Whatever happens…

John Engle began a lively discussion of the “Whatever happens in the only thing that could have” principle in late April on the OSlist. And it is continuing! Here is how it all began:

I know that some have been through this hundreds of times but I’m wanting to get the most recent reflections on the principle:

Whatever happens is the only thing that could’ve.

My colleagues in Haiti and I continue to have smart people from a variety of cultures let us know that this principle doesn’t sit well with them.

It communicates fatalism to some instead of encouraging responsibility. While i’m totally comfortable with the principle, if enough people tell me that it communicates something to them that is different than what i’m trying to communicate, there’s a problem.

For me, what’s worse is that often times people remember it as: “What happens is that which is supposed to happen” or “There’s a reason for everything that happens.” This can have us sounding like Christian fundamentalist.

We’ve been experimenting in Haitian Creole and in English with this:

What Happens is what happens – learn and move forward.

Join the conversation on OSlist!


[…] is the only thing that could have”. I know John Engle brought this question up in the past http://www.openspaceworld.org/news/2007/05/11/whatever-happens/ and I’m still curious about […]

I have had all kinds of occasions in my life where it seemed things were happening that were not supposed to happen; but upon careful and thorough study, it has always been revealed that the only possible thing happened that was perfect for that moment in time.