Fate Vs Free will is the most popular debate of all time. Especially in the context of Astrology, this is a very important topic. Let us get deeper into this topic
Where the determinism come from?
All out actions are events in time i.e. whatever actions we perform are events in time. Whatever is an event in time has a cause. The cause is something that has happened in the past and is responsible for the current and future events. Hence, the present events(our actions) are the effects of the previous causes. With this principle, we can say that each one of us doesn't have any control of our actions. Because the cause is what drives the events. Isn't? This is called determinism
Why should one believe in cause & effect theory? The fact is that all science is built on causality. If you throw a ball on the wall it should bounce back to you. Because you have done an act of throwing the ball on the wall, it had created a cause which in turn responsible for the subsequent effect. This is what is famously called Newton's third law of motion. The same principle is the foundation of the law of karma. Our thoughts, actions and intentions are all programmed according to the past cause. The doctrine of Karma is the best proof that supports determinism.
Free will - The other side of the coin
The concept of free will is another side of the coin. Let us see the arguments that are supportive of the concept of free will. Our entire system of Dharma is built on free will. Because you have a choice to choose between good and bad, the Dharma insists we do good instead of bad.
Human guilt is based on free will. We all in life had a feeling of guilt at least once. If there is no free will, why there is a feeling of guilt kick in? We feel guilt because we see that there was a choice that existed between what we have chosen vs what would have been done. Hence we can't deny free will, if god instinctively gives the feeling of guilt then we must have free will.
Why don't we take a middle path?
I personally feel that determinism and free will are not opposite, instead, they can co-exist. In order to exercise free will you need some amount of determinism.
Let me give an example. Think about an automotive braking system. When you press the brake pedal, it pushes the master cylinder and allows the brake fluid to flow under pressure. The pressurized fluid then reaches inside the calliper and wheel cylinder, which then force the brake pads against the revolving rotor to stop the vehicle. All these components are arranged in order to apply brake whenever you need. Without this determinism(components), you can't apply break when you need(free will). In case, if these components are not rigidly arranged, then whenever you apply brakes it may push the brake pad at times and miss sometimes. Then the concept of applying brake(free will) itself will become chaos.
Even our body has some amount of determinism. You can't rotate your hand 360 degrees. There are certain rigid joints in our hands to do actions freely. Hence it is evident that a certain amount of determinism certainly helps in exercising free will.
We saw that the law of karma is a supportive argument for determinism. Despite that, the law of karma also supports some amount of free will. Let me explain how. Let us say your current actions are due to previous causes, what was the cause of previous actions? It is just the previous cause, right? So, if you go back one step behind and behind maybe 100 times or 1000 times then at some point you must reach the first action, right? How did you perform that first action without free will? If there was no free will, then there is no possibility of our very first action that sets in the cause-effect cycle.
The fact, we must understand here is that the moment we have done with our first action some portion of free will is gone. Let us take an example. In a limited over cricket assume that a team has to score 1run a ball. When the first ball becomes a dot ball, then the required run rate will automatically become more than 6. Now, the free will to score 1 run a ball is gone.
I personally see that we do have some portion of free will but we don't have 100% free will. When a cow is tied in a rope, it has free will to go only within the length of the rope. It can't go beyond that. You can nurture a plant to grow to its best potential but whatever you do you can't grow a mango tree with pine seeds. The seed decides its breed no matter what you can't change the breed. But will free will you can either nurture it or destroy it. So, it is logical to say that fate and free will co-exist and support each other beautifully.