Destiny Introduction
Home Up Divorce




My name is Rick Archer.  I have a story to tell which strongly suggests that 'Fate' plays an important role in all of our lives.  The concept of 'Fate' flies directly in the face of another concept known as 'Free Will', a major cornerstone of Christian philosophy.   Conversely 'Fate', or 'Karma' if you prefer, is a cornerstone of Hindu philosophy.  So which is it?  Is everything 'Predestined' or do we have the 'Free Will' to make our own choices? 

Although I do not presume to have the answer, my own belief is that we have Free Will most of the time, but not all of the time.  Basic on my experiences, I have come to believe certain 'Karmic' events will take place in our lives whether we like it or not.  At that point, our only choice in the matter is how we react to each Fated event.  In other words, how will we play the hand dealt to us?   

Based on my own sense of Reality, there is 'ordinary' and then there is 'extra-ordinary'.  During the first 30 years of my life, I recall roughly 50 unusual events that suggested the involvement of a Hidden Hand.  Then, oddly enough, over the next 30 years, my life was completely normal. 

So here is the problem.  I cannot prove the existence of Fate.  Nor can I prove that these unusual events outlined a Path which led to a very special Destination, or 'Destiny' if you prefer. 

What I can do is cover each of the 50 events and build a case based on circumstantial evidence.  I invite you the Reader to come along and assume the role of Judge and Jury.  I will present the evidence and you can decide for yourself whether I have made my case or not.


My story begins with the details of a very difficult childhood.  Then comes high school, college, and my complete breakdown after my dismissal from graduate school.

I slowly put my life back together by taking dance lessons for three years while I wandered around in a state of utter despair.  Suddenly, a career as a dance teacher materialized out of thin air.  What makes this development utterly ridiculous is that I had no talent for dance.  Even more absurd, I was a social cripple at the time.

In every high school yearbook, friends inscribe notes and make predictions.  My yearbook prediction would have said, 'Least likely to succeed as a dance teacher.'  After all, I never danced a single time in high school.  And yet I went on to create the largest dance studio under one roof in America despite a myriad of handicaps and obstacles. 

How do I reconcile such a disparity?  I contend that 'Fate' played a direct role in this strange turn of events.  Let me go one step further.  There is a part of me that suspects my ineptitude was deliberate.  I believe it was my 'Destiny' to have the most unlikely success story imaginable just to make my point more clearly.

I am well aware that the concept of Fate is impossible to prove.  That said, I think the Reader will discover my unusual story is quite persuasive.  Even if the Reader does not agree with all my conclusions, no one can read this story and fail to raise an eyebrow.

The name of my dance studio was SSQQ, short-hand for Slow Slow Quick Quick.

SSQQ got its start back in the days of Saturday Night Fever.  Initially my dance studio taught people how to Disco dance.  However, later on the dance program expanded to include Swing, Ballroom, Latin and Country-Western.

By the time the Millennium approached, SSQQ had grown so big that we could barely fit everyone in the building.  At its peak, my Houston-based dance studio saw as many as 1,400 people walk through its doors per week.  At that point, I am fairly certain SSQQ was the largest dance studio in America under one roof. 

The secret of our success?   Slow Dance leads to Romance.


Right from the outset SSQQ was an amazing hotbed of romantic activity.  I discovered the moment a man learned how to properly place a woman in his arms, his new-found skill increased his charm dramatically.  Since women love to be held, the combination of dance music and a journey across the floor in the arms of a gentleman formed an irresistible magic. 

My dance studio became Cupid's playground.  A legion of energetic dancers met one new partner after another.  With a wide range of choices, people could pick the one they liked the best and let the potent dance chemistry go to work.  Countless love affairs were spawned and many moonlight revels turned into serious romances. 

I retired from running the studio in 2010.  During the last ten years of my career, SSQQ witnessed 150 weddings take place, an average of 15 per year.  I know this for a fact because I listed every one of them.  In addition, I have to believe there were two or three more weddings per year that snuck under my radar.  The point is the dance studio had serious magic to it.  I firmly believe over the course of my 32-year career, the studio created an average of one new marriage per month.  By merging our popular dance classes with frequent dance parties, I created a blueprint that made SSQQ the closest thing to a marriage factory ever designed. 

As for me, I loved to teach dance.  Considering the vast number of students who passed through our doors, there is a real possibility that I taught more people to dance during this period than any other teacher in America.   

Do I say any of this to boast?  Well, maybe a little, but let's put a giant asterisk next to my accomplishments.  For reasons that will be made clear, I am modest about these achievements.  I make these points not to impress someone about myself, but rather to highlight that SSQQ was a very special, very busy place.  During my unique career, I came to see myself more as someone who followed a Path laid out in advance than as any sort of clever innovator.  

The thing is, right at the start of my dance career, I knew something weird was going on.  However I was far too busy coping with the constant challenges to give it much thought.  Facing tremendous obstacles, every time something unusual happened, I simply told myself I would think about it more when I got the chance.  As it turned out, I had to survive a difficult four year rollercoaster full of scandal and heartbreak before I finally reached a place where I could catch my breath.  It was this critical four year period that will explain why I look to the Supernatural as the most likely explanation for my inexplicable success.

Indeed, the story of how SSQQ came into being is so utterly improbable that it defies understanding.  This is not your average 'Boy makes Good' success story.  Not even hardly.  There is a very unusual twist to my saga.  Ordinarily one would expect a story about some spunky street kid who could dance up a storm and win some big dance contests.  Naturally one imagines a good-looking hunk like Patrick Swayze or John Travolta with lots of girl friends and plenty of envious guys along for the ride. 

Guess again.  That ain't me, babe.  I was closer to Quasimodo than Adonis. 

In a curious twist, I was the exact opposite of Patrick Swayze.  And how do I know this?  Patrick's mother Patsy became one of my best friends for a year.  Patsy was candid enough to tell me the truth... when it came to talent, I was no match for her son.  In fact, I wasn't even good enough to join her dance company.  Considering dance companies are always short of men, Patsy's hidden message was I could not dance a lick.

Here is the truth... Patsy was right.  I never danced till I was 24.  After the discovery that I had no natural ability, there was no need to bother entering dance contests.  One has to wonder how someone who could not dance could open a studio, much less teach.  

Nor does my list of problems end there.  I was so shy that I cowered from attractive women.  As for charm and charisma, I was a loner who hardly fit anyone's idea of a leader.  In fact, at the start of my Dance Path I was a deeply disturbed young man.  My character flaws were so serious that I was actually thrown out of graduate school.  This is not an exaggeration.  Hoping to become a therapist, I was bluntly told to leave because they believed I did not have the right personality to help people to heal.  In other words, my professors considered me too disturbed to be allowed anywhere near patients.

So there you have it.  Patsy Swayze said I had no dancing ability.  My graduate school professors said I lacked social skills.  I had no friends.  I had no parents.  I had no money.  I had no patron.  I had no confidence. 

In short, when one takes into consideration my personality problems and my inability to dance, I had no business creating a dance studio... much less the most successful one in the country.

This is not an exaggeration.  No fibs, no embellishment.  If you give me the honor of reading my story, you will realize my self-assessment is accurate.  Following my graduate school failure, I was knocked flat on my back.  My confidence shattered, I had no direction and no fight left in me.  I had only one thing going for me.  Destiny.

I assume everyone has heard the term 'chosen profession'.  I did not choose to be a dance teacher; Destiny chose the job for me.  Out of nowhere, a complete stranger asked me to teach a small class of 15 line dance students.  I was hardly an expert.  Furthermore, I had only been dancing at a Disco once in the past two years.  Although I was at best an average dancer and totally inexperienced as a dance teacher, the moment Saturday Night Fever hit one month later, I quickly became the best known Disco teacher in Houston.  This took place even though I could still barely dance a lick and was afraid of my own shadow around pretty girls.

How was this possible?  Destiny. 

I pegged the odds of this happening at one in a million.

And why is that?  I was the only Disco teacher that anyone knew about there at the start.  In a city of a million inhabitants, if I was the only dance teacher, then I was one in a million.  Despite my lack of talent, the odds for success were definitely in my favor. 

Two years later, it happened again.  My Disco classes dwindled to nothing thanks to the looming threat of Urban Cowboy.  As always, my love life was shattered, Disco was dead and it looked like curtains for my dance career.   I hated Country music with a passion and I had never been Western dancing in my life.  Furthermore, due to scandal and betrayal, I had no will left to fight for my dance career.  Four months later, I became Houston's best known Western teacher.  Let me add one more curiosity... I was Houston's ONLY WESTERN DANCE TEACHER

How was this possible?  Destiny.

And what were the odds of this happening?  Oh, probably one in a million.

I confess I don't know how to calculate the math here.  Do I add one million plus one million and get 'one in two million'?  Or do I multiply and get 'one in a trillion'?  It doesn't really matter.  Let's just say my success was highly improbable and leave it at that.

So how did I pull off such an unlikely feat?  Here is the answer... I got the lucky break of a lifetime.  Then I kept getting lucky.  I mean... really lucky.

By my own count, during the key three year period at the start of my teaching career, I received a half-dozen 'once in a lifetime' lucky breaks.  Each lucky break was completely random.  I never asked for a single one of these opportunities.  They were simply handed to me.  I became a success because these powerful opportunities gave me an enormous advantage over my competitors.  It really helps when Destiny says you will be a success no matter what the odds.

Mind you, there was always a price to pay.  Each opportunity came with a crisis attached.  I nearly went mad with anxiety because I was in over my head.  It wasn't like I knew what I was doing.  But I had to try, right?  Whenever a door opened, I stumbled through and did the best I could.  And to my surprise, each time I succeeded, but just barely.  And what was my reward?  I was handed another opportunity complete with another crisis attached. 

Here we go again.  For four years, my life was a neverending sequence of Risky Business meets Saturday Night Fever meets Urban Cowboy.  Then one day the turmoil was over.  SSQQ was so successful that the struggle was over.  The studio had grown so large it was easily the largest dance studio in Houston.  Due to its well-deserved reputation as the best place in Houston to find a boyfriend or girlfriend, word of mouth guaranteed the studio would continue to grow without any need whatsoever to advertise. 

With my life at peace for the first time since my graduate school debacle eight years ago, I finally had the chance to look back and figure out how I managed to get this far.  Using the gift of hindsight, I took all those extraordinary strokes of fortune and laid them side by side.  Each lucky break was like a stepping stone that when put together formed a clear pattern.  I was convinced I had been following a well-designed Path the entire time.  Although it was hard to believe in Lucky Breaks and Coincidence, it was much harder to believe in anything else!  I concluded that supernatural help was the most likely explanation for my success.

If so, then this dance studio was surely my Destiny





It is my contention that there may be more to this world than meets the eye. 

Unfortunately, I have no psychic ability whatsoever.  If there is an Invisible World, then I am not the one seeing it.  Therefore I have no choice but to use the only two powers available to me... Logic and Observation... to figure out what is going on.  In other words, I am no different than the next guy.  I am in the same boat as everyone else.

Speaking of boats, I wish to use the Titanic Disaster, a story we are all familiar with, to help illustrate what my book is about.  No disaster has been more analyzed and discussed.  What bothers me the most about the sinking of the Titanic is the sense that there is something 'weird' about that disaster. 


At the inquiry, Charles Lightoller, the Titanic's surviving Second Officer, stated:

"Titanic was the victim of an extraordinary set of circumstances that could only happen once in a hundred years.  Normally there would have been no problem, but on this particularly freakish night, everything was against us."

Once in a hundred years, eh? 

Given that I am a Logical person with an understanding of statistics, I am a big fan of Probability.  But I am an even bigger fan of Improbability.  Whenever I come across the word 'Extraordinary', I go on Supernatural Alert.  Since Mr. Lightoller suggested the Titanic Disaster was highly improbable, I have to ask the question.

Was the Titanic Disaster meant to be? 


"It is unsinkable!  God Himself could not sink this ship!!"

In his classic book Night to Remember, Walter Lord blamed the Titanic Disaster on a 'terrible miscalculation.'

Terrible miscalculation, eh?

The word 'unsinkable' rhymes with 'unthinkable'.  And yet the ship sank anyway. 

I live my life by two rules, Realistic and Mystic. 

To me, 'unsinkable' means that, Realistically speaking, based on Mr. Lightoller's estimate, there was a small 'one in a hundred' chance something would go wrong.  Most people would have pegged it closer to one in a million, but let us not quibble.

To me, 'unthinkable' means that, Mystically speaking, some things are meant to happen no matter how remote the odds. 

My Realistic set of Rules says that if I drive too fast in traffic, I am more likely to have an accident.  My Mystic set of Rules say that some things are meant to be no matter what precautions I take.  So I am always careful, but when something happens that makes no sense, I assume it must be Fate.  I go about my life assuming I have Free Will, but I have also learned to accept that some things happen for a reason. 


In my book, I discuss the theory of Cosmic Stupidity.  What is 'Cosmic Stupidity'?  Think 'Divine Inspiration', then flip it 180.  If it is true that Fate plays a part in our lives, then I believe it is possible our common sense can be suspended at certain key points in our life.  I will use the Titanic disaster to make my point. 

One of the reasons people are fascinated with the Titanic Disaster is the freak nature of the accident.  First of all, the ship was considered unsinkable.  Second, the ship had to hit the iceberg at a near impossible angle to expose a small, yet fatal weakness.  Third, what were the odds of hitting an iceberg in the middle of nowhere?

As it turns out, the chances of the Titanic hitting some rogue iceberg were not as remote as it may seem.  The Titanic was approaching a heavily-reported ice field.  In fact, just three days prior to the Titanic Disaster, there was a major collision in the same area.  On the night of April 11, 1912, an ocean liner named Niagara slammed straight into an iceberg in the icy north Atlantic.  Passengers above were thrown from their chairs.  Passengers below rushed in terror to the deck.  Although the ship's bow was badly buckled, no one was hurt.  The ship limped onwards to reach New York in safety.  This event took place in the exact same ice field that the Titanic was approaching.   

On the same evening as the Titanic disaster, a ship named the Californian was heading west on a course near to the Titanic.  In the evening twilight, there was barely enough light left for Captain Stanley Lord to spot the ice field.  Captain Lord ordered the helm hard right and the engines full astern.  The ship's head swung rapidly to the right, but it was almost too late.  The ship entered the loose margins of the ice field, but was unharmed.  Shaken by the near miss, Lord decided to stop and wait until morning to proceed further.

Before leaving the bridge, Lord saw a ship's light to the east.  His fellow officers also saw the ship's lights approaching.  Captain Lord went to the wireless room to find out if there were any ships in the area.  Operator Evans informed Captain Lord that he did: only the Titanic.  A warning was sent at 07:30 pm, but it was disregarded. 

Indeed, on the day of the disaster, the Titanic received iceberg warnings from five different ships: the Caronia, the Athenia, the Amerika, the Californian, and the Mesaba.

At 09:00 am, Titanic received the first ice warning from Caronia.  Captain Smith of the Titanic acknowledged he had received the warning and posted it for his officers to read.

At 01:42 pm, Captain Smith received a warning from the Greek ship Athenia that she was passing ice bergs and large quantities of field ice. This warning was also acknowledged by Smith.  However, the later warnings from the Amerika, the Mesaba, and the Californian either never reached Captain Smith or he was too busy to acknowledge them.

Even if the three later warnings never reached Captain Smith, he still has no excuse.  Over the past four days, Captain Smith had received 21 radio warnings from ships.  Each report stated clearly there was a deadly ice field directly in the ship's path.  The Titanic officers knew full well there was danger out there.  But did they stop or slow down???  No.

The ice wall that stopped Captain Lord and the Californian was ominous indeed.  There were so many icebergs that to attempt to sail through them was akin to walking through a mine.  Later research indicated the Titanic did not make it to the heart of the ice field, but rather hit an iceberg at the very edge.  In other words, the Titanic never had a chance of getting through at night.  There were too many obstacles.

The irony becomes even more intense when one realizes the iceberg warning from the Amerika earlier in the day was sent from practically the same spot where the Titanic sank.  This blatant disregard for safety cannot be explained in any sensible way. 

One can assume that Captain Smith put great faith in the ability of his spotters to detect looming danger... but why would he do that?  Captain Edward Smith was an experienced sailor who about to retire.  However, Smith was persuaded to stick around to take the Titanic on its maiden voyage.  Captain Smith should have known how difficult it was to spot a giant iceberg in the dead of night.  Or, at the very least, Smith should have slowed down.  One would think given the numerous iceberg warnings by wireless over the previous few days, Smith would proceed cautiously. 

So what did Captain Smith do?  Did he stop the ship as night approached?  No.  Did he slow the ship down?  No.  The conclusion of the official British inquiry said the Titanic was going much too fast for these conditions. 

The only precaution Smith took was post two men at the front of the ship.  One of the watchman, a man named Frederick Fleet, survived to tell his story.  He reported being frantic with worry.  As he peered desperately into the murky darkness, he understood clearly the safety of the ship depended on him.  But he couldn't see a thing in the gloom!!  And why was that?  There was no moon on the night the Titanic hit the iceberg.

Experienced sailors report that in dark conditions a ship can come as close as a quarter of a mile - 440 yards - before spotting an iceberg and still escape.  The Titanic lookouts did better than that.  Evidence suggests the Titanic lookouts spotted the iceberg at a distance of 500 yards away.  But that still wasn't good enough due to the ship's speed. 

Given the moonless night and the ice field conditions that Smith had been warned of, the darkness eliminated any realistic chance of spotting an iceberg from a distance.  Therefore, it was foolhardy to be moving so fast.  In fact, the ship's speed was inexplicable. 

The Titanic was sailing at 22 knots that night, a pretty fast clip.  If the men were to spot an iceberg at 440 yards away, at the speed they were moving there was not enough time to avoid the obstacle.   At 22 knots, the giant ship would have needed 850 yards to stop. 

It is one thing to have a slim margin for error, but these calculations show the Titanic never had a chance.  Captain Smith disregarded warnings, he failed to slow down, and he had no business sailing at night.  And yet they say he was an experienced sailor.  Hmm.

In The Night Lives On, Walter Lord's follow-up book about the Titanic, Lord wrote:

"Captain Smith was aware of the ice ahead.  He did not slow down because he was sure that on this clear night any iceberg could be spotted in time to avoid it. In reaching that decision, Smith did not feel that he was doing anything rash. He was following the practice of all captains on the Atlantic run."

Although we will never know what Captain Smith was thinking, his decisions make no sense.  One Captain stopped rather than risk his ship; another maintained a reckless speed.  In certain situations, some people have judgment; some don't.

The officers on the bridge were quite aware of the fact that they would coming up on ice. So why would an experienced shipmaster like Edward Smith deliberately put his ship in harm's way by speeding through an ice field known to contain giant icebergs AT NIGHT?  

Some people might say Arrogance was the reason, but I have a different suggestion. 

Cosmic Stupidity.

What is the difference between Real Stupidity and Cosmic Stupidity?  It is the same thing as Ordinary and Extra-ordinary.  When someone does dumb things all the time, we assume he is Ordinarily very stupid.  But when a Captain with 50 years of naval experience behaves in a colossally stupid way, you have to sit back and wonder about this.  Does Smith deserve the benefit of doubt?  His lack of caution seems very uncharacteristic. 

My theory of Cosmic Stupidity says that at certain key points in our life, our common sense becomes temporarily paralyzed.  I understand this is a controversial theory and I also understand I have no way to prove it.  However, I do have Captain Smith.

Captain Smith is the poster boy for Cosmic Stupidity.  Yes, he made a terrible miscalculation and thereby goes down in history as the idiot responsible for the most famous blunder in maritime history.  But has it ever crossed your mind that his judgment might have been suspended by supernatural intervention? 

In other words, if there is such a thing as 'Fate', then there has to be a mechanism by which it works.  If the Titanic was meant to hit an iceberg, why not persuade Captain Smith to behave in a totally irrational manner?

'He did not slow down because he was sure that on this clear night any iceberg could be spotted in time to avoid it. In reaching that decision, Smith did not feel that he was doing anything rash.'

Furthermore, could there be a darker reason why Smith never received the last three warnings?  What if the Titanic wireless operator was also a victim of Cosmic Stupidity?

How do we explain why Captain Smith had no idea how badly he had miscalculated the difficulty of seeing an iceberg at night?  How do we explain why the wireless operator neglected to warn Captain Smith of dire warnings? 

Looking at it this way, both Captain Smith and the wireless operator may have been blinded.  If so, blinded by whom?  Blinded by Fate?  Smith's behavior was irrational when viewed from a Realistic standpoint, but when seen from a totally different 'Mystic' perspective, Cosmic Stupidity might turn out to be the best explanation of all. 


Much of our lives is utterly predictable, Ho-hum Ordinary on a day to day basis.  But once in a while something happens that is so unlikely we have to take a step back and ask ourselves if we really know what is going on in this world.  Sometimes things happen that defy our Reality-testing equipment to the degree that maybe it is time to look at things in a different way.  I speak here of the concept known as Coincidence

I believe that when something 'Improbable' occurs, it may have a far deeper meaning than we realize.  Could a Coincidence serve as evidence that the events of Man are being manipulated behind the scenes by the Cosmos? 

Unfortunately, these are no longer the days when miraculous events such as the parting of the Red Sea are commonplace, at least not to my knowledge.  I think everyone would agree it would be a lot easier to accept the existence of God if Jesus would reappear to walk on water or raise some new people from the dead.  Since modern miracles are few and far between, in my search for evidence of God's existence, I have settled on mysterious coincidences and improbable events as my next best bet. 

So what exactly do I consider a Coincidence to be?  Here is a good example. 

In 1898, Morgan Robertson wrote a book titled Futility.  The subtitle was The Wreck of the Titan. 

The similarities in this book to the actual wreck of the Titanic are uncanny.  In the fictional version as well as the actual event, both ships struck an iceberg in the middle of the Atlantic.  Both the fictional collision and the actual collision took place at midnight in mid-April.

Robertson's Titan disaster took place 400 miles from Newfoundland. The Titanic disaster took place 400 miles from Newfoundland.

In the book, since the Titan was considered unsinkable, it carried far too few lifeboats, "as few as the law allowed."  Does that sound familiar?

In the book, more than half of the Titan's 2500 passengers drowned.  In real life, more than half the Titanic's 2200 passengers and crew died. 

Although Morgan Robertson was a well-known writer of short stories, Robertson became deeply frustrated when no one would publish his latest book.  The rejection letters all said the same thing.

"Sorry, but no one will ever believe this story."

That 1898 publication date is correct.  The actual Titanic sinking took place in 1912.  Robertson wrote his book 14 years prior to the actual event.

Does the story of Morgan Robertson's 'Titan' prove anything?  No, of course not.  But I think most people will agree this story is weird.  Morgan Robertson was able to describe with startling accuracy the most famous maritime disaster in history 14 years before it took place.  On the surface the Robertson story makes a case for the existence of Precognition.  However, as it stands, Precognition currently belongs in the realm of Pseudo Science. 

Coincidences such as this story give us a compelling reason to be open-minded because they hint at a paradigm in direct contradiction to our existing view of Reality.

So who is right... the tough-minded, skeptical scientist or the person who wonders if there might be more to this world than meets the eye? 

Ultimately it is up to the Reader to reach their own conclusion. 

Rick Archer










"The more frequently one uses the word Coincidence to explain bizarre happenings, the more obvious it becomes that one is not seeking, but rather evading the real explanation."   
        -- Robert Shea & Robert Anton Wilson






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