Everything happens for a reason

Everything happens for a reason and this reason is usually physics

graffiti on tile

.

How many people do you know who – even though they don’t profess any sort of religious affiliation – are convinced that “everything happens for a reason”? Or else they say particular things are “meant to be” … or “not meant to be”.

An example: A customer comes into the store you work in and looks at a set of dinner bowls, or a beautiful French knife, a hand-crafted scarf, or a pair of gold earrings. You come out from behind the counter and spend time with the customer, attentive without being pushy. You know she really wants that lovely thing, and you intuit that she’s trying to convince herself it’s okay to make the purchase.

“If it’s here when I come in on pay-day,” she tells you, “I’ll know it was meant to be.” And you realise there’s a ‘back-story’ underlying her behaviour – one about which we know virtually nothing – like the string of silk handkerchiefs a magician might pull from his sleeve at a children’s birthday party. (Yes, it’s a trick, a deception, but very effective when expertly handled.)

“Everything happens for a reason and this reason is usually physics.” I’m on Facebook, and this meme has been posted by a page calling itself Empty and Meaningless. One pedantic person has commented: “Except that it’s called a ’cause’ instead of a ‘reason’.” Yeah, yeah. Yadda yadda yadda.

The point is that the machinery of “life, the universe, and everything” operates on the basis of cause and effect. Chaos theory and quantum physics have tried to explain it, of course, with talk of things like the butterfly effect – but it’s still mindbogglingly complicated.

And what about when things go wrong? Do they really happen in threes? “The perceived perversity of the universe has long been a subject of comment, and precursors to the modern version of Murphy’s law are not hard to find” (Wikipedia: Murphy’s Law). But there’s nothing perverse about it. Everything that could possibly happen is waiting in the wings, eager for its opportunity, its big moment. And as soon as it gets a chance, it’ll happen. Don’t take it personally.

But of course we do tend to take everything personally. And rightly so, because each of us lives in a unique – and uniquely personalised – world that exists only in our mind. “Reality is not what it seems to be, nor is it otherwise” (Tibetan Buddhist teaching). Furthermore, “We don’t know what matter is any more than we know what mind is” (Christian de Quincy, in The Paradox of Consciousness).

So if most of what is happening within us and around us can be explained by (or at least attributed to) physics, what else is there which – albeit less frequently and/or less likely – might have something to do with driving what’s happening?

There’s a Talmudic tradition that “Every blade of grass has its angel that bends over it and whispers, ‘Grow, grow’.” Alan Lurie explains that “everything yearns to grow; it is an inherent drive embedded in all creation”(Listening To The Call Of Growth). “According the Talmudic writer, one of the forces that angels carry is the urge to grow – to develop, improve, and evolve. By noting that even every blade of grass is imbued with this urge, the Talmudic saying teaches that, like light, gravity, and electromagnetism, growth is a ubiquitous force of nature.”

Life is opportunistic. Everything yearns to grow.

__________

NOTES:

1/ The origins of Yadda yadda yadda can be traced back with certainty to the controversial comedian Lenny Bruce in the early 1960s (see The Straight Dope for further information).

2/ Recommended reading: Consciousness and Reality (Peter Russell).

3/ “Art evokes the mystery without which the world would not exist.” (René Magritte)

 

 

Glimpses of what we might do next

It is not futile to do what we do. We wake up with energy and we do something. And we make, of course, failures and we make mistakes, but we sometimes get glimpses of what we might do next. (John Cage

For several days, I’ve been taking a look at some of the things I’ve posted on this blog, wondering what I’ve been doing. And I’ve scribbled a few notes, pondering how I might crystallize or summarize what I’ve been doing.

And I’ve concluded that I don’t need to crystallize or summarize; I just need to keep on doing what I’ve been doing.

Ennui

Not happy with my
lot today; it must be the 
nor’wester, I guess.
Maybe reading a good book
will help take my mind off it.

Pausing from my book
I recognise that something
inexplicable
has just occurred; happy now,
I continue my reading.

Making the darkness conscious

Enlightenment consists not merely in the seeing of luminous shapes and visions, but in making the darkness visible. (Carl G Jung) 

One does not become enlightened by imagining figures of light, but by making the darkness conscious. (Carl G Jung) 

In his poem titled The Light of Mind (02 Sep 2011), John Weeren nicely catches something intrinsic to the human mind:

the light of mind
asks how to create shadows —
only darkness knows

Best I not say more.

Breathing

Awkwardly, inter-
rupting the expected
pattern, there was this
abrupt halt — nothing for it
but to wait; only waiting.

Not, perhaps, what I’d
anticipated, but a
released breath — and then,
until the next breath, nothing …

Questionable intentions?

Were you hoping for
an explanation? looking
to see if I would
apologize and resume?
or just fail to carry on?

Intentions? too strong
a word, now, in this context?
Have I been busy?
writing? Does it seem likely
I’ll ever choose to share it?