philosophical concept
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Fate is a concept involving Time and circumstances, related to those about Destiny, both usually being associated with ideas of predestination, fatalism, or inevitable predetermination, but not necessarily so.

Fate remains wholly inexorable.
We are spinning our own fates, good or evil, and never to be undone...
See also:


Endure the hardships of your present state,
Live, and reserve yourselves for better fate. ~ Virgil
Fate's book is closed and under seal.
For us, alas! that volume stern
Has many another page to turn. ~ Virgil
Countless choices define our fate: each choice, each moment, a moment in the ripple of time. Enough ripple, and you change the tide... for the future is never truly set. ~ Prof. Charles Xavier/Professor X
  • The dawn is overcast, the morning lowers,
    And heavily in clouds brings on the day,
    The great, the important day, big with the fate
    Of Cato, and of Rome.
  • For whatever reasons, Ray, call it . . . fate, call it luck, call it karma. I believe everything happens for a reason. I believe that we were destined to get thrown out of this dump.
  • There's nothing you can know that isn't known
    Nothing you can see that isn't shown
    There's nowhere you can be that isn't where you're meant to be
    It's easy
  • Let those deplore their doom,
    Whose hope still grovels in this dark sojourn:
    But lofty souls, who look beyond the tomb,
    Can smile at Fate, and wonder how they mourn.
  • There are two futures, the future of desire and the future of fate, and man's reason has never learnt to separate them. Desire, the strongest thing in the world, is itself all future, and it is not for nothing that in all the religions the motive is always forwards to an endless futurity of bliss or annihilation. Now that religion gives place to science the paradisical future of the soul fades before the Utopian future of the species, and still the future rules. But always there is, on the other side, destiny, that which inevitably will happen, a future here concerned not as the other was with man and his desires, but blindly and inexorably with the whole universe of space and time. The Buddhist seeks to escape from the Wheel of Life and Death, the Christian passes through them in the faith of another world to come, the modern reformer, as unrealistic but less imaginative, demands his chosen future in this world of men.
    Can we in any better way reconcile desire and fate?
    • John Desmond Bernal, The World, the Flesh and the Devil: an Enquiry into the Future of the Three Enemies of the Rational Soul (1929) Ch. 1 The Future, pp. 7-8.
  • Many things happen between the cup and the lip.
    • Robert Burton, The Anatomy of Melancholy (1621), Part II, Section II. Memb. 3.
  • Success, the mark no mortal wit,
    Or surest hand, can always hit:
    For whatsoe'er we perpetrate,
    We do but row, we're steer'd by Fate,
    Which in success oft disinherits,
    For spurious causes, noblest merits.
  • Don't let them tell us stories. Don't let them say of the man sentenced to death "He is going to pay his debt to society," but: "They are going to cut off his head." It looks like nothing. But it does make a little difference. And then there are people who prefer to look their fate in the eye.
    • Albert Camus, "Entre oui et non" in L'Envers et l'endroit (1937), translated as "Between Yes and No", in World Review magazine (March 1950), also quoted in The Artist and Political Vision (1982) by Benjamin R. Barber and Michael J. Gargas McGrath.
  • Fate steals along with silent tread,
    Found oftenest in what least we dread;
    Frowns in the storm with angry brow,
    But in the sunshine strikes the blow.
  • Le sort fait les parents, la choix fait les amis.
    • Fate chooses our relatives, we choose our friends.
    • Jacques Delille, Malheur at Pitié (1803), canto I.
  • He has gone to the demnition bow-wows.
  • Fate has carried me
    'Mid the thick arrows: I will keep my stand—
    Not shrink and let the shaft pass by my breast
    To pierce another.
  • Marty, the future isn't written. It can be changed. You know that. Anyone can make their future whatever they want it to be.
  • How a person masters his fate is more important than what his fate is.
  • Adam: Nature mandates that mankind will eventually succumb to its poison. However, humans created their own poison, called medicine. It's delusional to believe you can poison Nature to avoid your fate.
Stiles: No... It's delusional to dismiss people's deaths as "fate."
  • We are spinning our own fates, good or evil, and never to be undone. Every smallest stroke of virtue or of vice leaves its never so little scar. ...Nothing we ever do is, in strict scientific literalness, wiped out.
  • Naomi: Each person is born with their fate written into their own genetic code... it's unchangeable, immutable... But that's not all there is to life. I finally realized that. I told you before. The reason that I was interested in genes and DNA. Because I wanted to know who I was... where I came from. I thought that if I analyzed my DNA I could find out who I was, who my parents were. And I thought that if I knew that, then I'd know what path I should take in life. But I was wrong. I didn't find anything. I didn't learn anything. Just like with the Genome Soldiers... you can input all the genetic information, but that doesn't make them into the strongest soldiers. The most we can say about DNA is that it governs a person's potential strengths... potential destiny. You mustn't allow yourself to be chained to fate... to be ruled by your genes. Humans can choose the type of life they want to live.
    • Metal Gear Solid written by Hideo Kojima, Tomokazu Fukushima, (September 3, 1998)
  • There is no such thing as a historical fatality; there is only a historical nemesis which punishes those who have hesitated to act when action was still possible.
  • 'Tis strange how the heart can create
    Or colour from itself its fate;
    We make ourselves our own distress,
    We are ourselves our happiness.
  • All are architects of Fate,
    Working in these walls of Time;
    Some with massive deeds and great,
    Some with ornaments of rhyme.
  • Everything is preordained. Even my responses.
  • We must go through life so inconspicuously that Fate does not notice us.
  • Fool, don't you know you cannot change your fate.
  • I do not believe in a fate that will fall on us no matter what we do. I do believe in a fate that will fall on us if we do nothing.
  • My fate cries out,
    And makes each petty artery in this body
    As hardy as the Numean lion's nerve.
  • Our wills and fates do so contrary run
    That our devices still are overthrown;
    Our thoughts are ours, their ends none of our own.
  • O God! that one might read the book of fate,
    And see the revolutions of the times
    Make mountains level, and the continent
    Weary of solid firmness, melt itself
    Into the sea!
  • Fates, we will know your pleasures:
    That we shall die we know; 'tis but the time
    And drawing days out, that men stand upon.
  • What should be spoken here, where our fate,
    Hid within an auger-hole, may rush, and seize us?
  • But yet I'll make assurance double sure,
    And take a bond of fate: thou shalt not live.
  • You fools! I and my fellows
    Are ministers of Fate; the elements
    Of whom your swords are temper'd, may as well
    Wound the loud winds, or with bemock'd-at stabs
    Kill the still-closing waters, as diminish
    One dowle that's in my plume.
  • Fate, show thy force; ourselves we do not owe;
    What is decreed must be, and be this so.
  • As the old hermit of Prague … said,… "That that is, is."
  • Human effort can be used for self-betterment and that there is no such thing as an external fate imposed by the gods.
    • Yoga Vasistha (Vasistha teaching Rama), tr: Christopher Chapple, 1984, pp. x-xi with footnote 4
  • Durate, et vosmet rebus servate secundis.
    • 'Endure the hardships of your present state,
      Live, and reserve yourselves for better fate.
    • Virgil, Aeneid (29–19 BC), Book I, line 207. (trans. John Dryden).
  • Vivite felices, quibus est fortuna peracta
    Jam sua: nos alia ex aliis in fata vocamur.
    • Live and be blest! 'tis sweet to feel
      Fate's book is closed and under seal.
      For us, alas! that volume stern
      Has many another page to turn.
    • Virgil, Aeneid, III, 493 (trans. John Conington).
  • The Oracle: You're going to have to make a choice. In the one hand you'll have Morpheus' life and in the other hand you'll have your own. One of you is going to die. Which one will be up to you. I'm sorry, kiddo, I really am. You have a good soul, and I hate giving good people bad news. Oh, don't worry about it. As soon as you step outside that door, you'll start feeling better. You'll remember you don't believe in any of this fate crap. You're in control of your own life, remember? Here, take a cookie. I promise, by the time you're done eating it, you'll feel right as rain.
    • The Matrix, written by Andrew and Lana Wachowski (1999)
  • Wyrd bið ful aræd.
    • Fate remains wholly inexorable.
  • GaeS a wyrd swa hio scel.
    • Fate goes ever as it must.
    • Beowulf, line 455.

Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations

Quotes reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 261-65.
  • The bow is bent, the arrow flies,
    The wingéd shaft of fate.
  • Yet who shall shut out Fate?
  • Things and actions are what they are, and the consequences of them will be what they will be: why, then, should we desire to be deceived?
    • Bishop Joseph Butler, Human Nature and Other Sermons "Sermon VII: On the Character of Balaam", last paragraph.
  • Here's a sigh to those who love me,
    And a smile to those who hate;
    And whatever sky's above me,
    Here's a heart for every fate.
  • To bear is to conquer our fate.
  • Le vin est versé, il faut le boire.
    • The wine is poured, you should drink it.
    • Attributed to M. de Charost. Spoken to Louis XIV, at the siege of Douai, as the king attempted to retire from the firing line.
  • Tolluntur in altum
    Ut lapsu graviore ruant.
    • They are raised on high that they may be dashed to pieces with a greater fall.
    • Claudian, In Rufinum, Book I. 22.
  • All human things are subject to decay,
    And when fate summons, monarchs must obey.
  • 'Tis Fate that flings the dice,
    And as she flings
    Of kings makes peasants,
    And of peasants kings.
  • Stern fate and time
    Will have their victims; and the best die first,
    Leaving the bad still strong, though past their prime,
    To curse the hopeless world they ever curs'd,
    Vaunting vile deeds, and vainest of the worst.
  • On est, quand on veut, maître de son sort.
    • We are, when we will it, masters of our own fate.
    • Louis Ferrier, Adraste.
  • One common fate we both must prove;
    You die with envy, I with love.
    • John Gay, Fable, The Poet and Rose, line 29.
  • Du musst (herrschen und gewinnen,
    Oder dienen und verlieren,
    Leiden oder triumphiren),
    Amboss oder Hammer sein.
    • Thou must (in commanding and winning, or serving and losing, suffering or triumphing) be either anvil or hammer.
    • Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Grosscophta, II.
  • Der Mensch erfährt, er sei auch wer er mag,
    Ein letztes Glück und einen letzten Tag.
    • Man, be he who he may, experiences a last piece of good fortune and a last day.
    • Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Sprüche in Reimen, III.
  • Each curs'd his fate that thus their project cross'd;
    How hard their lot who neither won nor lost.
  • Yet, ah! why should they know their fate,
    Since sorrow never comes too late,
    And happiness too swiftly flies?
    Thought would destroy their paradise.
  • Though men determine, the gods doo dispose: and oft times many things fall out betweene the cup and the lip.
  • Why doth IT so and so, and ever so,
    This viewless, voiceless Turner of the Wheel?
    • Thomas Hardy, The Dynasts, Fore Scene, Spirit of the Pities.
  • ἦθος ἀνθρώπῳ δαίμων
    • Character is destiny.
    • Heraclitus Fragment 119
    • Variant translations:
      Character is fate.
      Man's character is his fate.
      A man's character is his fate.
      A man's character is his guardian divinity.
      One's bearing shapes one's fate.
  • Toil is the lot of all, and bitter woe
    The fate of many.
    • Homer, The Iliad, Book XXI, line 646. Bryant's translation.
  • Jove lifts the golden balances that show
    The fates of mortal men, and things below.
    • Homer, The Iliad, Book XXII, line 271. Pope's translation.
  • And not a man appears to tell their fate.
    • Homer, The Odyssey, Book X, line 308. Pope's translation.
  • With equal pace, impartial Fate
    Knocks at the palace, as the cottage gate.
    • Horace, Carmina, I. 4. 17. Francis' translation.
  • Sæpius ventis agitatur ingens
    Pinus, et celsæ graviore casu
    Decidunt terres feriuntque summos
    Fulgura montes.
    • The lofty pine is oftenest shaken by the winds; high towers fall with a heavier crash; and the lightning strikes the highest mountain.
    • Horace, Carmina, II. 10. 9. (Taken from Lucullus).
  • East, to the dawn, or west or south or north!
    Loose rein upon the neck of—and forth!
  • I do not know beneath what sky
    Nor on what seas shall be thy fate;
    I only know it shall be high,
    I only know it shall be great.
  • Must helpless man, in ignorance sedate,
    Roll darkling down the torrent of his fate?
  • Even if there were exceedingly few things in a finite space in an infinite time, they would not have to repeat in the same configurations. Suppose there were three wheels of equal size, rotating on the same axis, one point marked on the circumference of each wheel, and these three points lined up in one straight line. If the second wheel rotated twice as fast as the first, and if the speed of the third wheel was 1/π of the speed of the first, the initial line-up would never recur.
    • Walter Kaufmann, Nietzsche: Philosopher, Psychologist, Antichrist p. 327
  • Blue! Gentle cousin of the forest-green,
    Married to green in all the sweetest flowers—
    Forget-me-not,—the blue bell,—and, that queen
    Of secrecy, the violet: what strange powers
    Hast thou, as a mere shadow! But how great,
    When in an Eye thou art alive with fate!
  • The karma of cruelty is the most terrible of all. The fate of the cruel must fall also upon all who go out intentionally to kill God's creatures, and call it "sport".
  • Just to save himself a few minutes' trouble, a man does not pay his workmen on the proper day, thinking nothing of the difficulties he brings upon them. So much suffering is caused just by carelessness — by forgetting to think how an action will affect others. But karma never forgets, and it takes no account of the fact that men forget.
  • Fate holds the strings, and Men like children move
    But as they're led: Success is from above.
  • Some things are fixed, some things are in flux. Pompeii is fixed.
    • David Tennant as The Doctor Doctor Who, The Fires of Pompeii, written by James Morgan
  • All are architects of Fate,
    Working in these walls of Time;
    Some with massive deeds and great,
    Some with ornaments of rhyme.
  • No one is so accursed by fate,
    No one so utterly desolate,
    But some heart, though unknown,
    Responds unto his own.
  • A millstone and the human heart are driven ever round,
    If they have nothing else to grind, they must themselves be ground.
  • Kabira wept when he beheld the millstone roll,
    Of that which passes 'twixt the stones, nought goes forth whole.
    • Prof. Eastwick's translation. of the Bag-o-Behar. (Garden and the Spring).
  • In se magna ruunt: lætis hunc numina rebus
    Crescendi posuere modum.
    • Mighty things haste to destruction: this limit have the gods assigned to human prosperity.
    • Marcus Annaeus Lucanus, Pharsalia, I. 81.
  • Sed quo fata trahunt, virtus secura sequetur.
  • Nulla vis humana vel virtus meruisse unquam potuit, ut, quod præscripsit fatalis ordo, non fiat.
    • No power or virtue of man could ever have deserved that what has been fated should not have taken place.
    • Ammianus Marcellinus, Historia, XXIII. 5.
  • It lies not in our power to love or hate,
    For will in us is over-rul'd by fate.
  • Earth loves to gibber o'er her dross,
    Her golden souls, to waste;
    The cup she fills for her god-men
    Is a bitter cup to taste.
  • For him who fain would teach the world
    The world holds hate in fee—
    For Socrates, the hemlock cup;
    For Christ, Gethsemane.
  • He either fears his fate too much,
    Or his deserts are small,
    That dares not put it to the touch
    To gain or lose it all.
    • Marquis of Montrose, My Dear and only Love. Reported in Napier's Memorials of Montrose as "That puts it not unto the touch/To win or lose it all".
  • Nullo fata loco possis excludere.
    • From no place can you exclude the fates.
    • Martial, Epigrams (c. 80-104 AD), IV. 60. 5.
  • All the great things of life are swiftly done,
    Creation, death, and love the double gate.
    However much we dawdle in the sun
    We have to hurry at the touch of Fate.
  • And sing to those that hold the vital shears;
    And turn the adamantine spindle round,
    On which the fate of gods and men is wound.
  • Necessity and chance
    Approach not me, and what I will is fate.
  • The Moving Finger writes; and having writ,
    Moves on; nor all your Piety nor Wit
    Shall lure it back to cancel half a Line,
    Nor all your Tears wash out a Word of it.
    • Omar Khayyam, Rubaiyat, 71. Fitzgerald's translation. ("Thy piety" in first ed.).
  • Big with the fate of Rome.
  • Geminos, horoscope, varo Producis genio.
    • O natal star, thou producest twins of widely different character.
    • Persius, Satires, VI. 18.
  • "Thou shalt see me at Philippi," was the remark of the spectre which appeared to Brutus in his tent at Abydos [B.C. 42]. Brutus answered boldly: "I will meet thee there." At Philippi the spectre reappeared, and Brutus, after being defeated, died upon his own sword.
    • Plutarch, Life of Cæsar. Life of Marcus Brutus.
  • But blind to former as to future fate,
    What mortal knows his pre-existent state?
  • Heaven from all creatures hides the book of fate.
  • A brave man struggling in the storms of fate.
  • As the bird by wandering, as the swallow by flying, so the curse causeless shall not come.
    • Proverbs, XXVI. 2.
  • He putteth down one and setteth up another.
    • Psalms. LXXV. 7.
  • Fate sits on these dark battlements, and frowns;
    And as the portals open to receive me,
    Her voice, in sullen echoes, through the courts,
    Tells of a nameless deed.
  • I do not believe in a fate that will fall on us no matter what we do. I do believe in a fate that will fall on us if we do nothing.
  • Sæpe calamitas solatium est nosse sortem suam.
    • It is often a comfort in misfortune to know our own fate.
    • Quintus Curtius Rufus, De Rebus Gestis Alexandri Magni, IV. 10. 27.
  • Der Zug des Herzens ist des Schicksals Stimme.
  • Mach deine Rechnung mit dem Himmel, Vogt!
    Fort musst du, deine Uhr ist abgelaufen.
    • Make thine account with Heaven, governor,
      Thou must away, thy sand is run.
    • Friedrich Schiller, Wilhelm Tell, IV. 3. 7.
  • Fata volentem ducunt, nolentem trahunt.
    • The fates lead the willing, and drag the unwilling.
    • Seneca the Younger, Epistolæ Ad Lucilium, CVII.
  • Multi ad fatum
    Venere suum dum fata timent.
  • Yet what are they, the learned and the great?
    Awhile of longer wonderment the theme!
    Who shall presume to prophesy their date,
    Where nought is certain save the uncertainty of fate?
    • Horace and James Smith, Rejected Addresses, By Lord Cui Bono.
  • Two shall be born, the whole wide world apart,
    And speak in different tongues, and have no thought
    Each of the other's being; and have no heed;
    And these, o'er unknown seas to unknown lands
    Shall cross, escaping wreck, defying death;
    And, all unconsciously, shape every act to this one end:
    That one day out of darkness they shall meet
    And read life's meanings in each other's eyes.
  • Jacta alea esto. (Jacta est alea.)
    • Let the die be cast.
    • Suetonius, Cæsar, 32. (Cæsar, on crossing the Rubicon.) Quoted as a proverb used by Cæsar in Plutarch, Apophthegms. Opp. Mor.
  • From too much love of living,
    From hope and fear set free,
    We thank with brief thanksgiving
    Whatever gods may be
    That no life lives forever;
    That dead men rise up never;
    That even the weariest river
    Winds somewhere safe to sea.
  • Sometimes an hour of Fate's serenest weather
    Strikes through our changeful sky its coming beams;
    Somewhere above us, in elusive ether,
    Waits the fulfilment of our dearest dreams.
  • Ad restim mihi quidem res rediit planissume.
    • Nothing indeed remains for me but that I should hang myself.
    • Terence, Phormio, IV. 4. 5.
  • Dare fatis vela.
    • To give the sails to fate.
    • Virgil, Æneid (29-19 BC), III. 9.
  • Quo fata trahunt retrahuntque sequamur.
    • Wherever the fates lead us let us follow.
    • Virgil, Æneid (29-19 BC), V. 709.
  • Fata viam invenient.
  • Perge; decet. Forsan miseros meliora sequentur.
    • Persevere: It is fitting, for a better fate awaits the afflicted.
    • Virgil, Æneid (29-19 BC), XII. 153.
  • Fata vocant.
    • The fates call.
    • Virgil, Georgics (c. 29 BC), IV. 496.
  • I saw him even now going the way of all flesh.
  • "Ah me! what boots us all our boasted power,
    Our golden treasure, and our purple state.
    They cannot ward the inevitable hour,
    Nor stay the fearful violence of fate."
  • Blindlings that er blos den Willen des Geschickes.
  • My fearful trust "en vogant la galère." (Come what may.)
    • Sir Thomas Wyatt, The Lover Prayeth Venus, Vogue la galée. See Molière, Tartuffe (1664), Act I, scene 1. Montaigne, Essays, Book I, Chapter XL. Rabelais, Gargantua, Book I, Chapter XX.
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