Brief Discursus on Luck

I’m told that good Christians don’t believe in luck. I am not a good Christian. But I am one, and I do believe in luck. In fact, misunderstanding luck may lead to illogical reasoning and illogical behavior.

Luck is simply this: the improbable becoming actuality. The modifiers “good” & “bad” are not absolute, but do express the degree to which the now-actual was previously improbable.

I heard a lady on TV the other day talking about getting mugged/robbed/assaulted while shopping in a grocery store. She ended her interview with a TV-made quip: “You know, you think you’re safe when you’re shopping for groceries, but now I know you’re not.”

This is what happens when you don’t understand luck. You say, and believe, stupid paranoid shit like this. Local news, of course, feeds off confusing people over the probable vs. improbable. The correct conclusion is, “Damn, it was extremely unlucky for me to get clubbed in the noggin while shopping for oatmeal.” 

Likewise, it’s really bad luck when you’re flying over the Hudson River and a pterodactylesque pigeon flies into the jet engine of the airplane you’re riding on, but it’s mildly good luck that you and your compadres escape this pigeon-induced disaster with nary a scratch.  The wrong conclusion is, “Pigeons are a menace to society that must be annihilated”/”Commercial airplanes are an extremely unsafe way to travel.”

This post dedicated, with affection, to Alice in Chains.

3 thoughts on “Brief Discursus on Luck

  1. given your definition/understanding of luck and its modifiers, how would you qualify your use of the term “unlucky” in the final sentence of paragraph 4 and the seemingly interchangeable meaning of this term with the modifier “bad” as used in the opening sentence of paragraph 5? 🙂

    on a more serious note, i once heard that lady luck was nothing more than satan cross-dressing.

  2. interesting essay per one definition of “luck”. But where I come from, “luck” is a force, a metaphysical entity, like “samsara”. It is a force sometimes associated with deities, which usually doesn’t include TOTG.

  3. Pingback: My Favorite Debt

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