“The pessimist reason that things just happen, where the optimist believe that things happen for a reason.” – Anthony Liccione
The Phrase: Everything Happens for a Reason — Does it?
While I ruminate over this commonly overused phrase, I try to understand the etymology, its genesis into our syntax. Sometimes I’ve suggested as much, but I wonder if it was some sort of regurgitation of other people’s stance to make that comment have substance. I keep going in circles, do I believe this horseshit or don’t I? Why is this question a mental showstopper within my synapses?
It shouldn’t need to be said, but sadly, does need to be said: Anyone who uses superlatives in their statements is absolute garbage. EVERY single ONE of them (see what I did there?). Does that mean the person is a piece of shit? Well, that depends, do they ONLY speak using superlatives to overdramatize their problems, or perceptions of problems? Many people who use superlatives are either highly emotional, volatile, and/or probably not very well educated.
If you are unfamiliar with superlatives in language, it’s any term that qualifies far too many or far too few characteristics. Hyperbolic statements using the highest degree of comparison via adverbs or adjectives. Words like: every, everyone, all, all-the-time, no-one, never, etc… Every single one of these, unless someone has polled every single living thing, is unacceptable for anyone to use as quantitative (or lack thereof) statements to further their moot point(s). This is akin to statisticians who woefully disregard sets of data in lieu of over-emphasizing their point. Essentially a witch-hunt, or creating their vacuum-infused echo chamber, or plain ole bias confirmation.
The more I contemplate this, deep down, rooting out the beliefs supporting this, I realize, it’s overused and often placed into conversations where confusion has become the bedpartner. I ask others why they feel this is a legitimate phrase, research others’ reactions, and nothing compels me to believe their arguments. No amount of heavenly emotional logic makes this resonate with me.
The unanimity of how this just magically works for people is the sheer fact that people simply place faith and apply irrational explanations as their power thesis. The consensus articulates that the logical people won’t be able to make sense of this because of their strident beliefs in logic needing to prevail: if q, then p, is a natural flow of consequences. There seems to be so much artistic license in making shit make sense. We all want stuff to make sense, but do we deserve these fairy tales?
Think of a coloring book. We all know that a coloring book comes with darkly outlined pictures with the hope that people will use their imagination to apply colors inside of the picture. It fuels creativity. That’s it. You have the rule followers, the ones who color within the lines. You have the rule-breakers, the ones who color everywhere BUT within the lines. Then you have the creatives, the ones who push our constructs of how pictures should be colored.
Life isn’t relegated to 3 types of people. This analogy serves the purpose to introduce how misguided we are due to upbringing, the gaggle of friends we have, or by people within our circles imposing their lofty views into our lives. Imposing, while a strong word, suggests that it is an action that those who are unable to disagree, with any grace, foist their beliefs on others. Trust me, I haven’t polled nearly enough of the 7+ billion people in this world, but the many different types of people I have met, holy fuckweasels, an awful lot of them are sheep.
Being one sheep wouldn’t be bad in our population, but congregating around other sheep, does become a problem. Once people start congregating, then it melds directly into ‘herd mentality’ which, as we all know, is downright dangerous. Herd mentality is myopic at best or inspiring the spark that often leads to violent actions against a population. Sheep ARE weak-minded people who either lost direction or never gained perspective or direction they ought to live their lives.
While it seems, this conversation derailed considerably, regarding the fucking cosmos, trust me, we ARE going to get back there. That coloring book I mentioned earlier, in the sixth paragraph, to be precise, is exactly why weak-minded people need to be addressed. Many people enjoy coloring books, but remember when you got your first coloring book and you were asking yourself internally, what the fuck is this shit? Remember how your mother, father, brother, sister, cousin, sketchy uncle, grandparent, or some other uber-suspicious person who doted upon you, showed you the ropes. They would grab a crayon and start shading in close to the lines, to not cross over the lines, thus setting a good example. These people were already guiding you, directing you, imparting the rules to the game, by their shading. Mind you, all these people were doing was sharing THEIR perceived expectations.
These people were aware they were not nurturing an artist at this young age. Their guidance taught you, it’s not cool if you color outside the lines, but what did you do once you got that crayon? You know exactly what you did, you fucking doodled, you scribbled, you got the tactile functionality of a crayon, held clumsily in your hand, set in your mind. You had virtually no control of this urge to replicate what you were just taught, your motor functions were not nearly as developed, or would it be construed as harnessed? Every one of your first entanglements with coloring books has pages upon pages of outrageously scribbled crayon, marker, colored pencil, or your mom’s mascara all over these pages. Not one of them was a masterpiece. I do not care how drunk your parents were when they told you it was. You are not getting a participation award for your clumsiness as a toddler.
Currently what we are doing at this juncture of this blog post is crafting your expectations. Much like someone taught you how to color INSIDE the lines. This is where rhetoric comes from. Being told so many times, you lose the ability to know if it started with you or someone or something else. We are slowly shading the picture within the lines. Let’s use something simple as the coloring page subject. A dog or a cat. Every single one of us, that didn’t eat our first set of crayons, colored that creature some excruciatingly abnormal color. Who has seen a green fucking Siamese, or a purple Samoyed? Other than designer pet parents, who get their pets fur dyed, no one. We were taught to unleash our ‘creativity.’ Creativity isn’t born out of the perverse, is it? As a toddler, our rules are often bent, for good reason. We weren’t given the rules once we vacated our mother’s womb – or test tube, yeah, that’s coming, peeps.
By having our guide, whoever that was, at the time, showing us how to color our first cat or dog picture, they carefully, and methodically press their crayon hard along the lines, like an invisible boundary. Then they start filling in the picture from the outside, inward. Before they complete the body of the animal, they are coloring, they leave a tiny spot open in the center, uncolored. This is for us to scribble the fuck out of their masterpiece and make them laugh at us. This concept of Everything happens for a reason falls directly in this spot.
We’ve had so many people shape our thoughts, define concepts, and challenge precepts. “Every blade of grass is green!” we grow up thinking that for the longest time, until the thought dawns on us, bullshit, dead grass is NOT green! However, we must color ALL grass, in pictures, green. Our thoughts were coached. Even artistic people, while their art is their life, have to follow rules, as much as they hate it. Andy Warhol painted Campbell’s soup cans. He followed the rules of physics, the understood model of our daily lives, and rendered contrasting paintings of soup cans. No one confuses what he painted, it’s plain as fucking day. To say artists lack logic is errant. They have an imaginative mind, and yet they must succumb to natural laws. They ask the question: “What if?” with a completely different algorithm than those steeped in philosophy, science, and medicine.
Citing with irrefutable proof that everything happens for a reason, is one thing. Sure, there is a shitton of sequential events that led to a certain outcome. Where this comment, or set of thoughts, seem to go astray is when we presume with our artistic or logical minds, that one plus one now equals seventy-five. Science is reductive, insomuch as it further tries to refine AND define. Learning a truth that could be stated as an observed law. Refining and defining come with their own set of risks. If the scope is too small, yet those results are projected upon too great of a population, outside the original scope, it now lacks validity. If I observe one colony of ants in my backyard. Every single one of the 983 ants I observed was black, I can therefore conclude with approximate certainty, that all the ants in my backyard are probably going to be black.
The fact is: the count of 983 ants is merely a percentage. Statistical analysis should also refute my perception of all ants in my backyard are black. Maybe the size of my yard only allows for 983 ants to reside in a colony. If the yard is far greater than that, we have a problem. I’d be a fool articulating that my statistical analysis allows me to conclude with 97% accuracy, that all ants are black. This is a horrible projection. This is like a toddler scribbling through the 97% completed colored cat or dog picture.
What I seem to get from those that find solace in this statement: Everything happens for a reason, is that they presume, project, and conclude. Take for instance another lost art, connect the dot drawing. It’s a sequentially numbered drawing form, to help young children, or vulnerable adults to draw, using sequences. Again, presented with our first dot-to-dot drawing, we royally shit the bed. We didn’t connect 1 to 2. We were very dynamic and living in the moment. We started at dot number 47 and stubbornly connected to dot 130 and then to 78 then to 3. We had our guides pulling out their hair wondering what sort of drugs this child’s mother, during pregnancy, was on to think this is legit. This is the fight between logic and art.
Next comes the marriage of these two to make shit make sense. Eventually, we all learn to color INSIDE the lines, we learn to connect each dot sequentially following one another. We learn puzzles to challenge our growth and perceptions of this world. Some are innately good at it, while others are utter horseshit. We get a general idea of how the world works around us. We start absorbing other people’s philosophies. Some people call it good at this point. Others allow their curiosity to lead them through challenging times. What this boils down to is: what makes us unique isn’t that we’ve come up with a philosophy in life that completely upends the current set of philosophies. No, all we’ve done was compile the philosophies and strategies we learned from others.
The older we get, we start to refine and ultimately define which philosophies apply any credibility to our future strategies. We learn to become more efficient at applying the ones that work and shunning, or tossing, the ones that no longer provide any use. This consummate optimism becomes a problem relating a series of unrelated events into one big ass stew of purpose. How many people reflect on: Everything happens for a reason, is by using loose association? I’ve done this most of my life, which is why I am currently in tumult. I had a childhood less desirable. I’ve placated people who tried to apologize for what I experienced, by telling them, I HAD to go through that to become the person I am today. That’s a fucking speculative projection.
983 ants equal the whole world? All grass is green? For-fucking-real? I went through a shit childhood so I could be the person I am today? All of my current characteristics, while hardened and honed, are all speculations of shitty childhood? I bought this shit, hook, line, and sinker. I even went so far as to cite, and this is no shit: It was better for me to have dealt with what I did, than someone less strong. 983 ants do NOT equal the world. MY SHITTY childhood did not make me the jilted, jaded, and jocund overripened fetus I am today. In my whole life, akin to all the ants in the world, I am ascribing 983 characteristics of my past to proffer a future projection.
In all honesty, having religion peddle that bullshit down anyone’s throat is nothing short of brainwashing. So we are ascribing a sequential list of dots to the whole picture. Starting at conception, I come from two alcoholic sides of families, two mentally disturbed sides of families, and two people who never figured out that they shouldn’t have procreated. Boom, out of the gate, I am fucked, according to this dot-to-dot connection. Having a mother who was withdrawn, who deferred to actual toxic masculinity, the shit that was called: wife-beating, which was the social norm for her and her mother’s era, who wasn’t able to protect me from the evil of this man she married after I was conceived. A marriage built from the fear of a child being called a bastard. That stigma caused people to make some tremendously foolish decisions.
The Bible has interpretations of citing that everything happens for a purpose, aka, a reason. Anyone who knows how to use google can probably have the full force of a Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance to cross-reference verses in the Bible like a pro. Finding verses that help you cross-index the shit written tens or hundreds of years apart in a book. All of this, under the guise of Divine Intervention. Inspiration from God, to the sheep, is powerful. Allow a religious person to tell you your future is written already because their book tells them God told them so. Let that same person hear you are about to go to a palm reader to get some direction, and then you best prepare for the fancy footwork castigating you to hell, you fucking heathen.
This article isn’t to simply chastise the religious. Oh no, they can be reduced by their rhetoric just as easily as secular people. If you accept that God knows all the chapter names in your journey, you are coloring in the lines. You rely on witches, mediums, or other forms of the devil, you are then scribbling outside the lines. Religion touts its understanding of faith. You DO have to have a lot of faith in how that works. Mind you, if any of you (the audience) were to come full throttle at me singing my praises about how the church is bad (meaning, any type of religion), I would flip on your ass in a heartbeat. Devil’s advocate, sophistry, whatever you want to call it, would happen.
There is a luxury in anticipating the antithesis to an argument. It forces you to think from that perspective, forces you outside of your comfort level. It allows you to color outside the lines. This diatribe about religion is merely an aside, but it has actual context in the whole scheme of things. It should help you outline that while I sit here contemplating my existence, why am I here, where have I come from, and do I even deserve to live, I put a lot of thought into these trains of consciousness. I had to go to a small church school so that I could become an apologist? That must be the reason why that happened, right? I lived with my mother, who lived with a silver-tongued hypocrite, who went to church so that I could explain religion to a bunch of heathens who could chastise religious beliefs?
Everything happens for a reason, right? We are taught that from our coloring book days, our connect-the-dot days, and the days we learned exactly what too-close-to-the-flame meant days. There is a marriage of the perverse to make all of this make a modicum of sense. Connecting dot 107 to dot 15, just shortcuts our understanding. We allow others to interpret the reason why things happened to us, for some cosmic fucking reason. We buy their bullshit, and say, ‘Yeah, you know what, that makes complete sense.’ We expect shitty situations to force us to act like our own phoenix, out of some ashes that just turned to mud from the monsoon of shit. We equate the inequitable as irrefutable. WHY? Isn’t that essentially, torment?
Our own adopted fairy tales have forced us to make sense of the nonsense. I had to wear shitty RoadRunner shoes from K-Mart to be ridiculed, so I would know what it’s like to be ridiculed. Which would lead me to become empathic? No, my parents, as led by my demeaning stepfather, who was a cheapskate. I was viewed as baggage since he wanted to bang my mother but sadly had to accept me to fuck her. The cosmos didn’t force me to wear those fucking cheap-ass shoes because I needed to learn more pre-empathy. Using this as a moral imperative to derive meaning in life is what fills people’s egos. “I did something you didn’t, look at me, I overcame, so can you. My life gained purpose to give YOU hope. Now, pay me for my service to humanity.”
Telling someone their life has a purpose because it impacted one life, is yet another guilt-ridden fairy tale. Assuaging our ego, to give us purpose – or made to feel we have a purpose. The cosmos kept me from killing myself so I could help another person not want to kill themselves, so therefore now my life is filled with meaning and irrefutable purpose. Telling someone the cosmos or some deity oversees their purpose is simple. It is no different than applying hermeneutics to each designer situation. So, you’ve dealt with a set of problems, and yet here you are: Answer – YOU ARE STRONG, keep going! You dealt with another subset of troubles in your life: Answer – YOU WERE PERSISTENT, keep going!
This seems to be a multi-faceted inner turmoil I am dealing with. The phrase: Everything happens for a reason, is often used to instill hope in people. Give them this qualified glimpse of a light at the end of the tunnel. Let me apply another cool phrase for you, that’s often overused, and you try to tell me how apropos it is: Survival of the fittest. Darwinian proverb, right? Allow me to throw a fucking monkey wrench into this for you: nuclear war – if only the strongest survive, all those that died, were weak, right? Somehow cockroaches were the actual fittest? Catchphrases shouldn’t lead us into a false sense of both self and security as they do. This is a problem. I am plagued with it, and it isn’t just existential dread. It’s the infinite pursuit of universal truth.
As always, I welcome any constructive criticism, or complementary theories, analogies, anecdotes. I would love to hear if you find these edicts of challenge useful or utter horseshit. Similar to the ’90s when the catchphrase, ‘Be Kind, Rewind’ was hailed as a marketing genius. I need to come up with one that invites you to either subscribe, via WordPress or email, like posts or even comment on posts. Immediate feedback is useful for anyone. Thank you very much for reading through all of this drivel. Be well, stay safe, AND stay sane!