Actions and Consequences: How To Find Serenity in a Time of Chaos and Uncertainty

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Article by: Eric Rugara

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Actions have consequences. That's the lesson of John Wick. It's also one of the laws of physics: every action has a reaction that's Newton's Third Law of Motion. I like to meditate on this because I think it's the basis of all life.

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Scientists say the world was not created. It formed from a big bang. So all of existence is a consequence of one event: the big bang. Of course that begs the question: who was the actor behind the event? Because no event occurs from thin air. For anyone to say a big bang appeared out of thin air is anti-scientific, because it contradicts the law that says reactions come from actions. In an existence of emptiness, nothingness and non-existence, what forms the somethingness and existence that is the big bang?

The other thing I have often thought about is order and chaos. For one, does chaos exist or is it simply order that we have not yet understood? A creative's desk looks like chaos but some swear they know where everything is located which makes it order? 

Perhaps we can define chaos as the state of affairs not guided by focused human will. Of course, this definition would be controversial because it would beg the question: then whose will has ordered nature and the universe? The creative's desk looks like chaos because the creative has not enforced his will upon it to organize it according to a consistent or regular arrangement. 

I like this definition because it leads to this obvious conclusion: that the world as it exists today is built on the existence of the human will. We order our societies according to the patterns our ancestors agreed upon, which we improve over generations, enforcing our will according to the prevailing circumstances of our times. It is the will of humans that has produced technology, religion, architecture, science, all education, all languages, all art, all customs ... 

Someone said that history tells the stories of big men. This is true. Even today, whatever is happening on the political scene, the stories that capture headlines focus on a few big names. According to that theory, the masses don't exist in history, it is the big names that control them who dominate. Because the masses are the clay that bends to the focused will of a few big names. 

That is history. To study it, you have to understand the people who shaped it with their will. Or who became the voices of the collective will of the people because that's the opposite theory, which is valid as well, that the big names in history only serve to channel what already exists in the masses. The bottom line is this: history is shaped by the focused (or even unfocused) will of individuals.

Which brings us to the personal. It is the focused will of a person that determines their ability to create order out of the chaos of their own lives. Let's break that down. In what ways does will manifest? In decision-making. I find that we are happy insofar as we feel a sense of agency in our own lives. And we are unhappy when we feel a lack of agency. What am I saying? That our happiness depends on our ability to make decisions for ourselves. The more helpless we feel, the unhappier and more depressed we become.

Action point? Start making decisions. Small decisions. As small as: what am I going to wear tomorrow? What time shall I sleep tonight? What shall I eat today? Rather than wait for consequences to drive action, be proactive and create your own wave.

The consequence of not eating is hunger, which then motivates people to cook. But why not make the decision to cook beforehand? That's proactive. The higher level of that would be making decisions on what to eat every day a menu for the home. That's even more proactive. It follows: proactive is superior to reactive. The former creates its own big bang, the latter is a victim of consequences. Fate acts upon humans, but humans can also act upon fate and shape their destiny by being proactive. 

I have been meditating on the question of: how can one stay sane and positive in a time of great uncertainty around us? If it's not the war in Ukraine, it is strange lethal viruses, dollar shortages, political uncertainty, land conflicts, information overload, taxation, an economy seemingly on the edge... So much to make anyone depressed.

And I think this is the solution. To make decisions over your own life on the things you can control. To not go with the flow. To be content with the decisions you can make. This is in line with the serenity prayer which says: "God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can and wisdom to know the difference." Clap for yourself for making the decision to read this article and stick to it to the end.