. Take it away Nicola.
Hello to all Jo’s readers and thank you to Jo! I’m loving hopping all over the place “meeting” new people on this blog tour.
So, Wasted. I want to say something a bit different on each blog and I thought this time I’d say something about what I personally think about Fate, chance and luck. One of the main characters, Jack, is obsessed by them and what control we can or can’t have. For him, everything is a decision, a decision which he often decides by using a coin. He thinks too much, does Jack. I love thinking about “what ifs”, too, but I also believe we have to keep that kind of thinking in a box somewhere in our heads, and live life without thinking too much.
Thing is, not thinking is a decision, too. Not thinking or believing has consequences. It’s as much a decision as believing.
Suppose a fortune-teller told me something about my future? Would I believe it and what would I do? This happens in Wasted. Fantastic Farantella tells Jack and Jess to beware of red and water or things beginning with w. Although they’re spooked by her words, they laugh it off and don’t believe her. But when disaster strikes and water is involved, and someone wearing a red top, and blood, then you wonder. Should they really have avoided red things and things beginning with w? How could they? After all, you can’t go through a day avoiding those things.
I would try not to believe a fortune-teller, because I don’t believe the future can be known – which is one of the ideas behind Wasted. But it would be hard not to think about it, wouldn’t it? And if I was thinking about it, my actions would probably end up being slightly different. And that might have an effect, too. Good or bad – I’d never know.
For example: what if a fortune-teller said that next week I would miss a train. Then, suppose I didn’t believe this but I was careful anyway (because I usually am and maybe because a part of my mind was annoyed about the silly fortune-teller) and I caught every train I wanted. And supposing one of my trains crashed. OR supposing one of the trains that came after it crashed, so that if I’d missed mine I would have been on it… These things can boggle our minds if we think too much. I’ve had lucky escapes that I’ve known about (I blogged about them on Tues May 4th and if you’ve got your own stories of chance, let me know over there!) but I’ll never know how many other lucky escapes I’ve had. Or how many fabulous things I’ve missed. It’s the same for everyone. Tiny events affect us in ways we can’t control.
On Tuesday 11th I’m blogging about Oedipus –there was a man who shouldn’t have listened to a fortune-teller! Ended up killing his father, marrying his mother and poking his own eyes out with a burning stick. Euwww.
Thing is, there are two aspects to “Fate”. Whether it exists (ie: whether our future is set down and unavoidable) and whether it can be predicted. So, the questions are, first, is it already decided by fate whether I am going to eat some chocolate in the next hour; and second, could anyone predict it?
Actually, that raises interesting questions itself. If it’s set down by fate that I’m going to eat the chocolate, I can’t have any control over it. Therefore, it’s not my fault if I do. Now, THAT is a dangerous situation, if it’s true.
But if something tiny like me eating a piece of chocolate is set down by Fate, then everything in the world must be. And that entirely doesn’t make sense in any way.
When things don’t make sense in any way, I reject them. There’s a philosophical device called Occam’s Razor, which says that if you have several theories for something and you can’t prove one over the other, you should go for the one that has the fewest number of arguments against it. Fate has huge numbers of reasons against it; free-will / choice makes more sense (though it’s not perfect). Therefore, I believe we have free-will over our actions and that fate does not rule us.
By the way, I predict that I am not going to eat the chocolate in the next hour. And I know I’m right because I can control my arm. (With difficulty!!)
Copyright © Nicola Morgan 2010
Thank you, Nicola, for such an interesting and thought provoking guest post! What do you think? Are you a believer in fate or free will?
Be sure to check out Nicola's website and her Wasted blog. My review of Wasted has been posted after this guest post, so check it out!