Why Did This Happen?

Fred M. Fariss count@infinet.com

The question is not - "Why did this happen?" The question is: "What Happened?" Looking for answers to the "why" will only increase the confusion, fear and a feeling of helplessness. Seeking an answer to the "why" only enlist opinions of explanation. Most of the opinions will be the old standbys used for centuries to calm one's fears and give a false sense of comfort and security. There are as many opinions to the "why" as there are days of the month. For all practical purposes, one of the opinions is as good as another opinion. The opinions will range anywhere from, "its God's judgement on America for immoral sins and neglect to recognize and obey God," to the inefficiency in our intelligence agencies. In between these two polarities will be a variety of explanations from the spiritual to the mystical. With any of the opinions of definition, all we have is the rationalization and intellectualization of the unfolding event to give placebo to our fears and misgivings. Sincere as one might be, the definition of the "why" can be deadly. The solution that was applied to George Washington's illness, turned out to be more deadly than the illness he suffered. Sincerity and piety may be a noble effort on the part of those who want answers and solutions, but it can lead to disastrous results. The definition of the "why" only gives definition to the results of a given incident. The solution of the problem is not in the "why?" One would think that anyone who has graduated from college would already know this about the "why?" Talk shows, journalists, politicians and others thrive on using the "let's explain every thing as the answer to the question: "Why did this happen?"

The burning question is not: "Why did this happen?", but "What happened?" An adjunct question is: "How did it happen?" These two questions go to the core of the event to not define the event, but to ascertain how the process occurred in order to prevent it's recurrence in the future. However, the answers to these two questions may not be available in the immediate present. Example: the procedure for treating George Washington's illness was discovered long after he died. At the time of his illness, the solution was unavailable and out of reach of human knowledge and experience. One can easily define the cause of Washington's illness as being a judgment of God because he owned slaves. Another definition would be he failed to remove his wet clothing. Or it was a random incident of chance - wrong place at the wrong time. The old standby: "It was his time to go." None of these declarations would have resulted in the discovery of the cure for his illness.

The question: "Why did this happen?' is similar to the question often raised by our parents when we were children. "Why did you do that?" Now the incident has been moralized. A covert element has been added - the question of acceptance and rejection by the parents over the incident in question is raised. The focus of the consideration has taken on a new and very important element. The focus is now upon the relationship between the person and the parents. The value of the incident escalates to a level of importance of more significance than the value of the person. The person in the limelight of the questioning will feel the pain of doubt as to his worth based upon performance. The greater sense of alienation and rejection will be met with fear, a sense of abandonment and isolation. Which is the great moment of Hell on earth.

When the parents change the question to "What happened?" and "How did it happen?," the gap of rejection will begin to close. Then a sense of comfort, peace and security will begin to rise in the life of the one in question.

Love does not ask "Why?". Love asks what and how?" Then the accused are free to answer.

(C)2001 Fred M. Fariss All Rights Reserved