Sunday, July 17, 2016

The Delusion of Purpose

In the course of human tragedies, whether they are caused by an accident, illness, natural catastrophe or criminal activity, we often hear the retort that "everything happens for a reason."  The implication is that God has a master plan into which the tragedy fit; of course, it also implies that there is a sadistic, manipulative deity who established and carries out such a plan.

For many of us, it is more plausible that tragedies are an unfortunate part of life, that nature is not fair and that humans are capable of evil behavior.  Believing that tragic events are part of a grand scheme may serve to lessen the grief of survivors but mysticism has nothing to do with truth; indeed, this belief places a significant psychological burden on those affected by tragedy, leaving them to wonder what achievements are expected in response.

Life is fragile and death is often random.  While efforts to stay healthy and avoid injury may reduce the risk of an early death, tragic events occur nonetheless.  Falling victim to such tragedies is often a matter of pure bad luck; to suggest otherwise is to disrespect the lives of those who were lost.