Amor Fati: A Heathen Argument For Faith…

This post contains:

  • An ancient Greek idea that could potentially change your life,
  • the real reason it doesn’t matter if something is true or not, and
  • a whole slew of zen ninja demon-slaying monkeys.

Welcome, to my parlor.

Welcome, to my heathen argument for faith.

‘Amor Fati’

‘Amor Fati’ is a Latin phrase used in ancient Greece meaning (approximately) ‘love your fate’.  Essentially, it is the idea and belief that all things necessarily happen for the good, the nearest modern corollary being: ‘Everything happens for a reason.’

To some, this will already be a recognizable and firmly-entrenched belief.  To others, it may smell like a wicker basket chock-full of purple hippie crystal woo-woo.  But don’t dismiss it out of hand just yet.

Because beliefs, like many other things, are malleable.  They are not set in stone.  Our beliefs are subject to our conscious choice.  We can literally choose to ‘change our mind’ – a realization which is as terrifying as it is liberating.

And while we can never know for certain if something we believe is objectively true, we can tell whether it is of use in our day-to-day experience.  Does believing it make us happier?  Does it allow us to live better lives?

So if we are indeed truly free to choose our beliefs then wouldn’t it seem sensible to search out and select those that provide the greatest utility for us?

‘Amor Fati’ fulfuls this criteria in spades because, sincerely making the effort to ‘love one’s fate’ facilitates a far greater degree of acceptance in our lives.

When something unexpected, painful, or unwanted occurs, evaluating it thru the lens and filter of ‘Amor Fati’ allows us to fold the event into the tapestry of our life-experience with far greater grace, ease, and speed and with far less suffering than if we choose the path of repression or denial.

As with everything don’t take my word for it.  Try it on for size.  Practice first with the little things.  Practice early, and practice often so, when the hardier demons rise, spewing fire from the belly of the cracked black earth, they’ll find themselves facing the most fate-loving demon-slaying warrior monkey that you’re capable of being.

I do not claim that this choice will always be easy.  Choosing to adopt a belief of this kind requires effort.  It requires trust.  It requires a kind of… faith.

Personally, I do not identify as religious in any traditional or secular sense but, heathen tho I am, in this case at least…

…I also find myself to be a man of faith.

Farewell,

J


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47 Replies to “Amor Fati: A Heathen Argument For Faith…”

  1. Yes interesting. Is a simply thing, so important to remind and so important to refresh sometimes.. Maybe a good way to connect with this beautiful geometry ( that is the scaffolding of phenomenal world) is the FAITH before going to sleep and the THANKFULNESS when we wake up.. Thank you for the article James

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Awesome and well thought out post. I like your ideas presented here. Raised in the Christian faith, i am now trying to expand my horizons and break out of the box so to speak. Your post gives me much to ponder on today. I like the idea of loving your fate. But i especially like from where you approach this, as someone who is not coming from a specific area of religious thought. It allows me to think more openly. Thank you for this amazing post.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. This means a lot to me, it really does.
      Thankyou very much, both for reading and for taking the time to send this lovely thought out to me.
      I am very glad you found something of value in the piece, and you made me smile.
      Have a great night,
      – J

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I’m late in responding because I have been busy and wanted to express my thoughts coherently. One of my favorite teachers used to say, All is a belief and you can change your belief. He was so right, and so are you. Faith has little to do with belief because belief has more to do with the mind and faith, the heart. My faith has stayed with me even as my beliefs have changed. Warm wishes,

    On Fri, Sep 23, 2016 at 1:59 PM, JamesRadcliffe.com wrote:

    > James Radcliffe posted: “This post contains: An ancient Greek idea that > could potentially change your life, the real reason it doesn’t matter if > something is true or not, and a whole slew of zen ninja demon-slaying > monkeys. Welcome, to my parlor. Welcome, to my h” >

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Hey James! I enjoyed reading your post and I have believed this concept for many years; I don’t know why people die, or planes crash, or people get cancer, but I do believe there are reasons. I actually heard something yesterday that adds to this idea. Sometimes when lots of shitty things are happening, we wonder why, but it’s not always about us. Things could be happening to us so we can benefit others, either people we know or people we will meet. This idea helped soften the blow of the pain and made me feel good that I may be helping others. Because I have a complete shit storm in my life right now: I had to move in with my parents, the day before I moved in my father found out his lung cancer returned which he had four years ago, my 16 year old is living here part time and struggling, we are in a new town and the house is in the woods, and I mean in the woods. I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism, I have to have a special ultrasound which may lead to surgery, I had a different us that showed a benign growth, last week my dad came back from sloan kettering to find out our old neighbor and his best friend died in his sleep, we spent the next day down the city at the funeral and with the family, and Sunday I was in a pretty bad car accident. Now please note I am grateful to live in a nice home; I am grateful that I am financially better; I am grateful that I can meditate outside and hear silence; I am grateful for how much my parents are trying to make things nice here for myself and my daughter; I am grateful that sometimes I don’t have to cook.
    On the other hand, my mom has cognitive issues and my dad is going to choose a cancer treatment next week. I am scared of living here and watching them decline. I am hoping to be better off in a year or two to get back to my own place. I do believe God put me here for a reason. I got this book called The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck. It is really good and funny. So I’m learning to not give a fuck about stuff that doesn’t matter and as the author says, save my fucks for stuff that is important. My mother should read it!!! She has a mental break if you leave a plate in the sink!
    Nice to know we are thinking alike…yea yea good minds I know;)
    Traci xo

    Like

    1. Beautiful Traci Halpin,
      I am so sorry to hear of your troubles. I really believe very strongly in the Amor Fati way of thinking – but sometimes, I think it is also OK to just say ‘This SUCKS!’
      I offer you a big hug, and all the love in the world. I hope things get better for you. It is always nice to read your messages.
      Keep your chin up, be strong, and this will change, I promise.
      Another hug, and have a good day,
      – J

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thank you James for your love and hugs!! Yes it does suck! My dad is having his procedure on Thursday and hope he does well. I am 10 percent at fault for the accident but I’m covered. I get my new car today. Everything just seems to be happening so fast at one time; it is quite overwhelming. It seems like my life is in transition and it’s very restless and I keep trying to grab some ground, only to lose it to something else. You made me smile when I read Beautiful Traci Halpin:) Hope you are doing well. Thanks for your support all the way from Scotland; whenever I mention you or your posts I say my Scotland friend on my blog ;-)
        Time to go pick up my new car!
        Hugs and have a good weekend!
        Traci xo

        Like

          1. Thank you my friend who lives in Scotland. Today I got my new car; I love it! If you go to my page you can see a picture of my car at the accident scene. I know they say change is constant and it seems like a chain reaction is happening in my life. I think it’s good, even though it is hard. It feels like I’m in a new phase, and so is my daughter turning 16.
            Thank you James..xo
            Your friend who lives in America.

            Liked by 1 person

  5. “Because beliefs, like many other things, are malleable. They are not set in stone. Our beliefs are subject to our conscious choice. We can literally choose to ‘change our mind’ – a realization which is as terrifying as it is liberating.” –> Scary. My beliefs are my truths because they are ‘true’. The thought that I can just ‘change my mind’ is terrifying. If my truths are no longer true, my belief system is no longer. And then what?
    Not saying you are wrong… but not sure I can wrap my head around it in my present state of mind. So for now –> sorry, yepp you are wrong :)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Haha! I like the way you have expressed this.
      Let me ask you a question. Have you ever changed your mind about anything? Or thought something was true that you later learned was not? This is really just that.
      All I am saying here is, when something unpleasant occurs, if we take a little time, we can choose how we interpret it, and therefore how we feel about it, and how we react.
      No big deal, but it can help.
      Thanks for reading this, and for taking the time to comment, it means a lot to me.
      Have a great day,
      – J

      Like

      1. Yes I have changed my mind about things in the past…
        But when you write about faith and beliefs I go into a deep place… the place where I have God. I am a true believer. But one evening I was in bed and from one minute to the another I no longer believed God was real. Just like that. It was horrible!! After a few days I rationalized my thoughts and there it was… God, faith, my belief system. So I guess I KNOW you are right, one can change their minds, even about deep & powerful things. But since those few days where I ‘lost’ God were terrifying, I have neatly wrapped the experience in a small little package and bombed the hell out of it. It no longer exists. For now I prefer to say “you are wrong” :)

        Liked by 1 person

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