I’ve been thinking about luck lately and how a lot of people attribute good things that happen to it.  So what exactly IS luck anyway?  According to this definition, it is a force that causes good things to happen.  What other force do people attribute such things to but not bad things?  That right, gods.  Belief in luck is a religious belief, though it is fortunately one that does not entail the worship of a being, and it does not drive its adherents to hurt other people or convert them.  It’s a very simple religion that seems harmless from most perspectives.

But as with all superstitions, belief in luck is not based on sound logic.  It causes people to misunderstand real forces at work in the world and to gain a false sense of knowledge about the universe.  When you flip a coin, the outcome seems random, but it is not.  How the coin lands depends on many factors like how much time in spends in the air, how quickly it rotates, and where it lands.  With enough knowledge of physics and control over the flip, the outcome could be predicted with 100% accuracy a million times.  To believe that the outcome of a coin flip depends on a supernatural force acting on it in favor of a particular individual is arrogant and childish, but the worst part is that it’s wrong.  The forces at work in every seemingly random event can be understood.  There is nothing supernatural about them.

Believing that an outside force bends probabilities to your advantage can cause a person to take unnecessary chances.  Just because a person threw a basketball into the hoop facing backwards from half court once doesn’t mean that he should bet his life savings on a single hand of blackjack later on.  The circumstances are completely different, and to tie them together with a force that cannot be detected or tested is irrational.

Though it would be cool if we could count on good things happening to us, that’s just not how reality works.  There is no such thing as good or bad luck.  There is only ignorance of seemingly random events and the inability to calculate the outcomes.


One thought on “Luck”

  1. You’re lucky all I’m going to to is say you lie.

    So, count your lucky stars, don’t push your luck, because luck be a lady tonight and hell hath no fury like a woman scorned. If you’re considering testing this, well, your luck may just run out. Good luck with continuing to lie.

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