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May 11, 2018 24 mins

Do we have control of our lives, or is there a guiding hand? Which of these concepts gives you comfort? This week, people in the booth share their stories and respectfully disagree with each other. Special guest: Yves Jeffcoat.

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Speaker 1 (00:07):
In two thousand and thirteen, James Costello was standing in
the crowd cheering on a friend in the Boston Marathon.
It was a clear, chilly spring day and there were
big crowds and over twenty three thousand runners. James was
near the finish line looking for a familiar face. I
got it over the things. Both had the lion, sure

of that if you're a boy. Then at two pm
the bombs went off. Three people were killed and at
least two hundred and sixty four were hurt. James Costello
was among the injured. His arms and legs were severely
burned and the shrapnel broke his skin. It took months

of rehabilitation recover after his surgery. During this time, Costello
fell in love with one of his nurses, Krista Daknstino.
He would write on Facebook, I now realize why I
was involved in the tragedy. It was to meet my
best friend and the love of my life. When we
read james story in the New York Times, it was
gripping and it got us thinking about whether or not

things happen for a reason. It's human nature to try
and connect things together to make sense. At a tragedy, heartbreak, loss,
even joy. A lot of people also grow up believing
that a higher power has a plan, that a guiding
hand sees us through, and that it doesn't give us
more than we can handle. But no matter what you believe,

it's a subject worth considering, and that's what we're doing
on this week's show. We're listening to answers to the
question does everything happen for a reason? Welcome to the
Question Booth. I'm Dylan Fagan and I'm Kathleen Cillian and
we're glad you're here with us. The Question Booth is
a place where people from all walks of life come

and answer a big question each week, and this week's
question made our participants deeply consider whether or not things
truly open for a reason. There were differing opinions and
a lot of reflection, and we wanted to share a
range of answers with you. Yes, and we'll also be
speaking with our wonderful colleague Eve Jeff Code to dive
deeper into the question. But let's start off this week

with a story about how we try and find meaning
and tragedy. Here's Nicholas um. I think a lot of
times whenever you have something like a death or a tragedy,
you look for an explanation, and so your first initial
reaction is everything happens for a reason, and you may
not like the reason. But whenever you see the bigger picture,

whenever you step back and kind of look at it all,
it may not be immediately, but you know, down the line,
you can see why it had to happen or the
purpose behind it. Actually, when I was in sixth grade
and I got a really bad four lerec um, I
was going down the road and my helmet flew off
and I slammed my head and something and cracked my
skull open from my eye socket back to behind my ear,

and um, I was in the hospital for a really
long time and I was pretty pretty messed up, and
doctors didn't think I was going to make it through
the night, so they had like call it all family
in and stuff, and it was just like a really
crazy thing. And um, at the time, I was like,
I didn't know why it was happening or whatnot. But
now I look back and I used that to like

talk to other people, I know, because other people have
gone through stuff like that, And now I can kind
of talk to them about my experience and share that
with them. And I mean I'm a religious person and
or a spiritual person, I should say, um, and so
I can use that to witness other people and you know,
share with them my views. Um, before that happened, were

you a spiritual person or did that make you more so? Um? Yeah,
that definitely made me more so. Um. That was kind
of the point. After that happened, I kind of talk
it like a year to try to figure out why
I was still here, and that kind of pieced it
all together for me. People who believe things happen for
a reason may find comfort in the idea of predeterminism philosophy.

This is the idea that all events are determined in advance,
So when someone looks at history, for example, they believe
that everything past, present, and future is already known or decided.
The guiding force might be God or fate. But not
everyone came into the booths certain that everything happens for
a reason. In fact, there were a few groups of
people who talked through their different viewpoints with one another.

Here's Shantavia, Cassie Leigh, and David. You just don't know
what's gonna happen. You don't think about it and what
it happens is just like did this really just happen?
And you know it didn't afterwards, probably like a few
hours later, Just like everything do happen for a reason,
but you don't really think about it right in that moment,
you know what I'm saying. So, yeah, I think it's

very important that you know, we all just live live
your life, you know, you know what I mean? So
everything do happen for a reason, and if it's good
or bad, just living and just be you and enjoy it.
I don't know if I think everything happens for a reason.
I know that everything happens, but for what reason. Different
reasons could be important to different people. That's how I feel.

I just I just think things happen, maybe not necessarily
for a reason at all, Just stuff happened, That's what
I think. What do you say? Um? So, I am
a firm believer that our lives already planned out for us,
and I do think that everything does happen for a reason,

and the reason that it happens. I feel like we'll
never know. It's like it's like the unknown. It's like
we're living life and we're just doing all these things
or the unknown. You don't know what's gonna happen. But
I feel like it's always a reason to it because
things happen, they kind of go they all go together.
Like we came to Atlanta right to celebrate a friends

for a sister's birthday, and we stumbled across this cool
place today and then we kind of randomly walked in
here today, and I feel like we don't know what
it's to begin enough, but it's a reason that we're
sitting right here, and it's probably going to reveal itself
in the future, right, Like well probably it's also philosphical.
I feel like, yeah, yeah, you usually don't realize that
you're not putting the pieces until you're out of these moments. Yeah. Um,

and it comes like full circles. Did you put the
piss together? Or did like divine intervene intervention? I don't
like life just puts it together. I believe that we
make decisions about it like free will, right, I believe
in free will. I think that we think about decisions
before we make them. So the reason would be whatever
happened before then, not because it was planned for you.

These were the chips. This is how they fell. So
it's like saying I woke up late, so I missed
my flight, which always happened. But then if the plane crashes,
people say, oh, you woke up late and missed that
flight for a reason. The plane exactly. Yeah. You know,

you're like in your mind, if you're going through tragedy,
our loss or a transition, you're like, did it happen
for a reason, because right now it does not feel
like yeah, that's yeah exactly. I'm that kind of person.
I'm like, facts only, this is why it happened. It
happened because of this. This is the reason, not because
it was divinely placed in your life. It was magical

world and not like no, there's like a whole another
reason that this is happening. We always talk about like
fear of the unknown. People are afraid of the unknown,
and like for me, it's kind of like excitement of
the unknown, Like it's happening for a reason. I don't
know what that reason is. I don't really care, but
I feel like it will reveal itself one day. We'll

be back with more question Booth after a quick break.
Stay tuned and we're back, and let's hear from some

question boothers who disagreed on whether or not everything happens
for a reason, but we're able to have a conversation
about it anyway. Here's Monton and Beetle. I mean, when
I look at my life in the past, and when
things have happened in that moment, you feel like this
is like the worst thing that's ever happened to you.
But then when you look back and you realize so
many greater things have come. And I'm one of those

people who always like think about what has happened in
my past and what would happen if I would have
went different direction. And I think at this point in
my life, I'm pretty content with where I'm at. You know,
of course there are things you can still improve. But
I really really believe that things happen for a reason
because it's meant to lead you in a different direction
in life than you have thought or you had planned. Yeah,

I definitely see that. I'm on the opposite spectrum of that. Um.
I believe that you have a large part of control
in your life. Um. You know, you can decide to
go right or left, so it's like more of a
free will. Yeah, it's And the thing is is that

I am not very religious, I guess. So it's a
if you tell yourself, oh this is you know, it's
meant to be, you're telling yourself that you have no
control over like anything. I think also when we're going
through a tough time, it's kind of a coping mechanism.
It's more of a coping mechanism than anything, because I
mean it's like, you know, like for example, you there's

there's a child that's born two years old, the child
dies for whatever reason. It's like, you know, yeah, it's
very It's it's interesting because people have come in and
they've talked about this saying when you when you hear
it during a time of loss, so it's usually like
the last thing you want to hear when someone says, oh,
it happened for a reason. And usually we say this

when we can't find the words when something so tragic,
and that's just kind of what we're left with. But
when you hear it, it feels a little insensitive and
you feel like this can have happened for a reason.
But it's really interesting that in like the hardest times,
that's all we can say sometimes, you know, to an extent,
I really feel like maybe it's just me. This is

how I've been all my life. But even when we
go back to like a loss, like when I was um,
like about ten years old, I lost my biological mom,
and at that time, I was actually in India. I
was born um and spent most of my childhood in India,
So you know, at that time, like, of course, I
was too young to begin with to even think about like, oh,

everything happens for a reason. But even like now, sometimes
like I'll have days when I kind of look back
on my life. It's not to say that, you know,
of course I would have my bomb back if I
wanted to, but my life would have been so different.
You know. I think if my mother was still alive,
I would have never made it to this country. But
here I am, you know, really trying to chase my

eaves sound and trying to become something, and I don't know,
I feel like I have a voice here. So my
life is so different, and sometimes I do wonder, I
wonder what my life would have been like, you know,
if that hadn't happened in my life. So like every
point in my life, there has been a major change.
It's literally taking me in a different direction than life,

and for those moments, in a way, I'm kind of
grateful because I'm in a place I would have never imagined.
And it's also like, um, when we have friends or
people were we really love that come into our life,
we always like to think that that happened for a reason.
It's like a little bit of like a romance to
it as well. Yeah, I'm so glad you said that
because we met when we were younger. And guess why

we met because I was like, Oh, that girl looks
so lonely over there, let's go say hi to her.
And here we are. It's like, luckily she was looking
lonely and miserable, and I was like, I'm gonna make
a decision to go over there and talk to her,
and yeah, and here we are, like god knows how
many years later. It was interesting I noticed that our

participants who believed everything happened for a reason had so
many explanations and stories for why that is. But those
who believed everything is random, We're much more succinct in
their convictions. And let's hear from another set of friends
who were able to talk through their differing opinions. Here's
Tyler and Jake. Honestly, I don't know, but I think

from the moment that we start having memories, it's really
easy to kind of put like, oh, this happened for
a reason, Like I like my girlfriend. It's kind of
cool because she's pretty dope, and I'm like, I was
totally like I was supposed to meet her, like I
unnecessarily believe in fate and things like that, but I'm like, no,
this happened because she's awesome and we're really cool together,

and like it just makes life so much more enjoyable,
not too you know, Stomp and Jake's love parade. Um,
I don't believe that things happen and for a reason.
I think that Happenstance is like a powerful thing where
you are like can connect dots on things in your
past and be like, oh, well, you know, I met

this person which led me to this opportunity and I'm
meant to be here. But no, it's just that's the
occurrence of events. And um, again, not your girlfriends wonderful.
I have the same feeling towards like the concept of
a soulmate. I just think that, you know, I think
you find people that you're extremely compatible with and you're
able to form these like really you know, connective relationships

with but I just have a hard time with like, oh,
so many people met their soul mate in their middle school,
So yeah, that's so weird? Is that? Um? I also
think that a question, that question in itself can apply
to so many things like me, I guess I am
more of a romantic and um, I think of everything
happens for a reason and like more of a like

romantic movement, I guess. But like if you would ask me, like,
you know, this tragedy up, and I'm like, everything happens
for a reason, Like, I guess that goes into more
of my personality how I view things. Were you raised religious?
I was raised very religious. I was not. I've never
been in church, honestly. You're right, Yeah, that's a lot
of that does come from the fact that I was

raised very religious, and like when things would happened throughout
my life, you know, my grandmother, who was like the
backbone of I would say like religion in our family,
it was like, you know, God does this in mysterious ways. Um,
but weird, Yeah, when he comes to like weird romanticism. Um,
I'm just I'm kind of into it things. It's not

just everything happens for a reason. Um, but yeah, you
can kind of you know, I guess not control that,
but you know, I think you're the things you do,
you know, basically our decisions to kind of create who
you are as a person, and like you're you know,
you're winding road life. Yeah, after the break, we'll talk

more about whether or not things happen for a reason.
You're listening to the question booth mm hmmm, and we're back.

Thanks for joining us. And this week we wanted to
talk to someone in the office about our question from
the booth, so we asked Eves Jeff Code if she
joined us in the studio. She's a researcher and writer
and had a lot of fantastic thoughts on whether or
not everything happens for a reason. I'm going to say
that there are two different size to it for me,
so on I think on my rational side, I would

say that everything does not happen for a reason. Um.
And the then that I would say that is because
I'm going to start with a very specific thing, and
that's it feels like such a privileged thing to say,
and it feels like such a disservice to somebody who
has been through a lot. Basically, so if somebody's really

affected by drugs or maybe has lost a lot in
their lives, it's a disservice to say that to those people.
But overarchingly, I think it's a coping mechanism and I'm
here for that, you know, like we have to get
through it some way. It can be selfish, which I
also think it is okay, Like we're all individuals. But

there's the other side of me, who's the irrational side
of me, which I don't use in a negative way.
Also think it's okay to be irrational. That irrational side
of me wants to believe that things do happen for
a reason, and I can create outcomes that I would
like to create. I think that we say a lot

in yoga is that you have to get comfortable with discomfort,
or you have to get comfortable with being uncomfortable, and
I think that's that's the condition of life. So to
say that everything happens for a reason, it's just really
um an extrapolation of of just having to sit in

the burning room and smiling. You know. I know that
you practice yoga regularly right, Yeah, has that? So? Has
that journey helped you become more uncomfortable? Do you still
struggle with trying to push yourself to feel uncomfortable or
has it opened your mind in some way? You know
what's funny, I think that I did. I did find yoga.

When I found yoga for a reason, I'm gonna be
so hypocritical right now, and I don't care at all,
But I love that because everyone who walked in was
pretty did the same thing. Because you we pick. Once
you start to pick it apart, you feel like it
pulls you know this question. So that's totally fine. So yeah,

I think I found it at a time that I
needed it basically, and um, because it wasn't something that
I ever thought about until the day I went into
a yoga class. Um. But I would say that it's
definitely helped me navigate being another body in this world

because between that and my Buddhist study and meditation practice,
I think that it all helps me have more compassion.
And I think that compassion comes from understanding that I
am no different and me saying that I'm no different
than than anybody else in this world is not me

saying like I'm color blind, or we don't are differences
don't exist, but that there is a larger web that
connects all of us in some way or another. I
think that it's helped me navigate that and be able
to deal with the discomfort and maybe even be able

to accept the fact that everything doesn't happen for a reason.
So I do this. I do I practice called Ashtanga.
It's a it's a six day a week practice that
you come into the mornings for and it can depending
on where you are in the practice. It can take
anywhere from thirty minutes to and now two hours. Mine
is about hour fifteen minutes long right now. But there

are days where I am killing it and I'm like,
oh my gosh, I never thought I could do this.
And then there are days where I just feel like
I suck and I think letting go of the like
this is because of this, and this is because I'm
I didn't work out enough, like I haven't built enough
muscle strength, or my mind's not focused, or I wasn't prepared,

or like, instead of thinking of all these reasons, it's
just like, dude, you're here, it's today, and that's the
only reason that you're like this right now, So I think, Yeah,
I guess in a way it does. Even though I
came to the yoga practice for a reason, it helps
me let go of thinking that everything happens for a reason,
because thinking that everything happens for a reason can be

a huge burden. It can make you put a lot
of weight on all your decisions, um. And I think that, honestly,
if I were thinking that at all times, then some
of the stuff that did happen to me I may
not have been able to deal with as well. Yeah,
like you said, if you did think everything happened for
a reason, that is a lot to carry around on

your shoulders. And I think that's what's interesting. I think
there's such a duality to this question, and I think
that that's okay, And I think it's okay for us
to be contradictory about it, um if it helps us
get through it. Right. And I'm writing fiction, No, he
wants to read a story where everything is happening to

the main character. You want a character that's moving in
the world, and because of things that that character does,
other things precipitate in that world from that character's actions,
and other things branch off of those actions, and other
people's actions branch off of those actions. But if this

character is consistently reacting to things that are being ranked
down upon them, then it's not really an interesting story.
So I guess, going back to what you were saying
about nothing happening for a reason, I guess the world
could be a lot more more interesting if nothing happens

for a reason, because everything just feels so loose and
in consequential, and you don't have to bear that burden.
This week's question is one that we will never really
they have the answer to. It's truly an unanswerable question,
but with all of its complexities, it's still a mind

opening topic to discuss, and participants were able to talk
to their friends in a respectful and caring way, even
though they did not always agree with each other. Yeah,
and after hearing everyone's answers, I'm still no closer to
feeling like I know if everything happens for a reason.
I like that. I like the debate, I like the engagement.
I like people talking through their differing opinions and just

listening to each other. And even though there wasn't a
strong standout pattern and our participants answers, this week, people
still came together. Yes, And here's a little joyful clip
from one of this week's groups. Do you come from
your answer from a faith based standpoint or um that
everything happens for a reason, like God's plan? Or I

think I do yeah because I've been talking to that right, Yeah,
I think I think I do. M hm m m

m m. And as always, we want to know what
you think. Do you think everything happens for a reason?
You can write to us at the Question Booth a
house to forks dot com, or tweeted us a question
Underscore Booth with your answer. We're also on Instagram at
the Question Booth. We'd like to give us special thanks
this week to our executive producer Julie Douglas and d

Eves Jeff Code for speaking with us. We'd also like
to thank Pont City Market for hosting the Question Booth.
Question Booth is written, edited and scored by me, Dylan Fagan,
and my co host Kathleen Quillion. Thank you Kathleen, Thanks Dylan,
and thanks Sarah on who came into the booth and
spoke to me about this question. And if you're in Atlanta,
you can visit the Question Booth We're on the second

floor of pont City Market twelve to five pm Friday
through Sunday. Also, if you like what you hear, we
love If you'd give us a quick review on iTunes
helps other people find the show. Okay, so before we
head out, what are we talking about? Next week? We're
listening to the answers to the question when was the
last time you felt different? I'm looking forward to it,

but until then, see you in the Question Booth.

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