The Dangers of Destiny.

"You're out, that's life!"
In the classic mystical island television series - Lost, two central characters define the shows conflicting core. The first is Jack Shepherd. A pragmatic doctor and leader firmly entrenched in science, Jack carries a philosophy of ‘get the job done, and move on to the next task at hand’. As the show draws on – and Jack's eyes view sights he once never imagined, he accepts faith as a portion of life only useful when applied with action; a man with faith as it were, but always through science. 

John Locke is his polar opposite. A wheelchair bound middle-aged toy store clerk with a past loaded in tragedy, John finds himself miraculously able to walk once washed upon the island's shore. This reignites his staunch philosophy as a man of faith, and convinces him all he needs to fulfil his destiny as a commanding figure of history, is give himself up to the island and allow nature to take care of the rest. As the show draws on, John finds himself led down a narrow path of hell – dictated by blind ignorance, and is eventually strangled to death by Benjamin Linus; a wiser antagonist who exposes John as the tragic pawn to the darker side of the island's plans, he slowly came to be.

The point to these opposites, was that while Jack remained willing to accept faith has its place - even in science, John was too stupid to question the methods or efforts behind his ‘chosen path’; simply believing it was his ‘destiny’, and that was all he needed to know to prosper. He was - in no uncertain terms, a fool. The curious thing is, while a fictional character, his philosophy is not as ludicrous as you may imagine…

Throughout the 2014 World Cup, I have found myself frustrated with the self-proclaimed idea of host nation Brazil winning the tournament, as a form of ethereal ‘destiny’. Not because they have already won the trophy five times, or because I am against the notion of faith – which can be vital in times of genuine suffering. What irritated me has been - much like John Locke, their attitude of this unexplained faith being all they needed to succeed. So much so that all those unpunished servings of diving, bullying, and killing games whenever ahead against a team of richer talent - who spent hours working on tactics and technical aspects, were acceptable portions of a cause bigger than they were. By all accounts, this kind of warped thinking justifies any action; and in some tragic cases, has.

"John Locke - killed by blind faith"
Yesterday they met a nation which doesn’t operate through faith in faith alone, and views success as a rightfully earned reward, as opposed to a gift of God. Germany - who possess an iron-clad belief that destiny is in the outcome and not the possibility, exposed the Brazilian team faith of 2014 for what it was; a lazy, blind, arrogant and indignant form of it. Throughout the World Cup, they have seemed to half expect the holy one to whip his mighty finger down and flick the ball into every opposition goal, and because of this, have made little to no effort at working on almost any element of what makes not only a World Cup winning squad, but a barely adequate one at that.

I don’t know how God works exactly, but I do know he generally helps those who work hard whilst retaining humility, and simply ‘get the job done and move on to the next task at hand’. As opposed to those who sit on their arse and expect heaven to be handed on a silver platter – purely because they belong to a nation deeply embedded in Catholicism, and are hosting the tournament. 

The faith of the home fans was pure, and they have single-handedly salvaged a World Cup almost ruined by the ignorance of the team it supports. But they were let down by those who represented them, and the squad's paper thin faith was only more offensive to atheists, then it was to genuine converts. In the end - much like England's ill-fated 2006 campaign; which relied on the notion of some form of personal 'legacy' to carry them through - and echoes Brazil's in a less religious manner, the faith just never seemed pure enough as a measure for success. And while German science avoids all notions of church, their personal faith in it will always carry more genuine authority, against those whose belief is more delusional lies than professional respect…

If God isn’t real, Brazil need to begin working hard again, and deliver to the unofficial spiritual home of football a game they can rightly claim to being the true masters of. If God is real? He just delivered a severe message that hard work pays off, nobody carries a divine right to anything, and destiny is not what you expect will happen to you, but what does happen to you. Brazil’s destiny – as far as the 2014 World Cup is concerned, was to be hammered by science, for having little faith in it. 

I am sure John Locke can empathize with them…