mid-14c., “fate, over-ruling necessity, the irresistible tendency of certain events to come about; inexorable force that shapes and controls lives and events;” also “that which is predetermined and sure to come true,” from Old French destinée “purpose, intent, fate, destiny; that which is destined” (12c.), noun use of fem. past participle of destiner, from Latin destinare “make firm, establish”
Although often used interchangeably, the words “fate” and “destiny” have distinct connotations.
- Fate is about the present, where every decision an individual has made has led them to their present scenario. However, Destiny is the future scenario determined by decisions an individual will make.
- Destiny is used with regard to the finality of events as they have worked themselves out; and to that same sense of “destination”, projected into the future to become the flow of events as they will work themselves out.
- Traditional usage defines fate as a power or agency that predetermines and orders the course of events. Fate defines events as ordered or “inevitable” and unavoidable. This is a concept based on the belief that there is a fixed natural order to the universe, and in some conceptions, the cosmos. Classical and European mythology feature personified “fate spinners,” known as the Moirai in Greek mythology, the Parcae in Roman mythology, and the Norns in Norse mythology. They determine the events of the world through the mystic spinning of threads that represent individual human fates. Fate is often conceived as being divinely inspired.
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