Philosophy Lite: Daily events can change our lives
By Raymond Smith
Every day, we have experiences that change our lives. Some are major events that will have an effect upon our future, but even the little things can do the same. Astronomer Sir James Jeans made the statement that every time a baby throws his rattle out of the baby carriage, the universe is forever changed. I remember taking my family to Hemisphere '68 in San Antonio. One of the many features there was a movie that was directed by the audience. After about 5 minutes of viewing, the audience voted on the outcome of a vital decision that had to be made; for example, if the hero was to marry his girlfriend or not. When the audience made the call, the projectionist loaded the appropriate reel and the show continued. Many different decisions were made by different audiences, so it was possible that no two showings ever came out the same. Every person's life is changed daily; maybe imperceptibly in many cases, but in other ways we can know plainly - for example, when we move from one job to another or one city to another. In some things, we have no choice, but in others, we can alter our destiny by careful consideration of the event.
I was sure I was going to be a commercial pilot after high school, but in my senior year a friend gave me a radio set, and that changed everything. My career started in radio and later moved into electronics. An 18-year-old looks at a job, college or the military. Whatever he chooses, his life will take a certain turn. Whichever girl he decides to marry will determine much of his direction. Someone has said, "How many a man has had his life changed by reading a book?"
The quotation, "events are in the saddle and ride mankind," is generally attributed to Ralph Waldo Emerson. The miners in Chile were going about their daily work when that mine collapsed. Their lives will never be the same. The young miner who took life for granted will now have a more serious outlook.
In religious circles, the subject often comes up concerning predestination. Some churches believe in that philosophy, but I tend to believe in free will; however, I agree that God can intervene whenever He chooses.
The greatest change of all occurs when a man or woman meets the risen Christ. Their worldview will certainly change, including consideration of the afterlife. Life's purpose could now center on pleasing and serving God rather than purely selfish pursuits. The new Christian might make more of an investment in people than money. Almost certainly, one's speech and actions will change, reflecting a new morality. There will be new truths to be discovered, an appreciation of God's beautiful world and a positive mental attitude. His Holy Spirit is beside us to guide and inspire. The mind will be set at ease with attitudes of peace, confidence, joy and praise. Who would not want to experience this change?
Raymond F. Smith is a deacon at Fellowship Bible Church in Victoria and President of Strong Families of Victoria