from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Fate (from old Dutch schicksel "fact") or Los (from ahd. , Mhd. (H) lô ჳ " omen , oracle "), ( Latin fatum , Greek μοίρα moira ), in Islam Kismet ( Arabic قسمة, DMG qisma (t) ) is the sequence of events in human life that are perceived as predetermined (skillful) by higher powers or caused by coincidences, and are therefore withdrawn from human freedom of choice.

Use of terms

The term fate has no underlying clearly evaluative meaning. The word Los is used synonymously . Mostly fate is understood as a kind of higher power that decisively influences a person's life without direct human intervention. Examples: “Fate means well with her”, “It was determined by fate”, “Fate took its course” or the stroke of fate . In that sense, it is the epitome of impersonal powers . But the opinion that one can influence one's fate is particularly widespread; therefore, it is also spoken of “mastering one's fate” or “taking one's fate into one's own hands”. The fact that “one should not challenge one's fate” also refers to the possibility of avoiding fateful events or processes.

The attitude towards fate is enough

  • of complete surrender ( fatalism ) to the
  • Belief in its surmountability ( never bow down / show yourself strong / summon the poor / the deity - Goethe ) up to
  • complete freedom of will of the individual ( voluntarism ).


In most cultures, fate is considered an inescapable destination:

In mythology , the idea of ​​fate developed as a personified power (the fate deities Fortuna , Norn , Tyche , Moiren , Parzen , Namtaru ), which dominates both individual life and the course of the world and fate “sends” people.

The idea that fate was predetermined led to an attempt to at least get a hint of it in advance. This concept is based on mantic ( divination ).

Often the belief in fate is embedded or shaped religiously . The assumption that the fate of man lies in the hand of God or an overpowering divine being and is determined or at least guided by him is found in the belief in divine providence , which plays an important role in Islam and Christianity . Depending on how much room for maneuver in decision-making is given to the free will of the person vis-à-vis the predetermined or intended fate, these ideas diverge quite widely and range from an explicit rejection of the concept of fate in many Christian directions to a belief in fate, as emphasized in Islam, for example, up to the idea of ​​a predestination of the salvation of the soul , i.e. the predetermination of the future fate of a person after his death, as it was also taught in Christian theology following Augustine, for example, by Martin Luther , who thus the doctrine of the sole effectiveness of divine grace and the inability of man to earn salvation through good works. In their radical form, which deprives man of any possibility of influencing his fate and participating in his salvation, these ideas become just as much as a philosophical determinism (which postulates that earthly events, including human actions, cannot be influenced by the will and to this extent is related to belief in fate ) rejected in both Christianity and Islam.

Philosophically, the position and evaluation of chance is of importance, which in the belief in fate and providence is often understood or interpreted as divine or fateful fate and partly - as in consistent determinism - is rejected as non-existent (“there are no coincidences”). In contrast to deterministic ideas, the belief in fate emphasizes the inevitability only of the result (the "determination") of a process or a biography, but sometimes allows the individual the possibility of free will decisions, which of course do not influence the occurrence of the predetermined result, at least not prevent it. Classic examples of this paradoxical moment in the worldview believing in fate can be found in the ancient world of legends, for example in the stories of Oedipus or Odysseus , whose protagonists are free in their actions and do everything possible to escape their fateful destiny ( prophesied by oracles ), but ultimately it is precisely through this that they realize their own predetermined fate. On the other hand, strict determinism excludes the existence of free will decisions and thus certain actions from the outset, insofar as it assumes a mechanistic predetermination of all contingent events - including human will and action - by known and unknown causal factors and accordingly less on the result of the determination (the Fate), but rather looking at the strict dependence of all phenomena, including all apparently self-determined life processes, on given causes. The belief in fate and the deterministic worldview are in agreement, however, in the emphasis on the inevitability and lack of alternatives to reality. This can lead to a more passive, fatalistic, at times indifferent or - also ethically - indifferent attitude to life and make the striving for self-determination and world change understood as an illusion.

See also


  • Juana Danis, Erwin Möde : Fate and Myth. Edition Psychosomatik, Munich 1982, ISBN 3-925350-03-9 .
  • Klaus P. Fischer: Fate in Theology and Philosophy. WBG Scientific Book Society, Darmstadt 2008, ISBN 978-3-534-21958-2 .
  • Reinhard G. Kratz, Hermann Spieckermann (ed.): Providence, fate and divine power · Ancient voices on a current topic . Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen 2008, ISBN 978-3-16-149463-5 .
  • Franziska Rehlinghaus: The Semantics of Fate. On the relevance of the unavailable between the Enlightenment and the First World War. Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, Göttingen 2015, ISBN 978-3-525-36724-7 .

Web links

Wiktionary: Destiny  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations