The Illusion of Free Will: are our choices decided before we are born?

When our life is laid down in front of our eyes, one choice after the other, it all comes down to one question – did we really lead our own life by our own rules or were our decisions just results of already decided consequences which leave us with no choice?

The Little Light by Dipa Sanatani is a book that engages with this idea of destiny and free will from the perspective of astrology and philosophy that seemingly comes into being along with ourselves. 

On the eve of its birth, a little light finds itself in the Cosmic Womb, surrounded by different celestial bodies that determine the kind of person it is going to be on earth. The story follows the Little Light’s journey on becoming herself up till the moment of her birth and even takes time to visit her previous life and understand the impact that it will have in the life she is going to lead.

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While most of the book unfolds in a single setting with a certain sense of repetition in events, there is a lot that streams through the book in terms of concepts and ideas. In fact, it very easily succeeds in conveying complex ideas in the simplest of manners.

Are our lives actually what we chose them to be or are our choices already decided before we are even born?

The opinion that the book conveys is obvious to all those who read it but that does not restrict the readers from tracing their own conclusions. The book seems to question the very rigid ideas that we blindly accept and suggests to the readers that all may not be what it is assumed to be.

For instance, the common understanding about time is that it is linear in nature; it goes from one moment to another. However, a quote from the book introduces you to yet another possible idea. 

“Time is a wheel. A cycle that brings life into existence. Each age of mankind, each life is bound to this wheel. Once the wheel comes full circle, another cycle of time begins.”

The book stays true to its genre of mythical fiction as it engages with not just one, but references from several mythologies that are bound by some similarities in their stories.

In the book, the Little Light witnesses her astrological chart’s creation. As each planet blesses the Little Light with traits, she has no choice but to accept them even if she does not want to. In the story, the Little Light is given a voice with which she airs her choices but they eventually do not matter. All that she experiences is for her future destiny that all the Celestial Beings seem to know of but do not disclose to her till the very end.

At every point in this book, we see how our choices are conditioned and are not exactly our own because of circumstances that we can’t deny or know of. 

The characterization in The Little Light is something that has to be appreciated when engaging with this book. Each and every character in the story, although they stay true to the characteristics that they are known for in the cultures that they originate from, is portrayed in a more humane yet comical light where their flaws make them who they are and contribute to the dysfunctional family that they are shown to be a part of.

The idea that such powerful beings still have troubles in their family again questions how much of our lives we actually decide. While the characters in the story are shown with what may be considered clear-cut gender stereotypes, two characters that successfully gain our attention is that of Mercury and Jupiter, both who have the ability to change form and gender, generating the possibility of the characters being gender-fluid ones – that decide who they want to be.

The credit to this may be given to the many diverse forms in which the planets are portrayed in various world mythologies but the inclusion of this in the story is something that adds to the value of the book. 

The manner in which the book is written appears to evolve along the duration of the book until it captivates the reader without their realization.

And as the book ends, one may not realize all that it has given them to think about. But when asked if they believe in freewill or if they think that everything we do is simply part of our destiny – each and every reader is sure to have an answer.

Because, after all, this book makes sure that you understand your belief on the matter whichever way you may lean.

But if that is the case, is your opinion really your own?

About the Author

Uma-PhotoUma Anilkumar is currently pursuing her Bachelor’s Degree in English Studies. She is often captivated by new, interesting ideas, especially that of pop culture and is always in search of learning something new.  A lover of all kinds of art, she is a writer and poet during her free time and dreams of publishing her own work in the future.

Author: Mith Books

Mith Books | The Merchant of Stories | Publisher of Timeless Tales from Around the World

3 thoughts

  1. Great. Good understanding of the book! Over the years you will create many good works. All the best.

  2. A wonderfully written review!

    The theme of free will and destiny has been beautifully explained in the book- ‘The Little Light.’

    As Ketu says, “It is ultimately free will that decides the fate of man. The choices may be predetermined, but the choice is not.”

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