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Book Review: Destiny Vs. Choice: The Scientific and Spiritual Evidence Behind Fate and Free Will by Marie D. Jones

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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.

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About Dr Joseph S Maresca

I've taught approx. 34 sections of collegiate courses including computer applications, college algebra, collegiate statistics, law, accounting, finance and economics. The experience includes service as a Board Director on the CPA Journal and Editor of the CPA Candidates Inc. Newsletter. In college, I worked as a statistics lab assistant. Manhattan College awarded a BS in an allied area of operations research. The program included courses in calculus, ordinary differential equations, probability, statistical inference, linear algebra , the more advanced operations research, price analysis and econometrics. Membership in the Delta Mu Delta National Honor Society was granted together with the degree. My experience includes both private account and industry. In addition, I've worked extensively in the Examinations Division of the AICPA from time to time. Recently, I passed the Engineering in Training Exam which consisted of 9 hours of examination in chemistry, physics, calculus, differential equations, linear algebra, probability/ statistics, fluids, electronics, materials science/structure of matter, mechanics, statics, thermodynamics, computer science, dynamics and a host of minor subject areas like engineering economics. A very small percentage of engineers actually take and pass the EIT exam. The number has hovered at circa 5%. Several decades ago, I passed the CPA examination and obtained another license in Computer Information Systems Auditing. A CISA must have knowledge in the areas of data center review, systems applications, the operating system of the computer, disaster recovery, contingency planning, developmental systems, the standards which govern facility reviews and a host of other areas. An MBA in Accounting with an Advanced Professional Certificate in Computer Applications/ Information Systems , an Advanced Professional Certificate in Finance and an Advanced Professional Certificate in Organizational Design were earned at New York University-Graduate School of Business (Stern ). In December of 2005, an earned PhD in Accounting was granted by the Ross College. The program entrance requires a previous Masters Degree for admittance together with a host of other criteria. The REGISTRAR of Ross College contact is: Tel . US 202-318-4454 FAX [records for Dr. Joseph S. Maresca Box 646 Bronxville NY 10708-3602] The clinical experience included the teaching of approximately 34 sections of college accounting, economics, statistics, college algebra, law, thesis project coursework and the professional grading of approx. 50,000 CPA examination essays with the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants. Additionally, membership is held in the Sigma Beta Delta International Honor Society chartered in 1994. Significant writings include over 10 copyrights in the name of the author (Joseph S. Maresca) and a patent in the earthquake sciences.