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Why We Shouldn't Be Too Desperate -- The Russian Roulette Fallacy

Updated: Jul 19

(April 2023 note: I promised to link a cutscene for you and I did not do it. I am sorry. At Philosocom, I treat any such mistake with severity, even if you may disagree. The Renovation Operation is to eliminate such mistakes. So, the promised link has been added.)

Note 1: I may be against trigger warnings, but you may not be. Since I'm not writing to myself here, I'll tell you not to read this if you have a hard time with suicide and death. Regardless, this article will not be grim or pessimistic by intention. I just want to communicate something through an example.

Note 2: To improve your experience, I am willing to consider putting such warnings in other content of mine. However, I can't remember every single piece from the top of my head. If you happen to find a piece that you think deserves such warnings, please let me know by commenting on the relevant piece.

I will make every effort to ensure that your comments are read and given the attention they deserve. I'm only asking to be:


*Avoid spam

*Not put inappropiate photos/videos in your comments.

I think these rules are fine and professional. Let's begin with today's missive.


Russian roulette is a risky game of chance in which you risk your life in exchange for something. Sometimes, there may be more than one reward. It can range from money to the respect of your thrill-seeking peers. Nonetheless, in its original form, you are shooting yourself while worrying about death or serious injury.

Basically, you put a single bullet into a revolver (a repeating handgun), spin its cylinder, and begin the game. The game ends when one of the players eventually shoots themselves.

There is a cutscene I found about Russian roulette. I will link to it at the end of this article.

Instead of lambasting this practice, I will try to understand it from a logical perspective. In philosophy, we do not only preach what we think is true. We also try to understand the other side, to better understand reality.

I find thrill-seeking to be unreasonable when it can greatly risk lives. However, I believe I can decipher the motivations.

Firstly, people do extreme stuff for its own sake, AKA, to be excited. It's reasonable to assume that some people may have this urge more than others. Perhaps it's one of the reasons we're so dissimilar. Extreme sports? Tourism in dangerous places? Please keep in mind that people have their own reasons. Reasons that you might not be aware of. Maybe you won't even try to understand deeper; I don't know.

Secondly, thrill-seeking activities may be done professionally. In other words, it could be because it provides employment. Every job respects its holder, as the saying goes in Hebrew. I do not entirely agree with it, but my point is, people are making a living out of people's urge to do such things. As for Russian Roulette, some people might survive by gambling, or seek to earn even more.

Thirdly, there is a contemporary philosophy called FOMO, which stands for the fear of missing out. Its reasoning is that "we only live once," and thus we should experience as much as possible before we die. Some people might desire to play Russian Roulette because they want to experience a life-threatening risk such as this.

Finally, you might want to prove your worth to your friends in order to impress them and avoid being labeled a coward. Therefore, you may conform, or otherwise you would be rejected from their social circle. As said in a previous article, the fear of rejection is perhaps one of the biggest fears in our minds. Even if that fear may be very irrational, yes. It depends on the situation and what will happen if we get rejected.

To play Russian Roulette by choice is obviously irrational. Your life is more important than any of the reasons I just explained. Excitement, money, FOMO, or rejection. None of these are good reasons to put a partially-loaded gun to your head. Even if you complete the game, it is not worthwhile. Even the reward.

People may claim that we have dangers in our lives anyway. That we can get into a car accident just by walking. That's just one example. When we realize that we don't have to increase our risks any further, the fallacy of this argument becomes clear. We can even fall in our homes, for example, and suffer an injury. It does not mean we should put a revolver to our heads.

By ruminating on this subject, I came up with a fallacy I'd like to call the Russian Roulette Fallacy. It means that desperation does not justify lethal activities. I'm specifically stating desperation because it is hard for me to believe that all players in that game are completely serene. Maybe some are too light-headed to understand or care. It does not mean the rest are not as well.

What causes people to be that desperate? Perhaps they live in poverty and struggle to make ends meet. Therefore, they might gamble to get the money they might never get otherwise. However, the problem with this logic is that they can already try to make money through other means of gambling, which is not as dangerous.

Some people might have nothing to lose. So, they may do just that to meet their demise.

A weird but possible third reason can be this: They must do it. What if you are kidnapped by a group of terrorists and are required to play a game of Russian roulette for freedom? It could be several games as well.

The irony in the preceding point is that we may find this gamble irrational, but keep in mind that people may have to do it in order to earn something, such as living another day. getting freed from their own status in life. After all, there are not equal opportunities in the real world.

Hmm.. It seems that the article is getting longer than usual. I'll summerize by this: Our emotions can blind us from seeing the bigger picture. As a result, we may have regrets. We may fall in love with a woman who isn't interested in you. Maybe she just plays along and will stand in your way whenever she sees fit. I'm not projecting.

The fallacy I devised teaches us this: That we should never be too desperate, or we may die as a result. If we can afford safer routes, and not waste time and resources on more-dangerous routes, perhaps we should pick the former routes, in the name of survival. Physical or otherwise.

And saving money, by finding solutions for yourself, can help you both survive and work towards financial wealth.

Thanks for reading. If you enjoyed it, please click the heart icon below this article. It shows other readers that the article was good.

The promised link.

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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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