Everything happens for a purpose? There is a grand plan for every person on earth, every moment of their lives. It is all guided and orchestrated, like a lovely mosaic, only visible from afar. The universe at all times is unfolding precisely as it should be. We just can’t see the whole. Zeno of Cyprus ( Ζήνων ὁ Κιτιεύς), 4th Century BCE (paraphrased)
NO! NO! NO! A trillion times NO!
I absolutely do not believe that. I know it is seductively comforting to some but it runs against all historical logic and moral sensitivity. It removes us from the reality of choice and freedom, happenstance, and flukiness. Time and chance happen to all things. Major events turn on the flip of a coin, the bounce of Woody Allen “matchpoint.” Yes, Crimes and Misdemeanors do often pay. All things are contingent. The best-laid schemes o’ mice an’ men gang aft agley. Worst of all such a view mitigates the horrible reality of tragedy, senseless suffering, and just plain evil. Let pain and suffering and genuine grief and loss be acknowledged. That sort of repression can never in the end be healthy or good, despite any temporary delusion. The truth has a way of breaking in. True character–love, joy, peace, goodness– arises out of the midst of a “world gone wrong,” as Dylan would say–yes, wrong, genuinely wrong, not a scripted set on a stage, but regrettable, horrible wrong! The “sighs and cry” over the “abominations” of our humanly directed world are holy and sacred, not contrived and staged. The “core” of our truest and most honest Selves, however labeled, as God or “Ground of Being” or the “Force,” weeps and cries and struggles with us, as the Process unfolds. This is, by definition, the “best of all possible worlds,” for the split second present, but we can choose in the next future second to steer ourselves and others in a better path.