Hello, dear reader! How’s your week going so far?
Today’s blog is about how we respond to weird and/or wonderful things that happen around us. (Don’t panic. I’m not on a mission to convert people to anything, I’m just curious.)
We live in a very peculiar world where strange things happen all the time, but we call them different things: some would say “miracle”, others would say “coincidence”, a few could say “fate” while many would say “bollocks”. People respond to phenomena in very different ways based on their upbringing, religious background and even the extent of their experience with strange stuff. For example, an atheist might be inclined to convert to a religion that included miracles in its doctrine if he or she had a near-death experience and felt “saved” from a perilous situation.
Some people ascribe inexplicable events to aliens, others to an undefined set of spirits, and some think that we are responsible (but that our horoscopes are essentially dictating our movements). I find it fascinating that there are so many ways for human beings to react to the illogical things that happen around us. I have my own (fairly strong) opinions on some of the interpretations, but I think it’s more interesting to consider why we feel the need to have so many different options in the first place.
Firstly, if something odd happens to you, it’s an incredibly personal thing. It will be very memorable, emotional and probably quite disconcerting. Miracles/coincidences/moments of destiny will stay with us for the rest of our lives, and they might even change how we look at the world. A couple of years ago, I was travelling home via the Circle line when I remembered that a friend of mine worked in High Street Kensington. I hadn’t seen him for a while and it was lunch time, so I popped in to surprise him and take him out for food. As it turned out, his grandmother had died the previous day and as I walked through the door he had just been thinking about how much he wanted to talk to someone about it. He believes that his grandmother was watching over him and making sure that he had a friend that day. I don’t know whether that’s the case, but it really doesn’t matter what I think. This was my friend’s experience, and the person who needed to adjust to it was him, not me. When the weird experience is so personal, of course people come up with their own explanations: how could anybody else completely understand what you went through?
The second reason that we have so many interpretations is that we are all only human, and nobody trusts anybody else to know more than they do about the universe. How can they? None of us have super powers, a time machine or have been to the afterlife (except Bill and Ted, obviously). We don’t even trust people who are experts in their fields, such as historians, religious leaders, physicists and psychologists. They might have perfectly sound explanations up their sleeves for why the world is weird, but they don’t get complete support from us because how can they possibly know (or indeed prove) that their explanation is the right one?
So our emotions and our sense of intellectual equality prevent us from agreeing, as a species, on just what the heck is going on in the universe. Thank goodness. Can you imagine how awful it would be if we conclusively found out what the source of coincidences/fate/miracles is? That would just ruin it for everyone. There’d be no mystery left, and no need for science fiction or fantasy writing. There’d be no Bill and Ted! Now that’s a disturbing thought.
Have a fantastic Wednesday, everyone. If you’re wondering who on earth Bill and Ted are, click here.