Posts tagged ‘luck’

What is luck?

When people can’t make a difficult decision, it’s customary to flip a coin. This tradition relieves the tension of the decision-making process because you are relinquishing your control of the situation and thereby avoiding the possibility of guilty feelings that come from making the wrong choice. But let me ask you this: If it’s not you that’s controlling the result of that coin toss, then who is?

All traditions of fortune-telling, magic, and ancient religions have at least one thing in common; their traditions involve the relinquishing of all human control of the outcome of a situation, because they believe that there is no such thing as randomness. They believed that randomness was the language of God, that by forfeiting control of a situation as simple as a dice toss or a coin flip, you are submitting your fate to another force. Native tribes, in an attempt to tell the future, would throw animal bones into the air, or create a complex design on the ground with bones and bits of food. When animals would come at night to eat the food, the natives would interpret the footprints and markings that the animals had made.

This is not to say that flipping a coin is always wiser than making a decision by yourself. Mathematically, both sides have a 50% chance of being picked, and by continuously flipping a coin to an easy hypothetical question (like, should I live or die), you can see that the coin will not consistently produce the correct choice, which would be obvious in this example. But if you really focus on the question at hand and wholeheartedly forfeit your control of the outcome, you may be curiously surprised at the accuracy of the first coin flip.

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