Destiny vs. Free Will in Isaac Asimov's Writings Essay

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People have debated about free will and fate for thousands of years. Alexander the Great once said, "Upon the conduct of each depends the fate of all." Roman poet Virgil took an opposite view stating, "Wherever the fates lead us let us follow." One would expect a great author of science fiction, a genre filled with futuristic happenings based on reason and logic, to take a stand on this issue as well. Isaac Asimov shows through his short stories "Nightfall," "Reason," and "The Evitable Conflict," that an individual can not alter his race's destiny regardless of free will's existence. In one of Asimov’s earliest and most-loved pieces, “Nightfall,” the theme of man's inability to alter the future, even with the gift of free …show more content…
Other evidence also notes free will. Sharp conflicts of belief are clear in the two different groups, the scientists and the cultists. The cultists believe in a mysticism based on faith and the accuracy of their books of faith. The scientists believe in only pure research and treat the cultists as illogical mystics (Kerschen 224). This also points to free will by showing the diversity of opinions on Lagash. Surely if Asimov wanted his characters not to have free will, he would have given some sign of it throughout the book and not contrary evidence, as he did. Asimov’s characters of Nightfall use their free will to try to stop their approaching fate, destruction due to darkness from the eclipse of their sixth sun. The scientists take many preventive measures to keep the future alive. One measure is the invention of a grease-burning torch, invented by necessity. This significant invention is the first practical device they have ever made to produce light, since in the past a sun has always been shining. Their biggest investment in the future is a place known as the Hideout, which is filled with “men of action and strong, healthy women that can breed children” who have “food, water, shelter, and weapons” (Asimov “Nightfall” 382-383). These people are to ensure that after the disaster, there is still hope for the future. The most important effort to save the future is perhaps the scientific research they have placed in

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