I’ve pondered this topic daily for the last 15 or 20 years. There’s no proof either way, but it is fun to think about. If anything comes off sounding religious, I assure you that was not my intention.
On the one hand, sure everything happens for a reason. People die so that others may live. Sometimes people are in the right place at the right time. Even with free will sometimes things see to work out on their own or are even miracles. I can work really hard at something and possibly excel, but wasn’t I supposed to excel any way?
On the other hand, all people are doing is looking back on all the events after they’ve happened and assigned meaning to random events because everyone likes patterns. It makes it all easier to deal with. We all like feeling comfort and security.
Say you can’t find your car keys and you are late leaving only to get stuck in traffic because of an accident. It’s easy to think, wow, if I had found my car keys on time, that might’ve been me in that accident. Good thing I didn’t find my keys when I needed them. What about the guy in the car accident? Everything was going just fine until the accident. He also had a whole set of events that lead to the accident.
I go around in circles thinking about this. Part of me thinks that everything happens the way its supposed to rather than happening for the best or for a reason. I think people aren’t truly aware of what their effect is on the world. We’re all butterflies flapping our wings and we don’t notice the small changes in the weather only the tornadoes. When the tornado happens, we look back and remark about how the tornado must mean something because of all the things that led up to said tornado. Really, it was just us, all of us. Everything all together flapping as one. Doesn’t breathing change the world in some way?
With the enormous complexity behind it all, it is easy to say it’s magical, there’s a design, there’s a plan, or science can explain it. Everyone has billions of brain cells firing with electricity and pumping with chemicals, and there’s almost seven trillion of us flapping. Then factor in all the other forms of life all going about their business flapping. Sometimes the tornado is going to make sense because the brain loves finding patterns and other times it’s just going to be senseless if only because we can’t find the pattern.
The tornado doesn’t stop being amazing just because you did it. It should be even more incredible. The odds are against life in the universe and we happen to have the 200+ factors needed to support it right here where everything you do matters in some way.
Does everything happen for a reason? Yes. What’s the reason? 42. God. Because. Whatever reason you want. I’m going with an incredibly complex web of cause and effect. The real question is “Why?”