I’ve begun to notice that some of my most salient thoughts originate from this dysphoric haze of confusion, that my moments of clarity require a commitment to swimming around in murky clouds of bewilderment and preponderance, before my thoughts may coagulate into something that provides any bit of sensical insight into anything of substance. And when I get to that point, it’s tempting to identify a universal and cliché lesson that everything does, in fact, happen for a reason–that all of our moments of unclarity are placed appropriately by the universe–to serve a greater purpose in our lives. But I still don’t believe that to be true. Instead, I think we tell ourselves that to externalize the responsibility, to make ourselves believe that all lies beyond our control, and that we can’t help it that bad things happen.
But I’d like to argue something different–not quite the opposite, but rather, a modification of this clichéd ideal. I’d like to examine it from a different lens. It would seem to me that, if everything truly happened for a reason, then there would be some sort of preconceived or predisposed set of conditions that would, without a doubt, lead to the present. And if this was the case, life would be come much more predictable; we’d be able to project into the future using a simple analysis of cause-and-effect relationships. We all know that’s not happening any time soon, though.
I recently read that all of life’s happenings are the result of seeds planted long before. But I believe that, like the tree that sheds it’s seeds unknowingly, we, likewise, plant seeds ignorantly and wait for them to sprout without a true sense of knowing what will happen, suggesting that everything doesn’t necessarily happen for a reason. We neglect to remember the seeds we planted that didn’t sprout, just as the orphan seeds released by the mother tree never amounted to anything. They were disposed of, unnoticed and consumed by the greater Earth, similar to the many experiences paramount to the current versions of ourselves that lie beneath us, unnoticed and swallowed by greater amalgamation that comprises our being.
However, when those special, chosen seed sprouts, we can always trace them back to a point in time; we can always find the source, as it is present before our eyes. The cause-and-effect relationship is palpable and proven very clearly thorough observation. It didn’t actually happen for a reason; rather, it happened because we invested reason into it.
And that’s how it should be; rather than externalizing all of this control to be proactive about any potential or future happenings, it’s best to submerge ourselves in the uncertainty and invest meaning after the seeds have been planted, after we’ve waited for them to sprout, and when we can revel in the possibility of future beauty– all a result of the seed’s sprouting.
In fact, I argue that it’s best to know not that everything happens for a reason, but that we can find purpose in moments worth remembering and growing from–that we can appreciate the beauty of the present due to the murkiness of the past.