. . . not.
A thing that bothers me – and I mean, really bothers me – is the propensity of people to assign meaning or intent to everyday events.
Some will do it explicitly (“thank you, god, for this or that”), and some will do it implicitly (“there must have been a reason why this or that happened”).
Some take it a step further: “there is a reason this happened, and something good will come of it.”
Underlying all those sentiments is the denial of the tenet “shit happens“ and the egotistical and self-absorbed belief that “something“ or “someone” has a particular interest in what happens to us, as if the Universe/god knows who we are and takes an interest in our lives.
The first is almost understandable; the thought that events are random, that our existence has no inherent meaning other than what we ourselves give it, that we are at the mercy of chance is scary to some. Especially since there is no evidence that “chance” has any mercy.
Chance has no malice, either, so that should be a balancing consolation.
The probability of a particular event happening can, somewhat, be influenced by our own actions (i.e. – head the wrong way down a one-way street and you significantly increase your odds of getting into an accident) but sometimes, regardless of the precautions we take, shit happens.
To my mind, the pinnacle of ego is thinking we are the specific target, the reason things happen.
For example, idiots in Brittain voted to exit the EU, and as a consequence, my portfolio took a big hit.
“Why, oh why did this happen to ME!?” I cry as I sink to my knees, my arms raised to the sky, my hands balled into fists and shaking with the fury of a self-declared victim.
Seriously believing the Universe conspired to turn 51% of a small nation half a world away into short-sighted idiots just so it could personally hurt me, why, that would get me labeled as an idiot.
But, that is exactly what a lot of people do when some event perturbs their lives. Usually, a negative event.
To a point, I understand it. They want for events to have some meaning, so they ascribe a meaning to it.
Religious morons do it all the time . . . say an earthquake strikes California, doing billions in damage, killing thousands . . . some religious leader will claim it as punishment from god because California collectively sinned. Of course, one could make up any ole shit to “explain” events.
You could claim it’s not the gods humans pray to that caused the earthquake. Rather, it’s the gods cockroaches pray to that punished humanity for the invention of Raid.
For that matter, I personally think that if a god-like entity does exist, this infinitely powerful entity gets bored and entertains itself by messing with people’s lives. Basically, it’s a jerk.
Here’s why I say it’s dangerous to let one’s thought wander along those paths:
It relieves one from all responsibility for one’s action. Worse yet, it lessens the fear most people have about the statement “shit happens“. They are often sure the Universe/God will take care of them.
But, in fact, shit does happen. Sometimes, you are in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Then, there are those who, following a catastrophe, will literally say the following:
“I want to thank my god, Berto, for sparing my life even as it wiped out thousands of other people. Bless you, Berto, for your kindness and compassion.”
That mentality perforce will drift into thinking all them people who died somehow deserved it. They displeased The Universe/god and paid the price of its wrath. They also may drift into thinking we, the survivors, are somehow blessed, a god’s favorite, of sorts.
You can hear this daily in the news, and it’s both sad and scary.
The other dangerous part of this is the aftermath, and this is particularly scary for me, an atheist.
How often have you heard the request to either pray or to collectively wish for a good outcome when someone is ill or hurt?
Mind you, I always hope the person who is hurt will eventually be OK, but I can’t in good conscience think that me “wanting” them to be well can affect the outcome.
Not a big deal if the person recovers, but what if they don’t? Will I get blamed for not praying or wishing hard enough?
And, what exactly am I wishing for? I have no illusions about my power to sway the Universe/god toward a “good” outcome. Certainly, if there is a god, she ain’t inclined to listen to me. If she did, I have a few things to discuss with her; things like cancer in kids (or anyone), MS, dementia, birth defects, and a whole slew of unnecessary human misery.
Don’t get me wrong, I always hope for the best of outcomes for everyone, but don’t, just don’t, saddle me with the responsibility of affecting the outcome with my “positive thinking”. The outcome will be the same whether I hope for the patient to die or live.
In fact, I know with a high degree of certainty that my wishing anything has zero effect. Many people would now be dead had I truly the power to sway The Universe/god. Also, there would be no wars, famine, no assholes, no greedy malicious people, and no prune-filled pastries. We would all be living in a veritable paradise.
Plus, you know, it confounds me that people pray or supplicate to the same Universe/god that let the bad thing happen.
Why in tarnation would you ask for help from the same entity that supposedly had a hand in causing the problem in the first place?
. . . and that’s when we get back to that “there’s a reason for why it happened”. Again, my bet is because if there is a Universe/god intelligence ‘directing’ things, it is an asshole. I stress that is just my opinion, and apparently, that’s not the prevailing opinion.
I mentioned earlier that many people assert not only that something happens for a reason (i.e. something or someone making things happen in your life) but that something good will come of it. In other words, something or someone brought shit into your life to benefit either you, your life or both.
Well, crap, why not find a better way to improve people’s lives? Is there really a need to cause an accident, have someone fall gravely ill, have kids suffer from cancer, have someone die, have others be hurt so bad that they will suffer for the rest of their lives?
I mean, were I an all powerful god, I’m sure I could come up with a way to make people’s lives better without hurting them in the process. Otherwise, what kind of crappy god would I be?
I am meandering . . . in part, that’s because the internet is going in and out and I’ve had to step away from this post a number of times . . . everything happens for a reason. I’m thinking the Internet goes down so I can eat more junk food. That’s my theory, and I’m sticking with it.
Also, it would help if everyone would think positive thoughts with regards to me not running out of Malasadas or Dark Chocolate Covered Macadamia Nuts. I will hold you all responsible should I run out of either.
Look, I get it . . . it would be nice if there were an organ grinder. If there were a purpose behind everything that happens. It would give us all some hope that we might affect the outcome.
But, even if it was true (and no one has ANY evidence it is) is that the way we want to live our lives? On our knees, supplicating to a capricious, insensitive, and cruel Universe/god?
Apparently, the answer for many people is a resounding “give me them kneepads!“
Not me, Bob. It’s not in my nature. And wouldn’t that be a cruel joke! If there were a sentient and all-powerful Universe/god, it made me incapable of believing in it. Ironic isn’t it?
It’s even more ironic that believers would hold me responsible for it. Think about it . . . they believe their god is all-powerful and the creator of everything; their god made me incapable of blind belief . . . yet they, the believers, want me to go counter to how their god made me. “That don’t make no sense!” . . . especially since many are more than willing to kill me for being how their god made me.
If people really, really believed everything happens for a reason and that things ultimately work out for the best, we would hear more of the following:
“Did you hear?”
“Bob slipped and fell into a meat grinder. He lost both his legs and part of one arm. Also, he’ll have to spend all of his money for constant and never-ending medical bills. He won’t be able to send his kids to college, and he had to sell his family home and move to a shelter. His wife divorced him, and the owner of the meat grinder is suing him for the repairs to the meat grinder.”
“Man, that Bob was always a lucky guy! I wonder what great things are coming his way because of this. Why, it’s gonna be amazingly great!”
“Yeah, Bob’s pretty psyched about the good stuff that must be coming his way real soon! He wishes he had lost his other arm as well, that way his future good fortune would be even greater!”
We would also hear more of this:
“Meanwhile, Bob is in danger of dying from his massive injuries. His health insurance company wanted to fly him to the Denver Teaching Hospital where they are doing amazing research on Meat Grinder Accident Reconstruction, but he refused. Instead, he’s asking everyone he knows to ask everyone they know to ask everyone they know to form a thought circle and really, really, really think positive thoughts and wish him healthy again. For them so inclined, he’s also asking them to pray real hard. So far, everyone but Emilio is onboard with it. Why, we figure Bob’s legs will grow back within a few weeks.”
“I don’t know . . . that asshole Emilio gots himself some pretty powerful negative vibes . . . “
“I know, I know . . . if Bob dies, we’ll all get together and burn the little shit at the stake.”
OK, I kid about some of this stuff . . . somewhat.
It’s actually serious stuff. Humans have an infinite capacity for rationalization, fantasy, wishful thinking, and delusion.
Some argue each of those things are not only necessary but essential for helping people cope with life.
I don’t see it. The concept adds an unnecessary and nonsensical layer to our lives.
How does inventing and interjecting an unfathomable and inscrutable all-powerful being into our lives make things any better or simpler than just accepting the idea that “shit happens” by random chance alone? How do you change your thinking?
Easy. Rename “god” to “chance”. There, you’ve just removed thousands of years of guilt, silly rules, and pointy hats. Plus, there is no book you have to pretend to have read. And if you did read it, you now don’t have to ignore all the bat-shit crazy stuff in there like stoning your son and selling your daughters and beating your slaves.
That photo is slightly out of focus. If you happen to have an in with The Universe/god, would you please make the effort and concentrate real hard on good thoughts? Specifically, to turn the central subject in focus.
Hey, wait a second! I just ran out of Malasadas! Alright, who’s the jerk out there who slacked off in their wishing/prayers/good thoughts about me not running out of Malasadas? I want names and numbers; you and I are going to have a little talk about your ineffectual and puny god. Hell, it’s not like I was asking to cure cancer; I just wanted more malasadas. There are cooks who can help me out more than your god, and they are not even all powerful.
Finally, this photo from the flower post . . .
I thought those were the dried leaves of some climbing plant . . . they are not.
They are fish tails nailed to the tree. During this morning’s walk, I walked right up to them to see what they were. Fish tails. Here are a few other renditions of them.
That’s it. This post has ended . . . except for the stuff below.
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. . . my FP ward . . . chieken shit.