Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Why bad things happen to good people!

Why do bad things happen to good people? This question seems to haunt many people. I first asked the question as a child and spent a great many years of my life trying to find the answer. When I found it, I was amazed at the simplicity. I shouldn't have been surprised; most of life's complex questions have simple answers. Why do bad things happen? They happen so good things can happen! Let's take a scientific approach to the answer. Before we do that we have to define science. Science is an attempt to explain the world around us in terms of observable phenomena. That's pretty much how the old indians did it; then guys in white coats started doing it a couple of thousand years later. When I look around I observe that for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. Okay, I'm not the first to discover that, but if we look around we will see that it holds true...always. If we assume it was always true then it follows that for every good thing that happens, something bad must happen--the opposite reaction to good. You can't have hot without cold. You can't have light without darkness. In the world as it currently exists, it is impossible to experience good without having a measure for bad. Up until now we have been dealing with abstracts; let's look at specifics. Smarter people than me quantify the values of reality as mathematics. I appreciate the need for that, but I'm pretty simple so I'll keep the math simple. If it is true that there is an equal and opposite reaction for every action, then for every value of one there would be an equal and opposite value called -one. If we could identify everything and give it a value, I believe it would have a corresponding negative value. I don't know what matter or anti-matter is, but I'm told it definitely exists. So I see the universe as an expanding infinity of positive and negative values. This helps me keep things in balance. When something bad happens to me, I look for the corresponding good. I try to be thankful for the bad because it helps me appreciate the good. For my first blog, I thought I'd tackle the big question and get that out of the way. In future discussions, we'll deal with smaller questions. I hope this gives everyone something to think about, and I hope you will share what you think with us all. R. Cox


  1. I would argue that there's less deliberate "reason" for it. Functionally, you are correct as a way of philosophizing it. In fact, you can even use it as a way to personally accept the bad things in one's life so that good things can be appreciated.

    But it's a double-edged sword.

    A criminal could easily justify his negative impact on society as a good thing because his actions help people appreciate the good things they have.

    As an extreme example - what if, when we were young, a serial child murderer took my life with the justification that it would make you & Mom appreciate my sister Randi more?

    That's exactly the effect it would have. "Thank God he didn't get both!"

    So what you are is someone who has had more good than bad in life, justifying the existence of the bad, almost with a tone of eager acceptance... But it's not quite fair, considering there are people in impoverished nations infested with parasites and one after another children starving to death, trying to make sense of the world. So you(we) get more good than bad in life. To balance that, do they have to get more bad than good in order for everything to balance out to 0?

    I do see your point and even agree with it. I just feel like it's a big glossing over of all the horrors in this world.

    Where you and I ultimately differ is --- considering all the horrors and tragedies of this world --- if there WAS a creator I would feel he should be tried and hung for treason and for his torturous acts against mankind.

    It's easy for someone so blessed as ourselves with our easy and wonderful lives to say, "God is great!"

    There are just too many people in the world where the bad FAR exceeds the good in their lives to so eagerly accept the bad in life with such eager warmth and open arms. =)

  2. Thanks for your comment, Junkyard Sam. I had originally included a bit about the zero equation, but I cut it. Normal people hate deeper math :-)

    I also avoided the term "God" because so many are dogmatically enslaved to a limited concept of something so large as to escape full understanding by its very definition.

    If ever there was a time before the beginning, it could be valued at 0. The simple definition of 0 would be nothing, 0=0, but inclusive in 0 is also the full "balance" of all possibility. 0=1-1 If there was a concept of 1, immediately there would be an equal and opposite concept of -1. From nothing, the concept of 1 would bring with it the concept of -1 and the equation would still be the same 0 that we started with.

    Without getting into quantum physics, quarks, colors and all those things I do not understand anyway, I think the whole of the universe exists as a balanced, yet expanding set of concepts, the sum total of which would always equal what it was when it began...or before it began.

    Then again, if the concept 0 = all possible concepts - their negative values, they would have existed always within the nothing that always was.

    Descartes thought about these things before I did. He wasn't sure of anything except that he thought. He couldn't be fooled into thinking unless he did think. "I think, therefore I am."

    So all the hard matter, knock on wood, we experience or think we experience in life may just be conceptual. In our dreams we experience physical things, yet when we wake up, as real as those things seem in our dream, they were only ethereal parts of a dream.

    Many people struggle with the existence of negative value. After considering it, I just can not conceive of a positive value without the coresponding negative. Now, here is the good part. If it is all just a concept, anyway, all we have to do to avoid the negative is to shift our focus or awareness from the negative to the positive.

    "Whatsoever things be good... think on these things."

    R. Cox

  3. Yes, yes, way to turn around some of the negativity in my first response.

    I do agree with you on the value of negative experiences enhancing the appreciation of the positive ones. Can't be argued with!

    All my life, though, I've had trouble knowing for SO UNGODLY MANY people on this planet have life truly horrible compared to us. "Liberal guilt" HAHA. Seriously though, I hope there IS somehow something beyond this world and those people are rewarded for surviving what they go through here on Earth.

    I hope that for all of us, really. Thank God for family though, boy does family add positivity to ones life!! Changes the whole vision of it. I bet you could post some entries about that in the future, too.

  4. Bad things happen in life as the whole cosmic system is governed by inscrutable laws of Karma... as we sow so shall we reap... nothing less or more! If they were only happiness in life... all would become monotonous... meaningless! Only when we suffer... we understood true value of happiness... never otherwise!