“No fate but what you make”

By Matt Perryman

That’s a line from the now-ancient Terminator 2, one of the best of the 80s action films (if not the top contender).


The heroes manage to change the history of the future and avoid the apocalypse of Judgment Day. The theme “no fate” weaves through the film.


That’s a sharp break with the 1984 original, which shows our heroes locked into an unavoidable time-loop. You can’t make a fate that is made for you.




Marcus Aurelius, Roman emperor and Stoic philosopher, gave us the Latin phrase amor fati.


Love fate.


The Stoics get a rap for being fatalists. You aren’t in charge of anything. Life happens to you, and you suffer through it.


There’s no fate to make, only fate to endure.


That’s not the right way to look at it.


Amor fati reminds us that there is nothing gained from negative responses to what happens. Yes, there will be frustrations, obstacles, setbacks, challenges, and great disasters. None of the world’s evils can force you to respond with those petty emotions that cause you misery.


Better to accept what happens, all that happens. Accept it, and even show gratitude.


That’s hard to do even in ordinary cases. Could you imagine responding with calm acceptance after a serious tragedy? It’s hard for us to even talk about such things. You’d be called cold, cruel, a monster.


Which is exactly why we need it.


The strength that comes with total detachment from events is the same strength that allows you to live free from the crushing weight of popular opinion.


The Stoics did not see us locked into a cycle of victimhood.


We don’t make our fate because most of life is outside our control.


But within our tiny sphere of freedom, we can think, choose, and act as we will.


Much of our fate happens to us… and our choices and actions happen to fate.


It’s not one or the other.


You endure what you must, and you change what you will. There are no guarantees, certainly no absolute control.


But we can always decide and act.


Amor fati means to love fate. To love fate is to participate in making it.



Matt Perryman


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