Is Character Destiny?

Submitted by Charles Knighton

Former Dodds inmates should be allowed to take responsibility for their own lives.

I have noticed of late the extra effort being made by the staff of Dodds to sensitize the public to the necessity, and perhaps the moral obligation, of providing a second chance to offenders who have completed their terms of incarceration. It makes little sense to provide programs of rehabilitation intended to reintegrate released prisoners back into society if opportunities necessary for such reintegration are withheld. If one listens closely however, it becomes readily apparent that much of the public regards those who have served time in prison not as individuals who displayed lapses in judgment but instead as individuals with flawed characters, a judgment much more difficult to overcome. A recent contributor to a radio call-in program described inmates at Dodds as “prisoners of their own character, destined for Dodds.” As I continued my journey home, I was led to ponder whether character is destiny, as well as whether the caller realized just how richly ambiguous her statement was.

First of all, is the suggestion that character is fixed, or that the course of future events is fixed by character? These are two different things: we might possess set characters yet be free to choose between different, open futures; or we may be free to shape our own characters, but in doing so determine our course through life.

This may sound a little abstract but it points to an important practical truth. Real life is not a clockwork mechanism but a fluid, complex, dynamic system. We are parts of this system so it doesn’t help to think of ourselves as absolute slaves or masters of it. Nothing is completely fixed or free because everything is affected by what surrounds it. We should simply change what we can, knowing that we can’t control everything.

A second ambiguity in her statement concerns “character”, often taken to be synonymous with “personality”. But whereas we tend to think of personality non-judgmentally, as a set of reasonably settled traits, character often has a moral dimension. We talk of someone being of good or bad, upright or depraved character.

If we think of this as being the product of a kind of destiny, we risk stripping away all sense of responsibility. If the good and the bad are just made that way, what’s the point of praise or blame? However, even if you believe personality is relatively fixed, there is no reason to think moral character must also be so. An impulsive person may be more vulnerable to crimes of passion, for example, but that does not mean he has no control over his actions.

If, on the other hand, we think of character as shaping destiny, and character is something we can in turn shape for ourselves, then we can see how by cultivating good character we have a real effect on the quality of our future choices and relationships. In that sense, character may be a kind of destiny, even though it is not predestined.

The inmates and rehabilitation personnel at Dodds have worked to build individual character, which to me means taking responsibility for their own lives. They should be allowed every opportunity to do so.

0 thoughts on “Is Character Destiny?


  1. Charles..Is character destiny. ? What kind of loop is that? Destiny is outside of one’s ability, educating and even upbringing. Character comes only after years of the same stated above. But because one has all these does not mean they will not one day DIP THEIR HANDS in the public cookie jar and then flop……or be a lover of the classics ….then wake up one day to be otherwise destined to what they thought would be forever theirs….No sir…character does not influence destiny ..if this be your true ask.


    • The character of a person is the sum of many things/traits (inclusive of moral being) which define who we are. If we accept that the journey through life will influence this character set then the idea of ascribing ‘destiny’ to a person which by its definition is predetermined is valid. If we don’t afford opportunities to former inmates of Dodds as a society which are implied in our efforts to rehabilitate then we ring fence this group to a destiny.


  2. Amongst the factors that shape our fate or destiny, some of them are settled and some are not. It means that we have a certain scope to change our fate or destiny by our own efforts. The family environment and the social climate are elements that should be called the “destiny that is decided” before we are born; however, there is a great secret involved in even these too.


  3. ” Character comes only after years of the same stated above. But because one has all these does not mean they will not one day DIP THEIR HANDS in the public cookie jar and then flop……or be a lover of the classics ….then wake up one day to be otherwise destined to what they thought would be forever theirs”

    Onions SHUT UP! You make absolutely NO SENSE AT ALL. I see your character steeped in ignorance with a maniacal devotion for the BLP.


  4. ……..education is still available to all, though some by capacities, cannot process and hence unable reap the sweets…classic case.. Charles how does this fit into your quiz? We see live example everyday….no other than fate and the paring “Life just is not fair”…life’s bitch


  5. Robert Ohotto in his book Transforming Fate into Destiny…..guides us on an investigation of the Heroic Journey of the Soul. Exploring three modern-day manifestations of Fate, he shows how psychic energy from family patterns, cultural influences, generational legacy, and global evolution inform our self-concept every day, and how they often block our highest potential and ”Fate” us to challenging circumstances and relationships. But, he reveals, these Fated encounters are actually the keys to our unlived life. Each chapter maps our psyche and unravels the mysterious connections of Fate, Free Will, and Destiny, transforming our Fate into Destiny and our limitations into gifts. Through this seminal work based on years of experience, discover how we’ve made two fundamental agreements with the Universe as part of our Heroic Journey – one with Fate and the other with Destiny. As we learn to dance with these two forces, they become two voices challenging and beckoning us to discover our ultimate purpose……most interesting read all should make avail,


  6. Interesting topic….
    David is right… (so is Islandgal – ONIONS SHUT UP!!)

    Bushie’s theory….
    Character is the main characteristic that defines us as human beings. It is the sum result of all that impact on our life experiences. Personality is a bit different in that this speaks to a very individual behavioral trait which is also changeable. However character is also impacted by personality.

    In fact, the very purpose for the design and creation of mankind by BBE revolves around this thing called CHARACTER. Character can only be molded by experience, trial and error, freedom of choice, and the exercise of free will. Good character CANNOT BE MADE.

    The concept of RIGHTEOUS CHARACTER then is the ultimate objective attainable. (Also referred to as “the mind of God”). A careful look at our world would reveal a PERFECT environment for the nurturing and development of such righteous character. It requires an abundance of good things, evil things, pain, joy, wickedness, love, happiness etc…..and our world have all this….

    Righteous character is reflected by the person who, given any set of conditions, will ALWAYS by their innate nature, choose to do the right and righteous thing.

    Finally, the ONLY thing that we have personally created of real lasting value in each one’s lifetime is a personal CHARACTER. And that is the designed reason for this phase of life on earth.

    With respect to the prisoners- the only difference between most of the prisoners and most of the rest of us – is that they got caught and did not have the necessary connections. We should treat them as we would like to be treated.


  7. To thine own self be true, and it must follow, as the night the day, thou canst not then be false to any man (William Shakespeare, ).

    The wonderful thing about character and integrity, which are intimately related, is that they’re one of the few things in life that no one will ever be able to forcefully take away from you. Your choices are your own. Even if someone can take your life, they can’t force you to make a choice that you believe is wrong…..such is character. What is within ones ambit of control…..unlike fate-destiny…Charles….again a resounding NO.


  8. @ Bushie and IsGal
    “The true test of a person’s character is how they treat the people in life that they don’t need.”


  9. @ Bush Tea | October 13, 2012 at 8:25 AM |
    “With respect to the prisoners- the only difference between most of the prisoners and most of the rest of us – is that they got caught and did not have the necessary connections.”

    First let me express my agreement with the above incisive observation.
    Leroy P is a classic case that needs no further illustration. Having “friends” in high places means you are well protected from the Law and the course of Justice and makes one immune from societal leprosy. And this will prevail under the other political dispensation. Money, my friend, makes the mare fly and can buy anything except Love & Character.

    “In fact, the very purpose for the design and creation of mankind by BBE revolves around this thing called CHARACTER. Character can only be molded by experience, trial and error, freedom of choice, and the exercise of free will. Good character CANNOT BE MADE.”

    Go tell that to the thousands of children born with all sorts of congenital conditions from Down’s Syndrome, cystic fibrosis, severe paralysis, profound deafness to being born in perpetual war torn area suffering from starvation abject poverty and subjected to all kinds of natural disasters.
    I am willing to learn how these people’s characters can be moulded.


  10. Miller your last paragraph is not a good analogy for when one watches the SPECIAL OLYMPICS one must conclude that those athletes have already designed and defined their character against all odds.


  11. I will agree that our character does help to shape our destiny. al senor garcia.we are all giving a blank canvas from the start and it is up to us what kind of picture we wish to paint. however society role in their efforts to help the wayward have a new beginning at times look inwardly at ourselves and asked hard decisive and pertinent questions giving us a chance of acessing our own charcter and the role we mus play in guiding the artist hand to painting a beautiful picture of their character


  12. @ Pat
    LOL
    If you mean an INTJ personality type, then Bushie may well be guilty. In fact the results of the Myers-Briggs evaluation on Bushie a few years back was quite revealing in that regard 🙂
    …that apart, the above theory is only a natural deduction from the overall understanding of the concept of life on earth as understood by the bushman…..just as someone who really understands a game such as cricket could – off the cuff, explain why the captain would choose to place a man at backward square and not at silly mid off.. 🙂


  13. @ Miller
    Perhaps you should stay with politics where you can counter every argument by pointing out that the other side is equally guilty…. 🙂

    It is well established that in fact, those of us with disabilities have a clear advantage when it comes to character….
    The same is true for those who are dirt poor and dispossessed.

    The beautiful part of BBE’s design is that succeeding in the REALLY IMPORTANT GEM of life (character) is, if anything – biased towards the so called weak and dispossessed. This is what JC meant when he said “blessed are the poor….”, “what does it profit a man to gain the whole world…”, etc

    LOL, …so be careful who you pity, those “poor unfortunates” may be the successes of this world.


  14. Right again David. It is the single biggest mistake that can be made… And the most commonly made.
    …..and it is why we are where we are….


  15. ‘@ Bushie and IsGal
    “The true test of a person’s character is how they treat the people in life that they don’t need.”

    Onions you are so right on that one especially when I see and hear how you treat those who do not support your political associations.

    “With respect to the prisoners- the only difference between most of the prisoners and most of the rest of us – is that they got caught and did not have the necessary connections.”

    Bushie you have summarized the meaning of Character very well.

    There is a thin line between Good Character and Bad Character and how one perceives them. Character is influenced by society and culture. What we consider good character in our culture may be offensive in another. This is an extremely complex component in the shaping of us human beings.

    Many of us cannot choose or foretell our destiny with 100% accuracy and there are some character traits that can influence our destiny. For me, destiny is intangible however we are able to guide it with some degree of accuracy in the direction we wish to go. Now I am all kerfuffled LOL.


  16. @BushTea

    ha, ha, ha! I knew I was right! I did not know whether you were an Intro- or extravert, so I just put the Intuition, Thinking, Judgemental traits. You think a lot like me, but of course, you be much smarter. I, myself, am an ENTJ. No wonder I tend to agree with you!!!

    I had hell getting statistical data out of two navel gazers who worked with me. They were feelers and sensers and had to comtemplate the life of Bhudda before delivering.


  17. Character————-funny you should mention this subject pertaining to dodds/.
    i see it as more a island wide Character make over would barbados a world of good.for tourism especially.
    with the cursing and nasty thinking and gossip mongering flying all around the island. to be proud to be nasty mouth people .the whole island should be given a class in character.how not to be bast mouth ,bloody asshole-.
    may be china or the world bank can build us a building for such matters.
    such as simple manners.how not to be disguising moron ETC.
    SURELY WITH OUR HIGH STANDARDS[EXCEPT FOR CROP OVER FILTH]
    OF EDUCATION [SO BARBADOS TELLS THE WORLD] could have a class in school on manners and the disadvantages of being a dirty son of a bitc-..
    this i know coming from slaves and migrating to free people yet the slave attitude continues.
    here is what i got to say to those thousands of nasty ,unmannerly.complete waste of space that abound all over barbados,first learn how to speak English
    and then take a course in anger management,and then a course in not being a cunt hol-.!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


  18. Dearest Harry,
    Please do not expose yourself any further. Please learn to write the English language properly instead of insulting people about theirs. I can tell that free education didn’t help you nor did it improve your ability to write in your native tongue. Please go back to your tradesman job in Canada where writing good English is not a prerequisite.

    Sincerely,
    Islandgal


  19. island slu- you can not even speak the language and if you had ay sense
    you would understand what i am saying anyway.
    by the way do you speak African?
    i got 2 words for the likes of you.fuc- often
    insincerely.
    harry make my day beoch


  20. @ Harry callihan | October 16, 2012 at 11:24 AM |

    Either move away from this racist crap of yours or I will come after you again.
    You know very well the miller can put you in your place. You have enough commonsense to know and do better other than the racist foolishness.

    Go and write about tourism and the awful state of the place. Go do some videotaping to name and shame these lazy backward authorities and I would support your efforts in this area.
    Now shift gear or expect to feel the miller’s boot up your rear.

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