Day 348 of the Calendar Year

Is it your time to go or the pilots time to go? I had an aunt who refused to fly anywhere no matter the circumstances or situation. I was young and naïve and tried reasoning with her. I told her about the airline safety facts and how airlines per mile traveled were much safer than automobiles. None of my rational persuasion had any influence. Finally, I resorted to an irrational or emotional argument. I said “well, if it’s your time to go, it’s your time to go.” Without batting an eyelash, she replied “yeah, but what if it’s the pilots time to go.” Stumped by this counter-intuitive logic, I gave up. Was this a battle between fatalism and realism or between rationalism and irrationalism? Was my aunt the fatalist or was she the realist? Was she rationale or irrational? Can you prevent your death by playing it safe or is your death already in the cards?

In the story “Appointment in Samarra”, a sheik finds out that Death is looking for him in the marketplace. He grabs a horse and rides quickly away to another town called Samarra, only to meet Death there. Somewhat surprised, the sheik asks Death what he is doing there and receives the reply that “I had an appointment to meet you here today.”

Can we escape fate or are our fates already decided? Would it make a difference in how you lived your life if you knew the answer to this question? Would you take more chances or less? Would you ride a motorcycle, skydive, scuba dive or climb mountains? Do you act like you could die tomorrow or do you act like you will live forever? How many risks do you take in your life? Do you think you are a fatalist or a realist? Are you trying to escape your “appointment in Samarra”? Or are you ignoring your appointment?

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