The Web Log of Jon Henshaw

False Hope

Written by , published on and related to 🤔 Philosophy


Some of the simplest and shortest sayings that people use in U.S. culture are actually overly complicated and philosophically wrong. They’re used to comfort those who are anxious or emotionally stressed, much like the religious institutions they are connected to.

Take for example the saying, “everything happens for a reason.” It’s something that people tell others to imply that God has a hand in certain (or all) events, and it’s okay, because the circumstances must be connected to something bigger than them – a master plan.

As a freethinker – one who espouses logic, reason and science – a more correct saying would be:

everything happens for a reason

While coincidences occur in practically everyone’s life, in most (if not all) cases the things that affect us are a response to stimulus from an incomprehensible system. There is no plan as the superstitious would have us believe. Everything just happens, period. We must deal with it, whatever it may be, if we can.

There’s another saying that’s become popular near where I live, and that’s, “it’s gonna be ok.” Or better known as IGBOK. The “ok” part means it will be okay after death, when you’re in Heaven, blah, blah, blah. Not exactly helpful for the here and now, unless of course you long for death and can’t wait to live in your fictitious resting place for eternity.

I prefer the more existential statement of:

it’s gonna be ok

At the root of these sayings is a desire to provide comfort to another person (which is obviously not a bad thing in and of itself). However, in the same way that all religions are used as a coping mechanism for our limited and sometimes miserable existence, all these sayings really do – philosophically speaking – is provide false hope.