This question has caused fierce debate and has plagued both the science and literary worlds. Fate and Prophecy have both appeared in literature, most notably in Ancient Greek and Roman plays. Two plays that stand out as being based on prophecy are Oedipus Rex and Antigone, both written by Sophocles. Sophocles may have eggagerated certain aspects of fate, but he had many correct observations concerning fate and destiny. I think that everything is determined because free will is just an illusion, time travel depends on it, probability dictates it.
In the play Julius Caesar, Cassius tells Brutus, “Men at some times are masters of their fate. ” But is this true? Can we do anything we chose or is the universe’s fate fixed? The answers to these questions we may never know. But we can guess. In Antigone, Creon is faced with a decision. Should he condemn Antigone to death or should he let her get away with a crime? He feels as if he has a choice between the two. But, he doesn’t. It was determined that he would put Antigone in a cave and try to get her out after contemplating it carefully.
No matter what he did, he could not have defied this. He had the choice between the two, but it was determined that no matter what advice he received from Haemon and Tieresius, he would inevitably choose to put her in the cave. As Oedipus portrayed, you cannot escape fate no matter how you try. The prospect of time travel depends on and proves that everything is determined. If you go back and find out you should have turned left when you turned right and change it, then you may think you have defied fate.
But, you are utterly wrong. Most likely, like Oedipus, you will do exactly what was determined, and step right into the prophecy. Doing this will, in fact, create an alternate quantum reality in which it was fixed to happed that way! (If you want to understand this fully, read about Feynman’s Sum Over Histories in any of Stephen Hawking’s books). The prophet who had spoken to Oedipus about his fate knew what was predestined. If Oedipus had gone forward in time and seen what he had done, he would have tried to avoid that fate.
But, by doing this he would have unknowingly stepped right into fate’s open arms. If you travel into the future, you will experience a sequence of events in a timeline. The only possible explanation for the universe unfolding without you is that everything in what was the present to everything in the future was determined before you left. If Creon could have seen what destruction he would cause, he would have done anything to stop it. But, either way, he would have done what was preordained. You cannot escape destiny even through time travel.
With the happening of each event, the probability of another event taking place either is higher or lower. For instance, when Creon refused to bury Polynices, the probability that Antigone would bury him increased, while the probability that Antigone would live normal, happy lives decreased. Oedipus thought that by going away from his “mother” and “father” the chances of him killing his father and marrying his mother would decrease. But, in fact, they increased. If we go back further, when Oedipus’s parents took Oedipus away from them, they increased the chances Oedipus would fulfill his fate.
With every event that took place in Oedipus’s life, the fact that he would complete his fate seemed more inevitable. The same thing is true in reality. If I get an “A” on this paper, then the chances of me receiving an “A” for my semester grade increase. The same thing pertains to everything else. When Leonard Nimoy took acting classes in college, the probability that he would become Mr. Spock on Star Trek increased. Creon put Antigone in the cave, the probability that he would lose everything he cherished went up.
Everything is connected to everything else. The fact that everything is determined didn’t change any of the actions taken anywhere. Oedipus tried to change his destiny, but he couldn’t. I agree with Spock when he said, “You must have faith that the universe will unfold as it should. ” Even if you know your destiny, you shouldn’t try to bother with changing it because you can’t avoid it. Both Oedipus and Creon demonstrated this. Throughout history and through this essay, it has been proven that everything is determined.
The fact that free will is just an illusion, time travel depends on everything have a preset fate, and every event that happens as a result of another are just some minor examples in this theory. I disagree with Sophocles because I think no matter what we do we can never know what is determined. In a sense, we think we have control over our own fate. But we don’t. Not even methods as radical as time travel can change our fate. So, should we punish people if they cannot help what is determined? I don’t know. If it is determined we will do one or the other.