It’s becoming a common phrase. The last time I heard it was from Pharrell Williams on the TV show The Voice. Some contestant had been either voted on or off, or maybe changed coaches, I don’t recall, to which Pharrell responded, “Everything happens for a reason.”
It got me to thinking. Everything? Really? That covers quite the spectrum doesn’t it? Does it refer to everything humans do, or everything nature does, or both? There are approximately seven billion humans on earth with most of them doing something multiple times a day. Just for a hypothetical, let’s say that on the average each human does about 100 actions a day each with their own outcome. That’s seven hundred billion events per day. That’s a lot of happenings.
Would not “everything” include such mundane events as hammering a nail, missing, and mashing a thumb, or not––it’s still a happening.
Could be a basketball game. Two seconds left. He shoots. He scores! Or misses.. According to the saying, it doesn’t matter if the player made it or not, it happened for a reason.
A man leaves a door open and a cat gets out. It was an event and quite common at my house. Why did the cat go out? Why did the man leave the door open? Was there a reason behind it?
A woman leaving for work backs over her own toddler. Did that happen for a reason, and if so, what in the name of compassion could it possibly be?
And what about non-human events? ” Everything” would include nature as well. A record breaking rain falls in Texas, people drown. A tornado touches down in Oklahoma with multiple loss of life. The tornado could have picked up and missed it, but no. (I’m thinking Moore, Oklahoma here),
I think that “everything happens for a reason” implies that a supreme being, a divine entity, is running the show here on our tiny blue dot in the universe and most impressively, down to the most finite of details. But wouldn’t such a being, even an omnipotent and omnipresent being, certainly have his ( or her, assuming such a god has a gender), hands full at directing 700,000,000,000 events per day, not counting rain, snow, hail, volcanoes, tides, lighting, and whether a tree falls in the forest or not.
Each of those events, according to the adage, would have been anticipated, acted upon, and the impact of the action projected into the future. After all, the reason would have no meaning if the result of the action stopped there.
It all begs the question; if a divine being could have control over this mind-boggling multitude of events… why would he want to?
No, I think there is a better phrase to sum up the proceedings of the universe. There is no official record of who said it first, but credit is given to one Connie Eble, Chapel Hill, North Carolina, when she wrote an article for a 1983 publication containing a collection of college slang. Short, to the point, and easily understood.