I've been thinking about fate a lot lately, I decided to write down my thoughts. Tarun (one of my colleagues) sees life as a pilgrimage where only significant points are identified that we have to go through. The rest is up to us. So it is determined where we go, but how we get there depends purely on ourselves and our free will.
Basically, I agree with that view, BUT... One gloating thought won't let me sleep. Let's stay close to the road and look at one little guy who's standing at a crossroads deciding which way to go. The one on the left (comfortable, short, simple), or the one on the right (longer and less simple)? By free will, he selects (for example) the one on the left.
But come to think of it, could he have made a different choice? After all, it is (like any other human being) a creature with some preferences, life experiences and opinions. What if we let him choose again under the same conditions, that is, without remembering the consequences of his previous decision? Wouldn't it end up with him always choosing the same path, because his freely decisive brain would eventually come to the same conclusion?
Let us remember the moment when we did something that we are still ashamed of today. We wouldn't make a similar mistake today, we're learned now, but then? Was that person in the past---who, by some coincidence, bore our name? Was he able to do anything differently at the time with his experience and opinions? (On the other hand, to say strictly 'no', it is a kind of smack across our face...)
Let's move on. Let's take it a little more technical and imagine a device — a huge hard drive — on which it is possible to store a perfect copy of the world (world=everything; that is, life, the universe and ... and all). We stored a copy of the world from 1960 on the device. Now we can play it in peace and comfort, just like a video and watch what happens. In principle, there are two options.
In the first case, despite the ideal perfection of the device, there will be something we call chance. So when we launch our copy of the world for the first time, the plot will evolve as we know it in history, but in another case, it may lead to happen some crisis that will turn into World War III, in another attempt the author of this write-up will not be born at all — all as a consequence of the coincidences that ultimately influenced people's free decision-making.
In the latter case, we declare chance only as a crutch, which makes it easier for us to understand systems and relationships so complex that it is impossible for man to recognize them (just as people used to explain lightning with the help of the gods).
So there is no such thing as coincidence, it is just a simplification of something incomprehensibly complex. This would mean that if we ran a copy of our world countless times, we would always get to the moment while I am tapping my philosophical reasoning into the keyboard, even the moment a little later, when you, dear readers, read them.
I'm steering myself to the other option. Please note that nothing I say here excludes the existence of free will (on the contrary), nor directly requires the possibility of predicting the future (but also does not exclude it).
For the more rational concept, I would just like to add that this is not only a nonsensical philosophical problem but that contemporary science, specifically quantum physics, is seriously concerned with this for various reasons and different points of view, and, of course, a philosophy that has been doing this for several millennia and has not yet gone anywhere. So... Are we alone masters of our lives? Or does everyone have a destiny that is not to be escaped, and what is to happen will happen?