Is this a weird coincidence or some sort of strange karma or destiny or fate?
- July 6 (1994) … the movie Forrest Gump released
- July 7 (1958) … my birthday
- July 9 (1956) … Tom Hanks’ birthday
It seems more than ironic that my birthday would be so closely sandwiched between those two dates. For 14+ years I’ve made my living off the movie Forrest Gump. And for 30+ years I’ve been compared physically to the actor Tom Hanks.
The human mind tends to see patterns where none exist. My guess is it’s just a coincidence … albeit weird. But let’s examine the ideas of coincidence, karma, destiny and irony a bit more deeply to see if you agree.
A coincidence is a happenstance a simultaneous collision of two events that has no special significance and obeys the laws of probability.
The fact that a movie was released, I was born, and Tom Hanks was born have no special significance to each other. They each occurred following the laws of probability. There are 365 days in a year and each event had to occur on one of those days. It’s a coincidence that they fall within 4 days on the calendar.
Karma literally means “deed or act” and more broadly names the universal principle of cause and effect, action and reaction which governs all life. Karma is not fate, for man acts with free will create his own destiny.
In my case it was a choice to dress as Forrest Gump for Halloween in 1994. It was a choice to call Bubba Gump Shrimp Co when they first opened their doors in Monterey in March 1996. So the fact that I became a Forrest Gump impersonator could be called karma … but the fact that my birthday is one day later than the movie release date is still coincidence.
Destiny concerns the fixed natural order of the universe. It is the invincible necessity to which even the gods must accede. Destiny is fate. Destiny is the irresistible power or agency that is conceived of as determining the future, whether in general or of an individual.
Destiny doesn’t allow for free will or choice. So it couldn’t have been my destiny to become a Forrest Gump impersonator and speaker. I clearly made the choice. But it’s ironic that for 15 years before making that choice I was compared to Tom Hanks and I said “I have to figure out how to make some money from it” at least several thousand times. Napoleon Hill‘s second Law of Success is a definite chief aim. My subconscious became filled with thoughts of taking advantage of or using the likeness to Tom Hanks (my genetic luck). It had become a chief aim, but not destiny … although I’ll freely admit that the notion of destiny is certainly more romantic than a definite chief aim.
The expression “irony of fate” stems from the notion that the Gods are amusing themselves by toying with the minds of mortals, with deliberate ironic intent.
Once again, it certainly does seem ironic. But the irony of fate, like destiny, doesn’t allow for free will and personal choice. The Gods didn’t amuse themselves and say “let’s make two human beings and give them birthdays 2 years and 2 days apart, then years later we’ll make a movie and release it within days of their birthdays. Men and woman met, married, and had babies. Those babies grew up and became actors and salesman and they met others who made movies and started restaurants … all choices and all free will.
While destiny, fate, karma, and irony are romantic interpretations, and it’s easy to emotionally attach meaning and significance to dates, an honest analysis will view the pattern as pure coincidence. But it sure is weird.
Next Blog Title: Forrest Gump and Patience
Next Blog Date: July 12, 2010