Monday, February 21, 2011

The nature of misfortune

Misfortune. When bad things happen to us, do many of us view them in a mystical context? Do we question whether the universe is frowning upon us, or whether the effects of some karmic energy that we've stored up are being wreaked upon us? I tend to do this.

One thing that I often experience is a strange sense of relief when something bad happens (provided it's not too bad!). I figure that something bad was bound to happen to me eventually, so if this is it--maybe it's not that bad after all. I haven't figured out whether this is just a psychological coping mechanism, the product of metaphysical wisdom, or some mixture of the two.

I find myself trying to straddle two philosophical fences. The first is a strong belief in objective science: things are causally based, a leads to b and things happen as a result of real and measurable conditions. The second is a belief (perhaps even a bit of "knowledge") that the set of conditions in the world (that can be measured by science) collectively move to the orchestration of higher forces (divinity, etc).

So when something bad happens, I am left feeling simultaneously that something happened because of a set of measurable causes and that it may have happened because of some higher aggregation of fortune, karma or whatever you want to call it.

I think that the fantasy genre speaks to the latter of these tendencies. It is an outlet for the mystical thoughts and feelings that I think many people have, but that the modern world of science has somehow rendered taboo.

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