**Note: This will jump around. I can’t spit this word vomit out in any other way that makes sense right now because I can’t make sense of it in my head. I can’t make sense of it so I must write it out as I think it. Perhaps I will come back to it and modify it to a better flow, but for now, pure word vomit is all I can offer.**
More than once recently I have heard it said that “everything happens for a reason.” I’m still not sure where I stand on the issue. In discussing the idea of “free will vs fate/determinism”, I have run into this concept before.
I can’t seem to wrap my head around what I think because it always seems to create a paradox in my mind. I run in circles right back to start. I can reconcile that we are the effects of a first cause, but not that our effects are with an effectual purpose/reason.
In other words, I accept ’cause and effect’, but I can’t accept ‘effect and purpose’. It’s like saying that the ends justify the means, when in fact, that is not always the case. What I mean is, just because the effect fulfills a positive purpose, does not mean that the effect was an intentional ‘happening’ for a ‘reason’.
1. You are late for class because you slept in.
2. You slept in because you stayed up late watching a movie hanging with friends.
3. You were hanging with friends watching a movie because your friends pressured you.
4. Your friends pressured you because they thought you needed to relax more.
….Back and back we can go to see where a first cause created the effectual situation.
Yet did these effects have a purpose or reason? If everything happens for a reason, what reason is it that you are late for class? Truly, the ‘reason’ is that you slept in, but what is the purpose of being late? Moreover, is being late a purpose? If everything happens for a purpose, what is that purpose? How do we determine once we have met that purpose? How do we determine what that purpose is?
Sure, perhaps the purpose is yet to be seen, but again, when does that purpose get made known?
If our effects, that is our actions and results of those actions, are for an overall purpose, then they must be in line with that purpose and/or they must be predefined.
I know predestination is already the good plans God has for me, and I don’t find it contradicts free will, but if everything is to a single purpose, then effects must have a purpose, and I haven’t figured out how. I haven’t figured out how to reconcile predestination and free will completely. Sure, if we are the effects of the first cause, then maybe that’s all we are: effects. At that point, we could lead to the overall purpose I think, but then how are we operating on free will? And even if we are, how do we assure those free will choices are in alignment with the overall purpose?
We convince ourselves that we went through a rough period in our life in order to get to the good that we now enjoy. We convince ourselves that we had to meet our ex to know that our spouse was truly the one. We convince ourselves that the purpose we think we know was a derivative of things that happened in the past.
Truly, our paths would be different if we made different choices, but is our present the present we were always meant to have? Therefore, our choices were never meant to be other than the ones we made? Therefore, we never had a choice to begin with? Therefore, we have no free will?
Does our purpose change to fit our choices? Is free will an illusion? Why does it even matter? Why does it matter so much that the decision I make is of my own accord? It’s not like I feel a slave to someone else’s design; I don’t feel like I am not making my own choices. How can we define ‘free will’ without having absolute knowledge?
I seem to contradict myself because I can’t spit this all out right. I do contradict, I think, but I can’t reconcile my thoughts in manner that prevents the contradiction.