The Meaning of Life, Part Two

Do the events in your life have meaning, or are they random?

Some people believe that there are no coincidences, that everything happens for a reason, whether or not that reason is apparent.  This leads them to the life-changing conclusion that everything happens for the best.

Other people consider this belief to be wishful thinking and consider that life mostly happens as a matter of chance.

Most people actually live somewhere between these two extremes.

In other words, many people wish they could have such a faith, but think that they would have to lie to themselves and cannot do so.

Many others have an inner sense of some kind of cosmic meaning to events, yet struggle with serious doubts about this, especially in the face of personal misfortune.

Further, the whole question of the meaning of events has gotten a very bad reputation, because people often apply the perspective backwards.  Let me explain.

The historical source of the providential outlook (from the Jewish tradition) was consistent and clear that the statement that everything happens for a positive purpose is simultaneously:

  1. one of the best insights to apply to oneself
  2. and one of the worst possible statements to make to someone else.

Frequently, the opposite occurs.

People may tell others who suffer that their agony has a purpose but respond to their own suffering with, “How can this happen to me?”

Assuming we apply this outlook only to ourselves, we are still stuck with a dilemma, whether or not the contingencies of life have any positive meaning.

Clearly, the worldviews of purposeful events versus chance-events are opposites, at least philosophically.

What is not so clear is that, psychologically, the difference between them is irrelevant.

How can this be?

It is so because people who live their lives as if everything happens for a reason step up to meet the events of their lives willingly.

By the time they are done responding to their fortune, it looks like destiny.

One cannot tell, watching them, whether the events originally had meaning or were just contingencies of life.

This is a much better way to live.

Whatever your beliefs, whatever your doubts, do not let go of the ways that life wrestles with you, without extracting a blessing.

This requires no leap of faith and can easily be confirmed by reviewing any of the accounts of people who have faced adversity with tenacity leading to inspiring rewards.

Face each event of your life as if it were the next opportunity to breakthrough to possibilities that you had missed before, and that is exactly how it will look.

It is also exactly how it will feel.

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This entry was posted on Monday, February 6th, 2012 at 1:28 pm and is filed under Uncategorized. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

2 Responses to “The Meaning of Life, Part Two”

  1. Antryanet Says:

    There’s nature & nurture of course. There are also so many variables. We can’t control what others do which may affect us. Quantum mechanics is a good analogy as it is about probability so chance seems to apply. Even our conscious decisions may only be an illusion. Faced with a heads or tails coin flip, we will always get one of two answers, yet maths & physics could predict the outcome if we input all the variables of how the coin is tossed. Further we could predict over many flips that we’d get 50:50 results. But each flip would be hard to predict! Life seems more complex than this, but probably isn’t!

  2. Dr. Rick Blum Says:

    What excites me most about the perspective in the blog-post is that it makes room for either point of view regarding causation. In other words, whether events are random or providential, our best response is exactly the same. Thanks for contributing!

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