Rule 18 Things (must) happen for a reason

Two people meet in a bar and get married a few years later, an old man who was a nasty old bugger, dies in his home alone, you split with your girlfriend or boyfriend, you find a puppy in the park and in observing these occurrences, someone in a stroke of philosophical genius recants the phrase “things happen for a reason” and with that patronising, reassuring smile, they rest content that they have solved another of life’s mysteries and from this point on your amazing karmic life will be full of exciting mystical happenings attributed to “things happen for a reason” theory.

Water in a kettle changes temperature for the simple reason that you apply heat energy to it, whether through radiation, convection or conduction or similarly if you put it in a position of lower heat energy, it will become cooler. That is something happening for a reason. There is an occurrence and a direct observable cause. Water does not get hot because of an inherent karmic predestination to do so. Hit that switch on the wall.. go on.. do it.. !! That light bulb is going to switch on.. no not that one…. ah yes.. that one!!

Einstein wanted to devise a theory to explain why things happens, in fact why everything happens, Newton did pretty well with that sort of thing too, they had theories that proved things. I can tell you if I was to remove my thumbnail with a pair of pliers that it would bloody well hurt… cause and effect.. understood and painfully clear.

So let’s have a look at that lovely puppy that you found in the park. There is a fire at your home, you are asleep and smoke overcomes you, the puppy, now a full-grown chihuahua drags you to safety, passing out of course on the lawn of your suburban home and the world is notified via a viral post that a rescued animal saves its saviour… “things happen for a reason”, a force, maybe “the force” put that helpless puppy in the park, so that in the future it could save you.

Yup, that does it for me, I’m sold.

Well, I’m not really, I don’t believe in ghosts, ghoolies, vampires, Presbyterians, politicians or the goose that laid the golden egg. I am not sure about Santa though.. he seems pretty real.. I’ve seen him on TV.

So, my joviality aside, I will say that I am excited by interesting coincidences and believe they are opportunities not to be wasted. You happen to bang your car into the most beautiful girl you have ever seen and she isn’t angry and you chat and hit it off.. well, it’s maybe a way of meeting people, if you want to look at the statistics of the chances of it happening, it might seem slim or impossible, but then again, look at the possibilities and the number of accidents and you can actually see that it’s possible and definitely not improbable. There is something romantic or irrational or “lucky” about beneficial or even life changing situations that seem to occur through random events. They seem so well-timed as if there is divine intervention, “if he hadn’t got that call, he would have been in the hotel when the bomb went off”, “she was late for her bus and walked to the next street to another stop, there she met her future husband, who lived 3 miles away and had used the bus stop only on that morning, because his friend’s car had broken down round the corner”.

“Things happen for a reason”. I think babies happen because of sex. I think it rains because evaporation forms clouds and when they become very dense the moisture forms droplets of water that fall to earth. I think if you drink enough water, you will go pee. I think if I leave my onions in the frying pan, on full heat, they will go black and burn and stink out the house. those things happen for a reason.

I am not trying to kill the romantic dream of the bus stop couple. I fact I myself have been subject to random acts recently that are so well-timed they smell like divine intervention. If something didn’t happen randomly, then I wouldn’t have been in contact with Miss Teree and if it didn’t happen when it did, we would never have known of each others existence.

There are 7.4 billion hearts beating on the face of this planet, take a scenario, throw it in the air and see where it lands. There will be people far “smarter” than I who can give you formulae that predict the likelihood of you meeting Beyoncé at a diner, or of becoming president or of dying in a freak bar mitzvah gas explosion, caused by a part-time performing clown named Jacques, who is a transgender dentist from Kazakhstan…

We love to feel that life is somehow divinely guided, whether it be by the stars, numerology, fate, Kismet or karma, god or one of the many current gods, it gives some meaning to our lives right? Actually, I feel if my life is guided by some stars or a god, then it’s not my life, my life is a play toy  held in the cyclic whimsical hand of “fate” and good or bad, I am not an individual, I am a puppet at the control of a “higher purpose” amongst all the other puppets, a heavenly hand shoved up my fabric behind, playing Punch to fates Judy.

The phrase “things happen for a reason” does not predispose us to know the outcome of an action, rather we attribute an outcome from a random action and attribute this to a non recurrent, random situation.  If every puppy rescued from the park, saved someone, I might agree, that “things happen for  a reason”in the mystical context it is usually applied.  If every couple randomly met at bus stops then I might assume that “things happen for a reason” probably that bus stops are good meeting places….

Sorry to be a cynic in the great course of the exciting mysticism of life, but it seems like a fairy story, but of course if you read this and realise the ridiculous nature of the idea… or you think I’m wrong and strongly feel the opposite, then remember…

“Things happen for a reason”.




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