May 30, 2024


Lately I have been told that, “everything happens for a reason.”
It’s been a reoccurring question of mine as to what does this phrase mean?

If “everything happens for a reason,” what happens when the reason is unknown? You’re left with many unanswered questions, allowing your mind to process every little bit of what could have been, but why continue to search when there possibly isn’t a reason? It just simply happened.

I mean, sometimes we have control over the reason and that’s when everything makes sense. For example you drove carelessly and ended up getting into an accident and broke your arm. You created that reason and are now suffering the consequences.

I think it is possible that some people take the easy way out by using the phrase as a coping mechanism while they deal with difficult situations in their lives.

I find it’s normally used when a person doesn’t get a job he or she wanted, during a loss and after the demise of a relationship. All that has happened to me in the past year.

Having been told these things happened for a reason over and over again, has kept my mind searching for something that I believe happened by chance or accident because trying to look for the reason felt impossible.

So I suggest instead of thinking every crisis or difficulty we face in our lives happens for a reason, thinking of it as it happened by chance or by accident.

According to an article written by Paul Thagard, a philosophy professor at the University of Waterloo, “Even if events that affect human lives do not happen by quantum chance, many of them should be viewed as happening by accident, in the sense that they are the improbable result of the intersection of independent causal chains.”

This proposes that maybe using the word reason isn’t actually the correct word to finish the phrase.

Needless to say, defining the word reason is the next step to understanding the saying.

There are two ways of approaching it. Science and religion.

Let’s start out simple. 

As I mentioned earlier, most of the time we have control over the reason something happened. It’s like a cause-and-effect model. If you decide to drink and drive, you take the chance of getting into an accident which could harm yourself or others.

However, when our fate is undetermined and unanswered, so many of us perpetually end up crediting these misfortunes to the conspiracy of a higher power.

This takes us into the second way of approaching the meaning of reason — one that I have a hard time wrapping my head around.

If there is a God out there, I find it hard to believe that he has managed to plan out a day-to-day destiny for every single person, animal and thing on this Earth.

For example, you get in an accident because you had a drink and then drove. It is not because God planned it for you in order to teach you something. Instead you created your own fate.
It’s just like Thagrad said in the article, “Life can be highly meaningful even if some things that happen are just accidents. Stuff happens and you deal with it.”

I’m not suggesting religious beliefs are the cause of misunderstanding the phrase. I’m simply suggesting that we stop looking for a reason when there isn’t one, and embrace life and its randomness.