Following from our discussing with a friend my conception of Transformative Anthropology, and its central conception, the decisive yet happenstance contingencies that irrevocably alter the course of one’s life and development, she tweeted a question:
How has randomness played a key role in your life?
To which a tweet fluttered back:
How can randomness exist in a universe where everything is connected?
Okay. As I unfold the provisional conceptions given by the phenomenology of necessary contingencies, I wrestle with both randomness and connection. Randomness, event, and connects are joined at the foundation. Yet, this is not a tight join by any means. To peal away what are presumptive aspects of both randomness (or happenstance,) and connection, is to jiggle and then separate the join.
The tweet’s import obviously accomplishes this without any qualification. It provides a proposition:
Where everything is connected, randomness cannot also exist.
Everybody is familiar with this proposition’s folk social-psychological rendition: everything happens for a reason. About this, there is a question: does this mean an a priori reason is revealed by eventuation? The event happens, and reveals the reason already concealed, as-it-were, in the event.
Judith spoke of this as being effectively like the collapse of the wave function.
Or, is the reason attached to the event as a post facto rationale?
In the case of the a posteriori rationale, how would one know which among several reasons, is correct? This same question arises with the a priori reason, but in its case there would have to be a correct reason, because–after all–it’s “all ready” in the event.
The idea that randomness is not compatible with a priori reasons given in a comprehensive universe of “nothing but” connections, would need to be unpacked by an advocate of that position. It is interesting to note that proponents of the idea, everything happens for a reason, almost always hold the a priori posit. In turn, this putative position is often dismissed as a self-deception.
Not withstanding facile dismissals, the questions begged by this position are very challenging.