Wednesday, March 15, 2023

Daily Stoic: Reason vs. Happenstance

 Why do bad things happen to people?

Whenever you find yourself blaming providence, turn it around in your mind and you will see that what haw happened is keeping with reason.

Epictetus

Most actions do not occur in a vacuum. There are reasons that we need to understand.

Just as the people of the 1700s learned that wind wasn't created by God blowing at you, we now understand that much of our new disasters are enhanced by climate change.

We understand that the outlawing of abortion was the consequence of long term actions and education by conservative jurists. And those jurists were honed by a conservative legal infrastructure, designed specifically to return to a older time - like The Heritage Foundation.

We understand that space exploration manifests in fits and starts as a reaction to the cause of it. Great power rivalries and national pride are what drove space exploration. 

To rail against nature is to eliminate the root cause of issues. And once you are convinced people have no agency in actions, paralysis sets in.



For example, horrible flooding in California was made worse by:

  • Changes in weather systems, exacerbated by climate change
  • Draining of lakes and then building in that area - forgetting that these low lands will be flooded if there are unforeseen situation changes naturally (like the "atmospheric rivers") or disastrously (level breaks)
  • Building homes in areas unsuited for construction -say hillsides and foothills - or unsuited for the types of construction
  • Ignoring flood plain maps and history
  • Fires destroying watersheds that exacerbate flooding (again, made worse by climate change)
None of this means that we should ignore the immediate effects of flooding, or the very real impacts to people. But it also means that cursing nature itself is both self-defeating and causes paralysis.

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