Day 13 ~
“I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I think I have ended up where I needed to be.”
~ Douglas Adams, The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul
You may not know who Douglas Adams is. If you do, nerd high five.
He wrote The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, a few episodes of Doctor Who, and helped create Monty Python's Flying Circus. A radical atheist, he was an environmentalist who loved all things science and technology.
Have I piqued your interest yet?
He was, clearly, an interesting person with a lasting effect not just on pop culture and sci-fi, but as he influenced others in many fields as well.
This quote was taken from one of the books in his Dirk Gently series. Dirk was a fictional character he termed a holistic detective, and the book centers on man's desire to create gods out of necessity. (btw, I have a sudden urge to read this book now).
As an atheist, particularly as outspoken as he was, this quote amuses me, mostly because the vast majority of people in the world would ascribe his finding himself where he was supposed to be as some intervention by some higher power who is manipulating people like a puppet on a string.
Most people believe, at least in part, the notion that God (or gods, as the case may be), has a plan for them.
At least most of the people I know believe that.
What I believe vacillates. Sometimes I question the existence of higher power at all, sometimes I know that there has to be one, sometimes I feel like there can't be, sometimes I want there to be one, sometimes I don't have a clue what I believe.
Behind belief, though, there is always science. Reason. Logic. Things that are tangible and explainable. Things that born skeptics like myself cling to.
When bad things happen, when tragedy strikes, when dreams don't become a reality, when people die too young, I think it's human nature to want to make sense of it all. We crave answers. We want so badly for there to always be a reason, and sometimes there just isn't one that makes itself clear to us. Consequently, most people with faith look to the sky, shrug their shoulders and assume that someone up there has a plan.
I don't think I buy that.
Maybe too many bad things have happened to me.
I don't know. But, regardless of my own personal struggles with faith, the motivation behind this quote, I can assure you, is not grounded in it at all. Adams wasn't just agnostic. He was full blown atheist, and twice on Sundays.
This is absolutely, positively, most sincerely not his way of saying that he ended up where he is by some divine guidance or plan.
I think this is him saying that chance happened. That he played the odds and sometimes they didn't go the way he expected. That maybe where he is now isn't where he thought he would be, but it's not such a terrible place. That maybe it's better that he is where he is than where he thought he ought to have been. That maybe his own projections for his future were off, but maybe he's okay with it.
This, I understand.
Oh, do I ever understand.
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