"It's your destiny, and there's nothing you can do about it"

Discussions relating to the classical guitar which don't fit elsewhere.
montana
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Re: "It's your destiny, and there's nothing you can do about it"

Post by montana » Mon Nov 06, 2017 5:51 am

Only my opinion. Fate has endowed Julian Bream as the greatest guitarist ever. Should the rest concede and do something else?

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Re: "It's your destiny, and there's nothing you can do about it"

Post by Michael.N. » Mon Nov 06, 2017 10:55 am

Of course not. Nor is it likely that Bream was the greatest guitarist ever on every single piece that he played. That would be far too binary and there are an awful lot of extremely good guitarists in the world.
Wasn't Mozart's sister supposedly extremely 'talented'. The world barely knows it though and that's the classical music world. It's Wolfgang or nothing.
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Andrew Fryer
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Re: "It's your destiny, and there's nothing you can do about it"

Post by Andrew Fryer » Mon Nov 06, 2017 1:25 pm

Jeffrey Armbruster wrote:
Sun Nov 05, 2017 8:38 pm
Andrew will know--I think it's Sophocles who wrote "man's character is his fate", leaving a wonderful ambiguity--either a person's character ineluctably brings about what happens to them, or fate determines their character in advance, with the same result.
(sorry, I'm wondering how to chop this down to size) It seems it is Heraclitus. (Fragment 119)

If you go looking at Greek ideas about men's characters (they had less interest in nurture than a soap opera or a tabloid), that's a whole nother kettle of fish! They only ever wrote history for moral purposes, so (putative) character was everything.
You've also got the problem of pre-Socratic, deliberately enigmatic (not to mention fragmentary) writing and the general impossibility of translating accurately without knowing what was intended. Everything is contextless and open to modern interpretation/projection.

However, (quoted from wiki): -
ἦθος ἀνθρώπῳ δαίμων

Variant translations:

Character is destiny.
Character is fate.
Man's character is his fate.
A man's character is his fate.
A man's character is his guardian divinity [the most literal translation].
One's bearing shapes one's fate.

I don't know why there are so many "translations" of this -the literal one seems straightforward to me. The problem comes in the interpretation - the commentary.
The last time I read some Greek that mentioned the daimon often (which seems to have been the Odyssey, early 7th century BC), it was always in a bad sense - the general flow of your destiny is due to the gods above (Bona Dea - Isis/Fortuna later on) and external to man: the vicissitudes, temporary bad fortune, are caused by your own personal (or someone else's) daimon (hence demon later on, but somehow internal or personal to each man. Heraclitus is perhaps saying this with a view to atheism). In the Iliad you have the slightly harsher belief that if you are unlucky, the gods have inflicted it on you because you have done something to deserve it, so unlucky people are to be despised as enemies of the gods, not pitied. And Odysseus and his men basically ****-off Poseidon. I suppose in a way it follows from this that the gods are subservient to you. You can see why the Greeks philosophised! Men have free will, but not infinite power, and so somehow things don't always go as planned.

I just had a moment of curiosity - the word daimon occurs 9 times in the Iliad and 31 times in the Odyssey. That's something to think about at some future date.
Last edited by Andrew Fryer on Mon Nov 06, 2017 3:06 pm, edited 9 times in total.
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Re: "It's your destiny, and there's nothing you can do about it"

Post by PeteJ » Mon Nov 06, 2017 2:05 pm

Jeffrey Armbruster wrote:
Sun Nov 05, 2017 8:38 pm
Andrew will know--I think it's Sophocles who wrote "man's character is his fate", leaving a wonderful ambiguity--either a person's character ineluctably brings about what happens to them, or fate determines their character in advance, with the same result.
Sophocles voices a common view. The meaning and effect of events in our lives largely depends on our response to them so taking control of our fate would mean taking control of ourselves, which would in turn mean taking the ancient Greek Oracle's advice.

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Re: "It's your destiny, and there's nothing you can do about it"

Post by Jeffrey Armbruster » Mon Nov 06, 2017 5:16 pm

"You've also got the problem of pre-Socratic, deliberately enigmatic (not to mention fragmentary) writing "

this quote seems typical of Heraclitus. I mentioned once his "To the bow is given the name of life" fragment, which is similarly over determined and enigmatic (poetic).

The classicist J.P. Vernant argues that Greek thought in pre-Socratic time hadn't yet sorted out categories like Justice from revenge and even fate. (I still haven't had my coffee so I'm doing a poor job here). The Oresteia trilogy shows this separating out beginning to happen, with Athena appearing at the end to establish a more mediated Justice that will stop the endless cycle of revenge brought on by the furies. Anyway, his point is that pre-Socratics thought in a way that for us seems deliberately enigmatic, but that was for them just a reflection of categories like character and fate being immediately mixed in with each other as a matter of course. Heidegger loved all this.
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Andrew Fryer
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Re: "It's your destiny, and there's nothing you can do about it"

Post by Andrew Fryer » Mon Nov 06, 2017 5:56 pm

Jeffrey Armbruster wrote:
Mon Nov 06, 2017 5:16 pm
...I mentioned once his "To the bow is given the name of life" fragment, which is similarly over determined and enigmatic (poetic).
I remember. I can't remember what I said at the time.
Reading fragments is usually tedious, so I don't often bother. I've got three volumes of fragments of Old Comedy. I wonder if I'll ever bother to read them!
The classicist J.P. Vernant argues that Greek thought in pre-Socratic time hadn't yet sorted out categories like Justice from revenge and even fate.
Indeed some of these are things that Plato is still unravelling in his dialogues. Vernant, together with Vidal-Naquet, is a very good French writer on the classics.

Fate though, is something different. As I said, Homer only ever uses it in expressions like "He was fated to die". It's only ever considered in hindsight. I'm not aware of Plato's ever discussing fate. The problem with generalising the Greeks is that Homer wrote in, let's say 700BC, and Alexander of Aphrodisias in 200AD. So there's 900 years of thought separating the two. Not to mention Roman rule of the Greek world, Stoicism, and then Christianity. There was an argument about the extent to which Zeus bowed to fate. I don't know when. Questions can be asked of Homer, but we don't know whether he asked those questions or not.

Also of course the early philosophers were Ionians (as was Homer) and came under Persian rule, which would have influenced how they saw things.

Ideas of justice changed a lot too. Modern interpretation of Athenian tragedy is not fixed, though, in case Vernant gives the impression that it is - one possible generalisation is that the Oresteia and other things are about the problems caused by Homeric values being applied to modern (i.e. 5th century) society and the problems that would cause and how modern institutions do things differently, alleviating those problems. The plays that follow this general pattern may possibly have been selected for their political theme - it has been asked (re a Sophocles fragment, tongue-in-cheek), when someone turns into a hoopoe and attacks his sister with an axe, what does that say about Athenian democracy? And then we have the Romans again - when they exterminated the citizens of Corinth in 146BC, the debate about the nature of Justice will have taken yet another turn.

It is possible for modern people to misunderstand what ancients thought and what they didn't.
Zeno's paradox is an interesting one, but I have a suspicion I posted it before and someone doubted me and I couldn't bother to go through it.
Something else I'm looking at is gestation periods. Knowledge of them coexisted with ideas that were completely mythological.
Even now you'll find mums websites where the myth is still held that 7-month births are safe for the baby; 8-month births are dangerous. Anyway, digression!
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Re: "It's your destiny, and there's nothing you can do about it"

Post by John Stone » Thu Nov 09, 2017 6:32 am

Andrew Fryer wrote:
Mon Nov 06, 2017 5:56 pm
Fate though, is something different. As I said, Homer only ever uses it in expressions like "He was fated to die". It's only ever considered in hindsight. I'm not aware of Plato's ever discussing fate.
There's discussion of Necessity and the Fates -- Lachesis, Clotho and Atropos -- in the Myth or Er section of the Republic. Lachesis distributes various "patterns" of life to each soul who must begin another round of mortal life. Each soul is allowed to choose their own pattern.
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Re: "It's your destiny, and there's nothing you can do about it"

Post by Andrew Fryer » Thu Nov 09, 2017 5:19 pm

Well, I read the Republic once but can't remember the detail, but if people get to choose their fate, it's not really what we are talking about, is it. The real crunch comes with Roman oppression stimulating the Stoic question "what's the point of trying?" That's when we get the real debate about whether free will exists at all.
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Re: "It's your destiny, and there's nothing you can do about it"

Post by John Stone » Thu Nov 09, 2017 6:59 pm

Andrew Fryer wrote:
Thu Nov 09, 2017 5:19 pm
Well, I read the Republic once but can't remember the detail, but if people get to choose their fate, it's not really what we are talking about, is it.
Well, you said that you didn't recall Plato ever discussing fate, and I was just noting that he does discuss it. It's in Republic 616b-621a. Although prior to their rebirth souls get to choose the pattern of their lives from the patterns distributed by the Fates, they have no free will in life to alter the pattern they have chosen. Nor do they even remember their choice. So, according to Plato, there is freedom of choice prior to a soul's rebirth, but there is no free will in an individual's life. He says that how one's life plays out is totally controlled by the three Fates. Atropos makes the thread's of one's destiny "irreversible." And we're all assigned a "guardian spirit" to fulfill and enforce our destiny. It's an interesting combination of fate and free will.
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They said, "You have a blue guitar, You do not play things as they are." The man replied, "Things as they are / Are changed upon the blue guitar."

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Andrew Fryer
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Re: "It's your destiny, and there's nothing you can do about it"

Post by Andrew Fryer » Thu Nov 09, 2017 7:47 pm

ok, I beg your pardon
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John Stone
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Re: "It's your destiny, and there's nothing you can do about it"

Post by John Stone » Thu Nov 09, 2017 8:06 pm

Andrew Fryer wrote:
Thu Nov 09, 2017 7:47 pm
ok, I beg your pardon
No worries! :)
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Re: "It's your destiny, and there's nothing you can do about it"

Post by DaveLloyd » Tue Nov 14, 2017 1:51 am

Andrew Fryer wrote:
Mon Nov 06, 2017 5:56 pm
It is possible for modern people to misunderstand what ancients thought and what they didn't . . .
Hi Andrew,

Ancient Greece is something about which I know next to nothing, but your previous posts did make me wonder if you had ever come across Julian Jaynes 1976 book "The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind"?

I believe he presented it rather tentatively to the scientific community as a theory rather than as a scientific treatise (because, by its nature, no evidence can be offered one way, or the other).

If you are familiar with it, apologies for raising the subject here, if not, you might find it, at least, intriguing!

Dave

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Re: "It's your destiny, and there's nothing you can do about it"

Post by Andrew Pohlman » Fri Nov 17, 2017 6:44 pm

Don't make me invoke Chaos Theory! Don't make me do it! :D

All philosophy and religion aside, there is no such thing as deterministic outcomes, a fixed future, or fate. Not in the real world anyway. There is a component of randomness built in to space time. For example, you can say things like nuclear radiation will alter DNA, but Chaos Theory makes HOW the DNA is altered highly unpredictable. This applies to all events we humans can observe and/or perceive.

Then there is the time horizon. You will not be affected by any event that occurs outside you time horizon. A simplistic example is that if someone shot at you with a long range bullet, then by the time it arrives you have moved out of the way. A divine entity may launch a bolt of energy intended to lock in the future, but it ain't gonna happen. Then consider that the future is supposedly fixed for all 7.6 billion humans?!?!?! No way guys.
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Re: "It's your destiny, and there's nothing you can do about it"

Post by AndreiKrylov » Fri Nov 17, 2017 11:54 pm

Well... you ll could laugh... :) but almost earliest thing that I remember about myself was that I am different from others and will do something special and unique in life...
I really felt that I have to fulfill my "destiny" ...it was a very strong feeling especially when I was young .
I have to add that I was sure that others have similar idea - to BE YOURSELF in everything one do, to create something original and beautiful ... and not to be a follower, but to find my own path.
many people probably feel the same...
but many like to follow too.
Therefore yes, destiny.
it is in us ...
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Re: "It's your destiny, and there's nothing you can do about it"

Post by edcat7 » Sat Nov 18, 2017 12:29 am

Some of the above posts are way too complicated for me. My parents weren't musical but encouraged us three siblings to take piano and in my case guitar lessons when we were young; I declined through lack of interest.

Six years ago I started Chinese music tuition and three and a half years ago started CG lessons. Even with a brilliant CG teacher I feel that I will at best be mediocre, mainly because I just haven't the time to practise enough. But I continue because I love it.

To be your destiny it has to be in your mind, eat sleep and breathe it from young.
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