Destiny as a relationship

Samuli Schielke


This afterword takes a closer look at relationships of power involved in destiny, taking inspiration from questions and answers offered in this special section on anthropologies of destiny. Destiny offers a theory of human action according to which humans can have power over their condition only in accordance and alliance with very powerful or omnipotent superhuman beings or processes, such as the monotheist God, polytheistic pantheons, heaven, planets, but also history, progress, or markets. Who are they? Do they need to be intentional? What kinds of power relations, or “relationship power,” do humans and the superhuman authors of their destiny craft? I return to the opening question of the special section—What does it mean to live a life that has already been written?—and suggest that destiny as an intimate relationships of power is meaningful in the sense that it provides practical, moral answers to the question why.


predestination, power, relationality, morality, God, divination, Tralfamadore

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.1086/698268