Destiny: the events that will necessarily happen to a particular person or thing in the future
Fate: the development of events outside a person’s control, regarded as predetermined by a supernatural power
In other words: Is there any point in anything?
We’ve all seen media where a character is shown a vision of a future, that character will then do everything they can to avoid it but due to the nature of time end up causing it. The story has an outcome that must always happen (think Tom Cruise in Minority Report, a man who rebels against a predicted future only to end up causing it to happen – one of my favourite Tom Cruise movies).
Free will is cancelled out by the idea of a predetermined fate or destiny as there’s no avoiding something that is set. The obvious one being that we will all die eventually, there is no choice in the matter. We can make choices about healthy living to potentially extend our lives but the story ends once the time comes. Look at the Final Destination movies, the characters dodge their deaths but since their time has come Death lingers over them and gets them in the most unexpected ways.
I quite like the idea of Trousers Of Time or at least a branching path. Enter through one end and exit through one of two possible routes. While there is a suggestion that you’ll end up somewhere different in the end, you’ll hit the floor eventually. Minor choices (universally speaking) mean very little in the grand scheme of things, any grand plan won’t account for tiny, reactive things like your choice of breakfast but that choice could impact how your day goes.
Take Marvel with its multiverse, every decision creates a new timeline which will extend the number of branches. Movie wise this can mean an unlimited number of different stories for the same characters. Each branch would have an end point eventually but Marvel have decided to bring the branches back together with a character named Kang. Kang is a being that will go to war with himself to have a final ruling on the multiverse, collapsing it down into a single universe as true control will mean there can only be one. This to me would be final fate or final destiny.
If we now look at Yu-Gi-Oh where soul sucking, murderous beings claim it their destiny to defeat the protagonist are the villains of every series, we’ll see that for plot reasons Yugi often clutches victory from the jaws of defeat. This is largely a plot thing because a hero can’t lose but dramatic tension is needed to keep the viewer interested in seeing exactly how Yugi will win. The point is that Yugi’s final destiny is to be the victor where the villain was only destined to win for a while.
The whole idea of debating fate is an existential crisis that’s too huge to fully understand. Religions have formed with the idea that death is not the end, even with my idea of a final destiny, others have a continuing journey through time because I’ve never heard anyone question what happens after Heaven, Hell or any other religious outcome.
I’d like to take comfort in the idea that the free will I have in the everyday is enough to give me an impact on my life, I know that there will be a final point but rather than thinking nothing matters it’s probably worth thinking the journey will be worth it. My story will run its course, then the final page will turn and the book will be finished.