Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Life is Chaotic. Then you die.

And when we say Chaotic, we don't mean messy (though life is certainly sometimes messy) but unpredictable. That's what Chaos Theory is all about. Unpredictability.

Life is unpredictable. And then, yes, well, it just so happens that at the end, dying cease to be an option and becomes an imperative.

That might be the only predictable thing about life, in fact. Taxes too, I suppose. Unless you're able to figure out how to not pay them. As some have been known to do.

But just because life's unpredictable doesn't mean it's random.

Nor does it mean that there is no meaning or purpose to existence.

Or that there is no good or evil.

Richard Dawkins and his buds have mistaken unpredictability for randomness.

So the way that life works lies somewhere between randomness and predictability.

So when we say things like God has a wonderful plan for your life or when a door closes a window opens or everything happens for a reason or ask questions like why do bad things happen to good people or most importantly why do bad things happen to ME?, 

we are acting like life is predictable. That there's a reason for everything.

That somebody is in charge and making all the decisions and pulling all the strings and making everything happen according to some grand plan.

God. Or if you don't like God, the Flying Spaghetti Monster or Pay No Attention to that Man Behind the Curtain or Fate or Destiny or Karma or Aliens or the Buddha or the Military-Industrial Complex or the Illuminati.

We're gonna go with God. Short, sweet, simple.

Now the Richard Dawkinses of the world don't wanna go with God or anything resembling God, so they swing all the way to the other end of the bell curve to randomness.

Frankly, that just shows a lack of imagination.

Let's just use some. Imagination, I mean.

So. Let's just say that life will have good things and bad things in it. Also lots of things that are neither good nor bad but are just ... things.

Now. Everybody is going to get some good things and some bad things.

That seems fair.

So when something bad happens to us, here's what we say - why me?

Yeah, we never say that when good things happen.

We kinda assume that good things are normal and bad things are not normal.

For those who believe in God, sometimes we think that God's main job is to protect us from bad things and make sure we only get good things.

That's just silly.

For those who don't believe in God or the Flying Spaghetti Monster or Pay No Attention to that Man Behind the Curtain or Fate or Destiny or Karma or Aliens or the Buddha or the Military-Industrial Complex or the Illuminati, bad things are just baaaad things dammit, and good things are great, unless you are Richard Dawkins pretending for a brief moment that there are no bad or good things, there are just things, in which case, a bad thing is just a thing.

Yeah, he never does that. If he ever did, he'd stop saying that religion was bad. For example. He's a total hypocrite. Sorry, Dicky. And he never ever ever ever says that a bad thing that happens to him is not a bad thing it's just a thing. Never ever ever. Nobody does, not even Dr. Dicky Dawkins.

So really, life is going to have good things and bad things in it.

Now. Here's a math question for you. Or two. Several.

Are the good and bad things going to be equally divided in your life? Just exactly the same number of good things as bad things?

And are they going to be equally divided between humans? That is, will every human get exactly the same number of good and bad things as every other human?

And will the good things and bad things happen at regular intervals so that we will know they are coming and 1) bake a cake (in case it's a good thing or 2) run and hide (in case, well, you know)?

And since Death is like the ultimate Bad Thing, is everybody going to die at the same age?

Whether you believe in God or not, the answer to all those questions is the same:

No. That's ridiculous.

So here's what that means. It means that you will have an unequal number of good and bad things happen to you in your life.

Some of you will get way more good things, and others will get way more bad things. Some won't suffer much. Others will suffer a crapload.

Sometimes in life you'll get a crapload of bad things all at once, and then there might be a loooong pause where nothing bad really happens. Sometimes a ton of good stuff will happen all at once.

And since we're all going to die at different times in different ways, some of us will die before we are born, some when we are born, some when we are babies or toddlers or pre-schoolers or schoolers or teenagers or collegians or young adults or middle adults or old adults, and some will die quickly and painlessly and others will not be that lucky.

And some things will happen for a reason, and others will not.

And sometimes doors just close and windows don't open. Sometimes they'll both open.

It's not random. It's unpredictable.

Your life is not paint-by-numbers. It's not fill-in-the-blank. It's not a crossword puzzle.

It's a blank canvas with dangers and joys lurking in the paint, the brush, in your fingers and brain, in the fabric of time and space and in the interactions that are your emerging life.

And every interaction is the artist of your life.

So here's what Chaos tells us - life is clumpy. Life comes in clumps. Clumps of good things. Clumps of bad things. 

And when you get a clump of bad things that happen to you, you wonder, why do bad things happen to good people, but of course, what you really mean is, why do bad things happen to ME?! ALL THE DAMN TIME!?!?

And the answer is (envelope, please), why not?

Bad things happen to everyone eventually. Sometimes terrible things.

But not equally. Some people have lots of terrible things happen to them. 

And others ... don't.

Because the universe is clumpy.

In scientific terms, the universe started out not clumpy at all, and then got clumpier as time went on. So after 13.8 billion years, there's a crapload of clumpiness out there.

So just about the only other predictable thing about the universe is that it will be unpredictably clumpy.

Live accordingly.

OK, that is not helpful advice.

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