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Luck and Fate
Luck. Fate. Is everything predestined or is it all down to us?
Luck is defined as –events that are beyond control. and seem subject to chance.
Fate is defined as – the ultimate agency that predetermines the course of events.
Most of us complain about having bad luck but know that a shoe lace coming untied is not bad luck, it is bad tying in first place. So what is down to luck? Or is everything preordained?
Most gambling people curse their luck when they lose but the know they made a wrong choice.
So little of our modern lives is actually random, In the days of early human hunter gatherers, the decision to turn left or right, as you leave the cave, could be random but more probably a choice made depending on wind direction or memory of where succulent berries were plentiful. While factual knowledge, especially about the local environment and the predictability of weather and food, was very limited, a great many of the actions of humans, were random in the sense of not being planned.
Our modern urbanised existence is even far more controlled and predictable than that of a cave man. So we have to question how much “luck” influences our lives. Winning the lottery is a gamble against huge odds yet you have to buy a ticket to be in with a chance, so to a tiny degree you are controlling it not luck. The random selection of numbers on your ticket rather than on the millions of other tickets has to be down to luck.
In sport, a sudden gust of wind can divert a ball only one degree yet this can influence a million dollar result. Is this luck? Or Fate? Or simply the inability to allow for the wind?
In most sports there are umpires, judges, or referees and these can make mistakes which cost one side and negate better play by the other. Is this luck or bad judgement by the officials? Many professional sports people believe such errors of judgement will even themselves out over a season of play. So the bad luck of bad decisions going against you in some games gets equalled by good luck of bad decisions going for you in others.
In horse racing, some jockeys believe being drawn in a particular starting position, on a particular course, is bad luck and affects the result. Is this true or would training the horse to race from any starting position circumvent this?
If fate were absolute then there would be very little point to any effort to do anything, endeavor would be pointless, as what is going to happen will happen what ever is done. It is observable that such a belief is false, if we do nothing and just sit and stare at the wall we die of starvation. This becomes self fulfilling only if you believed your fate was to die of starvation while staring at a wall.
So fate is not absolute and luck is variable. If we accept these statements as true the next logical question is can we influence or even control luck and fate? To say we can control fate is a contradiction, under the above definition of fate it is obvious we can not control it, but influencing it is an interesting possibility.
Controlling and influencing luck requires the ability to examine every situation, work out all the possible alternative moves that can be made, and then work out accurately the consequences of each move. Then analyze the alternative secondary moves that could be made for each possible first move. Then correctly forecast the consequences of these secondary moves. I guess this is where Artificial Intelligence, programmed to perfection with all possibilities, takes over the world. So while it is possible to intellectually influence luck and fate, it is not going to be an everyday occurrence in most of our lives.
Can our intuition, some call it the sixth sense, help influence luck. This is what many gamblers rely on, after a study of “form” and previous results. But how many gamblers get rich? As a percentage of those who try, a very small number.
Motor racing and motorcycle racing are very dangerous sports and the professional teams do everything they can to eliminate chance and minimize danger, but they still exist. One driver can walk away from a really bad crash, without any damage to himself while another can be killed by an unforeseen occurrence of a dislodged bit of machinery, smashing into his head during the crash. Given that in both these instances every effort had been made to reduce the danger from a crash, it seems luck or fate has intervened. Could this luck or fate have been influenced? Not taking part in the race or by driving slower so there was no crash, that would have influenced things. It would also negate the very reason drivers like to race.
Some people claim “divine guidance” for their actions. If we think of the definition of fate and that of a divinity, it would seem that any such divine guidance must come from the controller of fate. Thus if genuine, such guidance is fate fulfilling its chosen course. If such a controller wanted to predestine the life of every human, they would not have programmed creativity into humanity.
How much free will, real choice, do we have in our modern, interconnected and interacting world? For most adults, who live within a family unit, all our choices get limited by how they will affect the rest of the family and how they will react or even retaliate, over the choice we make. While we have the freedom to make that choice, we will also have to face the consequences. This tends to limit the amount of choice available. Expand this thought into the wider world, our every choice is limited by how others will react to what ever action we take. You can not just walk into a stream of fast moving traffic and expect to survive and so your choice or where and when you cross the road is limited.
It is a reasonable assumption that free will exists but it is limited. It is a similar reasonable assumption that pure chance, luck, also exists but it is far less frequent than people like to imagine.
Fate is harder to quantify. Some claim fate is the over riding path of an individuals life, that is set by a deity the moment they are born, but how the individual takes each step along that path, is a matter for their choice. This would imply that fate is also conditional and partial. If fate exists as a complete predestination of all our lives, what useful purpose do humans have in the progress of creation?