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One In a Million (and Every Other Chance) -- How To Live With Or Without Luck

Updated: Jun 19


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Abstract


I argue that our lives are not predetermined by fate or divine intervention. Instead, they are shaped by a combination of chance and our own choices.
I use the concept of possibility to explain this. Everything that can happen, no matter how likely or unlikely, is a possibility. These possibilities can come about without any supernatural guidance.
I also argue against the idea of miracles. Miracles are seen as rare events with a low probability of occurring. However, if a higher power dictates a specific miracle to happen, its likelihood changes. This contradicts the very nature of miracles.
I conclude by emphasizing the role of our choices in shaping our lives. We may not have complete control over everything, but we can influence the outcome to some extent. Even in a world governed by chance, our actions can tip the scales of possibility in our favor.
Ms. Tamara's review delves into the debate between determinism (everything is predetermined) and free will. It starts with Einstein's deterministic view and the question of whether existence is random or predetermined based on physics and quantum mechanics.
She explores concepts like entanglement (linked particles) and the theory of superdeterminism (hidden variables influencing outcomes) to question if free will is an illusion. It then presents John Bell's idea that choices might be predetermined but doesn't negate free will, using a video game analogy. 
She concludes with the idea that we may be part of a multiverse experiencing one reality and our choices influence the outcome within the constraints of our existence. It ends with a thought-provoking metaphor comparing consciousness to a sophisticated Playstation hardware in a virtual human life simulation.


Why All Possibilities Hold the Dice


Regardless of the topic or issue at hand, anything that has the potential to happen, no matter how likely or rare, is a possibility nonetheless. These possibilities can come into actualization without the necessary guidance from a supernatural hand, which is to be determined. In fact, introducing a guiding hand only biases a possibility, making it likelier or rarer than its inherent chance.


Possibilities are either evitable or inevitable. Inevitable possibilities cannot be denied, and will happen regardless. They are possibilities because their happening is not a matter of "if" but a matter of "when". Death is an inevitable possibility because you're going to die anyways. Whether you die tomorrow or in twenty years, is the possibility discussed in the concept of inevitability. Using merit and understanding, inevitable possibilities can be detected and recognized. This, in turn, can help you plan your decisions like a mastermind.


Take winning the lottery, for instance. Divine intervention isn't a requirement. And arguably, there is no necessary connection between chance and prayer. A person's religious devotion in faith and in ceremony won't magically improve their odds (or worsen them for non-believers). However, this criticism isn't to completely denounce the practical value of prayer on our mindfulness capacity, as presented in the religious philosophy of Shinto-ism.


Either way, the zealous act of picking numbers has no influence on the random drawing at the end. Both the chosen sequence and the winning numbers follow predetermined chances, independent of any external forces.


To give you a clearer understanding of lottery methodology, let's read Investopedia's info on the matter:


A lottery is a low-odds game where winners are selected by a random drawing. Lotteries are a popular form of gambling, encouraging people to pay a small sum of money for the chance of winning a big jackpot, often administered by state or federal governments.
A lottery refers to a random draw, which results in a winner or small group of winners. When there is a high demand for something that is limited, a lottery may be run to make a process fair for everyone.


As demonstrated, the integration of a divine component is not necessary. But in the name of greater inclusion, feel free to prove me wrong using the components of truth.


Why Miracles Lose Their Magic -- The Miracle Paradox


In simpler terms, a one-in-a-thousand occurrence can happen just as easily as a one-in-a-million one. The difference lies only in the probability, not the possibility itself. If your medications can always complicate your condition in a one-in-a-million chance, as presented with what happend to my dear mother, that's an inevitable possibility.


So, why should a rare event be treated differently from any other chance occurrence, be it mundane or extraordinary? Both exist within the realm of possibility, waiting for the unpredictable "roll of the dice".


And a consistent result of "the dice" can determine whether we are fortunate/blessed, or have the luck of an ineffectual symathetic villain trying to hunt speedsters. Either way, preperation for risk and the willingness to endure life's hardships can reduce the affect of negative outcomes on our mentality.


Introducing a concept of divine guidance contradicts the very nature of "natural" or random possibilities. If a higher power dictates a specific miracle to happen, its likelihood shifts dramatically from "rare" to "common." This creates a paradox, as miracles, by definition, are extraordinary events with a low probability of occurring. Yet, if we know a miracle is guaranteed, isn't it stripped of its miraculous nature?


A "Divine Miracle" isn't a miracle at all. If it is fully intended by an omnipresent entity, none have the force to oppose such intention.


Furthermore, some claim miracles do not really exist. To quote Ian McClymont:


Miracles do not happen ever, coincidences happen, people are always ready to call a near miss or good fortune.
Miracle, when someone is found alive in the rubble of an earthquake after 9 days people call it a miracle, but the truth is that person had the will to live strongly embedded in their brain, they did not give up.
When you survive an accident perhaps in a vehicle it is not some God smiling on you, it is not your guardian angel protecting you, the vehicle withstood the force of the crash without collapsing and killing you.
Miracles do not happen, people have been conditioned by religion to believe in miracles but the truth is they do not happen. There is always a [root] cause, for what happened.

Miracles, whether existent or alternatively understood, can arise from sheer luck or from deliberate attempts. And as such their probability can increase through the virtue of work. However, for something to be considered a miracle, it must inherently possess a low chance of happening.


The idea of a miracle is preordained removes the element of surprise and improbability, diminishing its awe-inspiring quality. As such, in the concept of destiny, chances, high or low, don't even exist.


The true essence of a miracle lies in the unexpected, in the fortunate convergence of unlikely circumstances. It's the moment when possibility defies perceived odds, leaving us in wonder. However, expanding our understanding of reality can make one question if such a term is factual or a myth.



Have you ever encountered "chew toy" characters in fiction? These hapless souls endure a never-ending cycle of misfortune, existing solely for the audience's amusement. A prime example is Ol' Gill Gunderson from The Simpsons. To quote the Whatculture Blog:


Gil Gunderson is a jack of all trades, master of none. He has held every job you can think of including estate agent, mall Santa and car salesman.
From an early age Gil was cursed with the ability to fail at everything he did. At the tender of age of six he managed to send his brother's lemonade stand into bankruptcy and drank all of the produce. Unable to make sales or finalise deals, Gil often only keeps his job for a matter of days.
In "Screaming Yellow Honker[s]" Gil discovers his wife is cheating with his friend and knows there is nothing he can do about it as she is all he has.
In "I Don't Wanna Know Why The Caged Bird Sings", we find out Gil held a position as a security guard and was shot as he was entering the premises for his first day of work.
It is also implied that Gil does't have a home with him having lived in a hostel and a storage locker.

Gunderson's relentless misery feels fabricated because, in reality, such a string of bad luck is incredibly rare. In the real world, unlike sitcoms, misfortune isn't a constant companion assigned by a cruel writer. Although, there are exceptions...


“I was homeless for 35 years across 46 states. I believe it's the future for millions more Americans” -- John Duran (On Philosocom)

Life's circumstances are a complex synergy, produced from our own choices, external influences, an chance. While we can't control everything, we do have a say in shaping our experiences. Sure, you can believe in whatever brings you comfort, but relying solely on prayer won't magically alter the odds stacked against you.


No. Don't fall to this Victim's Mentality. Work your way to become better. Focus less on playing the "Blame Game". Focus on improving your situation instead. Ditch the belief that you're destined to be a perpetual punchline, and start taking charge of your own narrative.




The Cruel Coin Flip And You


The universe operates on chance, not a moral compass, and far less on justice. It's indifferent to our notions of justice, when the dice is rolled. Frequent, infrequent, or extraordinary results may ensue each time. And it's only perceived like that because of our profound sense of ignorance about the world and actors around us.


What if you slipped on banana peels 3 times today because you were too distracted, and/or lack physical balance? Maybe you wouldn't be so prone to banana peels if you improved your balance and focus? And no, there are no prank-based criminal syndicates in real life like there could be in fiction.


A stray cat once gave birth. But her newborn kitten vanished, seemingly abandoned. It's a heartbreaking scene that begs the question: why are some innocent creatures left to fend for themselves, while others find comfort? The answer, harsh as it seems, lies in the realm of chance.


Psyche.


Feral cats can survive better in the streets than stray cats. Ferals may live in cat colonies, be better in hiding and operate at night to escape from daytime heat and to lay low. Why do you think some criminals work at night? Reduced visibility. Easier to survive in hostile environments when you're less detected.


Furthermore, cat breed plays a role in their personality, personalizing their interactions with the world.


In a deterministic universe, where every event is pre-written, your strategies won't matter as much. But what if they do? It's a world governed by the predictable flips of metaphorical coins, some kittens find a nurturing family, while others face a harsher reality.


But why not find ways to live either way? Why not calm effectively during wartime? Why not better endure skin deprivation? Why be so much at the mercy of the unctonrollable? Of course mercy is often impractical...


Unlike cats, we possess a degree of agency... Even in the age of artificial intelligence. We can alter our course, pursue goals, and navigate the currents of chance, influence and temptation.



Conclusion


This inherent ability to influence our destinies is precisely why I struggle with blind faith. After all, if the future is set in stone, actions wouldn't matter. But demonstrating our intention in action can be extremely powerful.


The very act of planning, strategizing, and taking initiative speaks to the dynamic, changing nature of our existence. In a world governed by chance, our actions can tip the scales of possibility in our favor. Even a game of coin toss can be mastered.


So, while a kitten's fate can be harsher, we humans hold a tiny bit more control over "the game" of life. Even North Korea can be escaped. We can choose to actively shape our lives, even if some elements remain beyond our grasp.


A challenging truth, but one that ultimately empowers us to create our own narratives within the unpredictable script of life.


Ms. Tamara Moskal's Feedback


"If the moon, in the act of completing its eternal way around the earth, were gifted with self-consciousness, it would feel thoroughly convinced that it was traveling its way on its own accord." These were the words of Albert Einstein, who believed in determinism and doubted the existence of free will. If physics governs everything, and quantum mechanics explains the phenomena of universal reality, is existence random or predetermined?
Many scientists consider quantum mechanics indeterministic, as experimental outcomes appear random depending on human observation, known as The Observer Effect.
However, there is a strange causality between how particles "behave," even at a long distance. This phenomenon, known as entanglement, enables us to accurately predict the spin of an entangled particle based on another particle's experimentally determined spin. How is it possible from the indeterministic point of view?
How do these particles "communicate" and influence each other? In 1964, the physicist John Bell proposed a radical theory of superdeterminism, suggesting missing information, a "hidden variable" that might prove the causality of everything and disprove the seeming randomness of outcomes we observe in quantum mechanics. Is human free will an illusion resulting from the unknown fabric of our Consciousness, or do we possess free will?
In John Bell's view, our choices are predetermined, but this does not necessarily oppose the existence of free will. Imagine a computer game with many alternative endings. A programmer predetermines the game, yet different decisions lead to different outcomes. Imagine we are part of a multiverse with unlimited alternatives existing simultaneously.
We play them all, but our Consciousness makes us experience only one reality at a time. Our human mind is unaware of the infinite possibilities of everything based on entanglement, causality, and logic.
In every "moment" of our lives, we make unconscious and conscious choices, leading to seemingly random outcomes we call miracles and curses of life. As in computer games, we cannot choose whatever we imagine. We are bound by software, like our physical bodies and the observable reality of our universe.
However, we can still influence the outcome to some extent because we are aware of only one reality and experience it psychologically as free will. Some choices result in unexpected challenges, while others open opportunities.
Death is inevitable, yet it might be a sequel to the game, with a new "body" and new realities. Consciousness might be a sophisticated Playstation hardware, enabling us to enter the virtual simulation of a program called human life.

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Tomasio A. Rubinshtein, Philosocom's Founder & Writer

I am a philosopher from Israel, author of several books in 2 languages, and Quora's Top Writer of the year 2018. I'm also a semi-hermit who has decided to dedicate his life to writing and sharing my articles across the globe. Several podcasts on me, as well as a radio interview, have been made since my career as a writer. More information about me can be found here.

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