I’m sure you have heard the sayings “Everything happens for a reason” and “I have no regrets because it has made me the person I am today”. I recently started thinking about them and what they appear to mean. I know technically everything does happen for a reason because of cause and effect. So when you do something there will be some type of effect, but that isn’t what people usually mean when they say it.
Let’s start with “Everything happens for a reason”. People often mean that an event or situation occurred because there was a higher purpose or that it was meant to be. So if you believe in this saying, does it mean that you believe in fate and predestination? If you believe that fate caused something to happen, then doesn’t it really contradict the notion that everything happens for a reason? I mean, if a later outcome was going to occur anyways, then there wasn’t really a reason that the bad event occurred. You would have reached the same outcome whether it occurred or not.
I guess you could take the argument that predestination confirms the first saying about everything happening for a reason. Meaning that everything that is happening in your life is supposed to happen exactly the way it has and will. This would of course mean that we have no free will and that our choices in life mean nothing. If they mean nothing and you are essentially forced by fate to do the things you are doing, I guess that would reaffirm the saying about not having regrets. Why regret what you can’t control?
I believe that free will does exist and part of that is because you can see the impact of the choices you make. You can see how it changed your way of thinking or what you thought about yourself. Yet there is no way to tell if we would have made that change on our own or if another event would have brought about those changes. So if you knew that changing a decision or choice you made wouldn’t change who you are or your way of thinking, would you still have no regrets?
Unfortunately there is no way to test this in any shape or form so there is no right or wrong way to think about it. I just found that it was a very interesting topic that could be interpreted many ways. I’m also very curious to hear other’s viewpoints and thoughts.