Destiny Vs. Choice is about the scientific and spiritual dynamics which
underlie fate and free will. In it, Marie D. Jones does a very effective job of conveying highly complex topics in simple language. For instance, life itself is presented as a collection of choices. Some choices bring us to different circumstances.
Determinism would have us believe that what happens is predictable. Leucippus said: “Everything occurs by necessity.” The principle of Karma recognizes that if we make right choices we will be rewarded for doing so. This is at the heart of Buddhist thought.
Noted personalities are quoted at length throughout Destiny Vs. Choice. For instance, Anthony Robbins stated that: “It is in your moments of decision that your destiny is shaped.”
This is very true. Let us look at some examples. Take the student who has three or four acceptance letters to review and decide between. Each envelope will introduce the student to a different set of experiences with different teachers and school associates. The same is true for home shopping or virtually every major decision we take during our finite lifetime.
Thich Nhat Hanh stated: “We have more possibilities available in each moment than we realize”. This is true because we are free to choose from a plethora of possibilities. Some are good while others are neutral or bad. We can choose a different set of associates or a different career option or investment mix. Each choice can lead to vastly different outcomes either good or bad.
Stochasticism describes a process that is random and non-deterministic with elements of predictability and randomness in the behavior of processes in action. For instance, watch a cat or dog wake up after a deep sleep. The animal may get up on the right side or left side. It may walk over to the owner to start the day or have a sip of water from a dish on the floor. The point is that the sequence of the routine can change from day to day, yet certain types of behaviors are predictable from previous decisions taken by the pet in the same or similar circumstances.
Jones says that death is the great equalizer and that differences exist in how we view reincarnation or life after death. Modern medicine teaches that the agonal phase is a deep descent that happens after a long process of cell
deterioration . Nonetheless, some people do come back from an all but certain death to lead productive lives for decades thereafter. What are the differentiating factors? Are they attitude? Does the patient simply have an insatiable will to live or prevail over virtually every occurrence?
Jones has an extensive section on death which poses many questions that have been debated for centuries. For example, what happens at the point of death? Do we simply die or step into a pre-existing aura for eternity. Death happens differently for many of us. Some die after rising forward suddenly , strenuously gasping for a last breath and falling back onto the pillow for eternity Others pass quietly in their sleep. How do we know that death is coming?
Breathing can become more strenuous. Remembering things can become a long and drawn-out process. Ultimately, we may feel isolated from the rest of the world as though we were in a total vacuum with no sound. If there is fluid built up in the lungs, then that congestion will cause a sound known as the death rattle. Any or all of these things may precede death.
Overall, Jones has produced a fascinating read. Much is left to the imagination. Philosophers, mathematicians, theologians, practitioners in the natural sciences and readers from literally every walk of life will appreciate the contents of this work. Lengthy debates can be held on the concepts contained . The presentation is easy to read and understand for a general readership.