Tag Archives: predetermination

An Old Man From Jersey Explains: Does Everything Happen For A Reason?

This is a mini-series of comics about a naive but curious ten-year-old boy who pesters a crude but wise old man while he sits on the steps to their dingy New Jersey apartment building trying to read the newspaper.


An old man sits on the steps to a dingy apartment building reading a newspaper while answering questions about life from a naive but curious ten year old boy.

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Kid: Hey Mister!

Old Man: What do you want, kid?

Kid: Does everything happen for a reason?

Old Man: Does my answer have to be based on observable data?

Kid: Uhhh. Okay?

Old Man: Everything that happens is the logical product of the event preceding it.

Kid: So everything does happen for a reason.

Old Man: Yeah, plain old cause and effect.

Kid: Does that mean that everything that has ever happened was destined to happen exactly the way it did? Because that kind of seems like a waste of time.

Old Man: Well, there’s not data to support either conclusion anyway. So… that debate’s pointless.

Kid: What if like, all the inanimate matter in the universe is following a logical, preordained path, but humans get to move around free, and sometimes the inanimate matter in the universe reroutes itself to make our lives more convenient?

Old Man: Hmmm. That would be like moving out of your parents’ house and having your freedom, but your parents still come over to your house every night to wipe your butt.

Kid: How about we not be rude?

Old Man: How about we just go about our lives not worrying about hypothetical situations that there’s no evidence of being real?

Kid: Because I’d sleep better if I knew the entire universe wasn’t out to get me.

Old Man: Kid, you are the universe. If the universe is out to get you then it’s out to get itself.

Kid: That would be silly. So the universe must be out to help me then, right?

Old Man: It already helped you get here in the first place and gave you a brain, legs and opposable thumbs. How much more help do you think you should get?

Kid: As much as it takes for me to get a girlfriend and a car. Do you think if I pray to God or the universe, things will rearrange themselves like on that one movie, “The Adjustment Bureau” so I’ll get what I want?

Old Man: If there is a God, it probably knows better than you what you need and already has everything under control. God also probably already knows what you think, which raises the question, why are you wasting time talking to yourself when there are problems that need your attention?

If you’re praying to the universe, you may as well ask yourself to do the work. You’re the only being in the observable universe we know of that has the power to rearrange the universe at will according to a custom design. Which raises the question, why are you wasting time talking to yourself when there are problems that need your attention?

Kid: I came here to feel coddled, not to saddle myself with the responsibility for my fate.

Old Man: Maybe that was your preordained destiny.

Kid: Does that mean your preordained destiny was to destroy children’s dreams?

Old Man: Maybe that’s the universe answering a prayer you didn’t know to ask.

The End.

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