Wednesday, February 12, 2014
Godidence or Coincidence? Thoughts..
Today as I was driving between school and work I decided to turn the radio on just as I had stopped at a stop light. I was right next to a Sleep Country USA store. I was mildly surprised that the radio advertisement was announcing a Sleep Country USA sale that was happening the following weekend. Even more coincidental was the fact that the sleep country radio advertisement took roughly the same amount of time as it took waiting for the stop light to turn green. Sitting there, I allowed my mind to sublimate on the nature of coincidental happenings, and why, so often, we ascribe such importance--even purpose--to these events.
Was this special connection between two random events that had “happened” to intercept my cognitive awareness divinely predetermined before the foundations of the earth? Was my experience in some way more special than other experiences that did not happen to have pertinent connections to other random things?
Individuals having a superstitious mindset interpret coincidences into the framework of “everything happens for a reason”. Events happening at the right time and place mean something not only generally meaningful to life, but are also interpreted to have specific applications to a person's individual life.
We notice similar things that occur together randomly because there is this initial idea in our brains that such events should happen less frequently than, say, dissimilar things occurring together. Obviously, we are going to notice the two similar things occurring together than two dissimilar things (unless the two dissimilar things create an irony).
What did my little Sleep Country USA coincidence mean? Was God trying to tell me to buy a new mattress or something more abstract? If God is able to make trivial suggestions like that through random happenings, why does he seem unable to help the masses of people, who are, at the same moment, in much greater need than I, experiencing atrocious circumstances?
If there is truly an overarching, divine purpose behind the world, then it means that nothing is desultory. Nothing happens without a necessary intention behind it. Everything—every event, phenomenon, behavior, every kick of dust with the foot—behind every random thought of our brains, is the design and will of an omniscient, cosmological agent. If this ultimate purpose does, indeed exist, it must be pervasive; it must be everywhere, in all shapes and shadows, in every dream and flicker of light, in every amoebic dysentery expulsion.
If, on the other hand, purpose is something that is derived from the individual, and not from the governance of a cosmic agent, we wouldn't necessarily expect it to be in all or in any particular random material display of events. But what is purpose, really? What we end up finding is that purpose is a normal part of having a brain, particularly a highly functioning brain that is conditioned to look for paternicity in the surrounding environment.
Human experiences are randomized and depend largely on chance. The decisions we make and how we develop into our personage are rooted to the time and location of our birth, and secondarily, upon the particular views of the family we were born into. If there be a god it would seem that every event we encounter, everything we see and feel and hear with our senses is a divine occurrence. Nothing can be random because everything was planned and set into a purposeful flow of motion.
However, as we observe our lives we notice that the vast portion of our daily experiences are random and can only be interpreted as “meaningful” based on our brain’s subjective interaction with the phenomena. It is the brain’s sensory exchange with the material world that determines (how it interprets itself) and thus the meaning(s) it finds during its interplay with matter.
Without a brain/mind there can be no special association between random events—and I will posit, without a highly evolved brain, can there be. Why the brain recognizes these patterns and then interprets them (to make sense of them) is not entirely understood. Perhaps, in its efforts to survive over the eons, the brain has learned to interpret survival cues from almost everything. There is a tendency to associate random events or objects that would otherwise be unnoticed. This process is fomented because these associations would prove, at times, to benefit the survival of the species that efficiently linked the two random events together before they resulted in the misfortune (such as the death) of the individual.
Nature is beautiful not because of a god in the sky who created it, but, because in spite of the random positioning of matter, our brains can find and perceive beauty from it.