I realize how arrogant it sounds for me, an ordinary Joe practically no one has ever heard of, an academic and political non-celebrity or even entity whose name could be Nemo, a published but incredibly (!) insignificant author of three books (two Religious Education manuals and one defence of atheism), two brochures (“The Somme” and “The Anzacs of World War 1”), several dozen articles in French and in English (on subjects ranging from techniques of management to truffles to Strine to Napoleon on St Helena), as well as the 553 posts on this Blog, – all of which are unknown to everyone except for a privileged (?) few – to criticize the naïveté, the credulity and the ignorance of so many of my contemporaries. This 554th post will be open to the same criticism because my subject concerns the idiotic idea that events are “meant to happen”.
Recently on Facebook (in French, as it happens), there was a beautiful photo of a gorgeous butterfly on a fabulous flower sitting on someone’s hand. The text read : “No one crosses our path by chance, and we do not enter someone’s life without reason.” When I stopped crying over the revelation of this touching, original pearl of wisdom, I got to realize it was saying that everything is meant to happen. Including bad stuff ? Well, yes ! To be logical, if there is Someone Up There pulling our puppet-strings, getting us to meet the wo/man of our dreams, or the fairy godmother/father who crosses our path and hands us a check for a million bucks, or a brilliant person who enters our life by writing a life-changing Blog which we discover (we mistakenly believe) by chance, it has to be true that WHATEVER happens to us is the result of Someone making it happen. It is not clear whether this Someone is God, our Guardian Angel, our patron saint or our deceased mother-in-law. But life has a purpose and nothing happens by chance.
I was pondering all this when CNN gave us, live, the Breaking News at Fort Lauderdale airport. A mentally deranged veteran of the U.S. military forces had crossed the path of certain (random ?) fellow-passengers at Baggage Claim and opened fire : miraculously (?), only five were killed and eight injured. But it was meant to happen. Mr Santiago did not enter their lives – and destroy them – without reason.
No one, of course, will dare to say this. Governor Scott of Florida kept repeating that he and we should pray for the victims and their families, while he will make (damn) sure that the deranged gunman gets what he deserves.
It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad world !