Sandra Benedetto: Quiz: Fate vs. Free Will, or What Would Tom Hanks Do?

Have you ever wondered to what extent you have a fatalistic attitude? Merriam-Webster defines fatalism as “a doctrine that events are fixed in advance so that human beings are powerless to change them.” Take this quiz to find out where you fall on the fatalist-determinist spectrum.

1. If stranded on a deserted island, you would . . .

a. build a raft to get off the island

b. perfect your daiquiri recipe

c. work on your tan, i.e. lay down to die

 

2. If a Zoltar machine made you older, you would . . .

a. locate the machine to reverse the transformation

b. accept the loss of years so you can keep canoodling with that sex kitten Elizabeth Perkins

c. resign yourself to middle age, i.e. death, and lay down on a bunk bed to die

 

3. If charged with bringing a soldier home to safety, you would . . .

a. complete the mission, even if it’s FUBAR

b. do your damndest, but at the end of the day war is war

c. keep an eye out for him, before you lay down in battle to die

 

4. If you’re always in the right place at the right time through the decades, you would . . .

a. leverage those encounters into a high-profile political career

b. not notice

c. be totally unfazed when Death rolls up

 

5. If you were leading a mission to the moon gone awry, you would . . .

a. work with ground control because failure is not an option

b. do what you can before texting a prayer hands emoji to everyone you know

c. cut yourself loose à la George Clooney in Gravity

 

6. If you were a widower dad, you would . . .

a. get a restraining order against the wack-a-doodle who found you via the radio

b. meet pre-plastic surgery Meg Ryan, i.e. your destiny, on top of the Empire State Building

c. die on that houseboat in Seattle waiting for love to come to you, because you shouldn’t have to fly to NY just to find it

 

7. If you were unwittingly exchanging romantic e-mails with your business competitor, you would . . .

a. drop her like a hot potato once you found out, because it would never work

b. recognize that fate was working a double shift that day

c. not be in that position, because you never actually hit “send,” because there’s no point, because you might die tomorrow

 

8. If you were flying a plane that struck a flock of geese, you would . . .

a. save the day by landing on the Hudson river

b. crack jokes over the loudspeaker to lighten the mood while you try to land

c. let autopilot take over, and die with all of your passengers

 

9. If you were an FBI agent in pursuit of a con artist, you would . . .

a. put him in the slammer, by hook or by crook

b. play cat and mouse until it stops being fun

c. be a terrible FBI agent, because you think a criminal that good should be left alone, plus you never wear a bulletproof vest, so you will die in a shootout

 

10. If your doctor said you had six months to live, you would . . .

a. seek aggressive treatment at the Mayo clinic

b. make plans to jump into a volcano as a human sacrifice

c. prepare to die

 

Mostly a answers: You are a determinist through and through. People might describe you as a “go-getter” or a “doer”. You are under the delusion that humans have free will and can control our own destinies. Ha!

Mostly b answers: You have a great attitude. You really know how to make the best of a bad situation. I’d love to spend time with you! If the stars align, we’ll meet someday.

Mostly c answers: You understand that we’re all just floating along at the mercy of the Fates, those cruelly indifferent, but probably hot, sisters. To be honest, you’d never find yourself in any of the above situations. Take Apollo 13, for example. Space exploration is all about finding a place for humans to escape to if we destroy Earth, which will happen sooner rather than later the way things are going. A true fatalist wouldn’t put that kind of effort in just to endure the challenges of life somewhere else. Different planet, same shit, as they say. Sadly, you and I are no Tom Hanks. We are not people of action. You will not hear anybody call us heroes. We won’t be the ones to save the planet, or even a single soldier. Oh, well! Que sera, sera!

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