"Everything Happens for a Reason"

I believe that everything happens for a reason. People change so that you can learn to let go, things go wrong so that you appreciate them when they're right, you believe lies so you eventually learn to trust no one but yourself, and sometimes good things fall apart so better things can fall together. - Marilyn Monroe

Marilyn Monroe's quote appears quite often...

Everything doesn't happen "for a reason." Things just happen. The universe and events we can't control are totally indifferent to our affairs.

Imagine the implications of "everything happens for a reason" when applied to everything as the quote suggests.

If you ordered pizza and a female delivery person delivered the pizza, must this have happened for a reason? Is this delivery person special...is there something beyond the female delivery driver that you're unaware of? That the female driver is unaware of? Is the female delivery driver just a pawn in some game to deliver pizza that that you can learn some sort of lesson or meet a person?

If you woke at noon must this have happened for a reason? Was it impossible to wake at 11? Does this waking at noon drastically alter your day?


There is no hidden "meaning" or "reason" in every single action taken by every single human being in the universe, every natural occurance, etc.

Some things just "are" and there isn't a why answer, a causal chain, or anything that has to do with us.

Sure, when things go wrong, we may try to look on the sunny side of life and think that a closed door leads to an open one or a missed opportunity was "intended." This, though, may just be us trying to have control in chaotic situations.

Our tendency to establish, expect, or think about events as a cause and effect pattern/chain/action is simply an evolutionary strategy, remnant, and survival mechanism.


People don't change so that your can learn to let go. People change as the result of conscious decisions, life experiences, and various other factors.

Things don't go wrong so you can learn to appreciate. Things go wrong because things go wrong.

This "you believe lies" claim is astonishing. Why is it good to be willfully ignorant or be happy in a state of accepting false information that infringes on reality?

Good things don't fall apart so that better things can fall together. Good things fall apart for various reasons including but not limited to corruption, boredom, power, wear, etc.


When this phrase is used it's often really meaning something akin to "Well, I'm very sorry to hear that, but perhaps you can learn from the experience." Bad events don't happen for you to learn, but rather you learn after bad events occur.


Offering nonsense like "everything happens for a reason" isn't really a good remedy for making someone feel better about unfortunate happenings. I don't lie to people and make wild claims when I am trying to help someone.

Imagine if a family member were in the hospital with a terminal disease and the doctor told you that everything would be OK if you just sucked on a candy cane. Do you think false condolences are acceptable for making people feel better? Do you think it's OK to tell people that they'll see their loved ones who died later in life when they visit an amusement park? Do you think it's OK to tell college students who failed a test that the test was just a joke and they need not worry about it? Do you think it is permissible for banks to tell people that their house won't be foreclosed because they didn't pay the bills and they'll be forgiven to only foreclose later? How about parents who are convinced that prayer without doctors or medical treatment is sufficient for curing their children of medical maladies?

" I'm sure you have felt the same way when things arent going right."

No, I don't. I also don't say things like this to my friends when things go wrong. I hear "everything happens for a reason" all the time and other superstitious/false nonsense and it has done tremendous damage to people I know (and people I don't really know) by people who offer false hope and false promises...and that's why I call it out. Those who make wild claims and support wild claims should be willing to defend their wild claims when they're called out on it or they just shouldn't make the wild claims to begin with.

Accepting stuff like "everything happens for a reason" can make us credulous, prone to seeing patterns when patterns don't exist, vulnerable, incredibly superstitious, victim to the just-world hypothesis, resign to learned helplessness, convinced that we're at fault for things out of our control, etc, etc, etc.

I'm sure that there are many, many, many positive and realistic alternatives to helping someone rather than saying everything happens for a reason such as:

Stay strong.
Your friends are there to help you.
It's not the end of the world.
Stuff happens - you just have to get through it.
Life's tough, but it's important to be able to get through it.
Well, that might suck, but "x" is something to look forward to.
Life's not a big ice cream sundae.