Stuff Happens

   - Shenaniganism

Over a lifetime a person will likely experience events which are wonderful, bizarre, unfair, unique and difficult to understand or explain. Shenaniganists refer to these as accidents and coincidences. The notion of fate, destiny, providence or anything else which assigns meaning to random events is not a concept of Shenaniganism. We understand the inclination to find a message in occurrences which seem to have unusual timing or connection to other events, but recognize that these incidents stand-out to us only because they are rare, and not because they carry any special significance.

 

Here’s an example: Imagine you’re trying to get on a flight to Boston. There are five seats available and six people, including you, on stand-by. Everyone but you is given a ticket and you’re stuck at the airport waiting for the next flight. You later learn that the plane you barely missed getting on crashed upon landing and there were no survivors. You may feel that fate swooped in to save you for some reason, that your life has special meaning and that you’re destined for greatness. You share your amazing story with anyone who will listen. Conversely, you may feel terrible guilt, wondering why you were chosen to survive when so many others had to die. There were children on that plane, a baby, mothers and fathers, a soldier returning from active duty was on stand-by with you — it seems so cruel. You question why something so unfair happened to those people and don’t understand why you deserved to live.

 

In this scenario a Shenaniganist would say you might feel grateful to be alive, but beyond that you should feel neither guilty nor special. The reason that you didn’t end up on the plane was because there weren’t enough seats. It was a coincidence. The reason the people who did get on the plane died was because the plane crashed. It was an accident. That’s it, plain and simple. No meaning, no message; just random events, coincidences and accidents.

 

A person’s Shen level or flow can increase or decrease depending on their situation and available resources. When things are going well and all is right with the world, it’s natural to feel a Shen Surge and there’s nothing wrong with enjoying it. It’s nice to coast a little sometimes –- especially after those days when life doesn’t seem to be fully cooperating and maintaining your Shen takes a little more effort. And then there are the times when without warning, everything seems to go wrong at once. Sometimes so badly and unbelievably wrong that your flow drops below levels discernible on any known Shen scale.

 

It’s at these low-flow times that many belief systems face their toughest test: how to explain why bad things happen to good people. Shenaniganism doesn’t have an explanation. Because it has no concept of a being, the question of why it would do something bad, or let something bad happen to someone good is immaterial.

 

So when your home is leveled by an F5 tornado, you have no insurance and your family is missing, Shenaniganism simply recognizes that this is a horrible set of circumstances. It will not suggest that there is some meaning in what has happened or worse, ask you to look inside your heart to see what you might have done to bring this upon yourself. As a Shenaniganist, perhaps the best you can do with what you have in a situation like this is be grateful that you don’t subscribe to a belief system that, because it can’t explain why something happened, can only offer a fumbling attempt at comfort or hint that it may actually be your fault.

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