“How can the world in all its chaos come up with so many coincidences, so many similarities and exact opposites?” – Amy Tan
I often find it scintillating to sit around and ponder how things would be if certain events in my life had just played out in a way that allowed for completely different outcomes. The fact that you are even sitting here reading my blog is nothing more than a mere coincidence determined by a series of random occurrences. One different happening could have taken you somewhere else, which in that case, you probably would not be reading this blog right now. If someone who you never knew turned right in the supermarket today instead of left and knocked something out of your hand, your day could have been dramatically different. The precious seconds wasted that would have otherwise sent you on your way are now being spent on picking up your dropped groceries and having quick, awkward small talk with a stranger who you would have never talked to if it were not for him or her running into you. Now you are running late, and the car ride home that would have otherwise been routine turns into a nightmare. You pull out of your parking spot and jerk forward as your car is slammed from behind by a teenage boy who now is wishing he did not decide to change the song on his iPod while driving. If you had not been held up in the store, this may have been someone else’s problem, or maybe it would not have happened at all.
But this isn’t how it played out. That customer in the supermarket turned in the opposite direction. You left the supermarket a few seconds earlier and avoided the momentarily distracted teen driver who in turn did not find himself rear ending your car.
One infinitesimal event can trigger a chain reaction that spreads out like a ripple on a placid lake after a large rock is thrown in. It is within these small events that all of humanity has been created. As individual people make their own decisions, they add a distinguishable ripple into the lake of humanity that will then mingle and combine with other waves in this turbulent lake. This idea of fate has guided life since the beginning of time and has somehow lead us all to our current situation or place in the world. Civilization is built on chance occurrences, and human interaction will forever be guided by chance. Chance is like a blind tour guide attempting to lead us on a tour into the future; it has no idea where it’s going, all it knows is it is going somewhere.
It is absolutely mind-blowing to ponder the very nature of our own existence. The fact that somehow, out of all this randomness that we have all somehow been born into this world. It has taken years of chance, and maybe even luck, for us to be alive and breathing today. If one person in your family tree had made one different decision, it is completely safe to say that the likelihood of you being here on this Earth today would be highly unlikely.
Hey, but I guess we all lucked out, right? Our first ancestors made the right decision when they got together and had children, and then this string of good decisions lasted until, finally, we were born. This is great for us, but maybe it is not great for another person that is not alive, but very easily could have been if our ancestors had played their cards differently. If fate wanted it to be so, someone else could have been born instead of yourself, and the very thought of who you are and what you could have become would be unknown and unthought of because your existence had not been made possible by the favors of chance
Alright, I will stop with that now, I’m even starting to confuse myself a little, I think. Wait, I think therefore I am. Okay, this is good, at least I’m still alive.
Since we all made it into existence, we do not have to think about the what-ifs. I want to focus now on the positions that we currently finding ourselves in. I often find myself thinking how absurdly random it is that we have been able to meet the people who we have in our lives. Somehow, fate has allowed the stars to lineup in such a way that has brought me together with the friends and family that I have been so fortunate to have been blessed with. To all my new college friends, what would have happened if we had been put in different residence halls? The fact that our entire class of 2016 is what it is, has occurred in a way that probability could never be able to fully understand or even begin to explain.
What I’m trying to prove from all of this philosophical mumbo-jumbo is just how lucky we are to be where we are today. The ways of the universe could have been much more unkind to us than it has been. Fate has let it happen that we are here today with people who have chosen paths similar to the one that we are on. The mass compilation of trivial actions over the millennia has brought us all together. Each action has been important in getting us here, and each future action will be just as important as well. Every action we make is important in guiding not just ourselves, but the future generations, too.
For some bizarre reason, we are all here together, and it is certainly by chance, but this is how it is and it intends to stay. The universe dealt us its’ cards and this is where we all stand, and in my heart, I would like to believe that chance has had some logic in doing this, but then gain, maybe it doesn’t. Forest Gump said it perfectly, “I don’t know if we each have a destiny, or if we’re all just floatin’ around accidental-like on a breeze. But I, I think maybe it’s both, maybe both happening at the same time.”
P.S.- I bet most of you just read that in the Forest Gump voice.