Forming opinions about the nature of events not only helps us to understand how we should relate to them, it also categorises and defines them, thus fixing them in place so that we can keep an eye on them. What is important is that they don’t move, so to speak, while we turn our attention to other matters. The more elements of our dynamically moving world we can label and classify (and nail to the ground), the more stable and secure our world feels to us.
Unfortunately, this is a rather forlorn hope, but we try, nevertheless. The classification – the caricaturing – of an event’s definition also involves a full consideration of the possible implications and effects that the event may cause. This is often pure conjecture and wild presumption on our part, and regrettably allows us to assume that the event will have (usually) the worst possible ramifications.
This makes things exceedingly difficult for ourselves, but at least in such cases we feel that we have been forewarned. We give ourselves the comfort of imagining the tragedy so we won’t be surprised when it does strike, or pleasantly relieved when it doesn’t. Not all of us have so negative and pessimistic a view of life, I agree, but what we have in common with those of a more sunny disposition is that we are still dealing with the self-same “things” in the same misguided way, just investing them with a different emotional content. One man’s opportunity is another man’s misfortune, one’s dreaded outcome is another’s cherished wish.