[The Listserve] How randomness affects your life

Emil
12/01/2017
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It's a mistake not to think about randomness, for randomness is what you get if you don't make choices. Do you really want randomness controlling the most important events in your life?

There are two kinds of randomness: The "true" kind, where it's impossible, using the science we know, to know the outcome. Maybe you've heard about the Heisenberg principle. It says that, in some circumstances, if we try to measure, we destroy the thing we wanted to measure. It's not measurable, we don't know, therefor it's random. This is a basic thing in nature, a randomness we can't change no matter how hard we try.

Then there's the more common kind. The kind that SEEMS random to us. If we throw a die, and three comes up, was that randomness? Not really, because if we could throw the die in exactly the same way, the same number would come up. That's not how real randomness works, but it's the kind of random we surround ourself with every day. Let's focus on this kind of every-day randomness.

Is there any way to control randomness? Yes! You can reduce uncertainty. Example: Say you want to meet a partner, something that is seemingly random (we've all hear the stories of how people "randomly" bumped into each other). Is there something you can do to make that more likely (i.e. less random)? Maybe you could hang out in places where a good partner is likely to hang out? Probably not in your livingroom right? At a local bar? At an evening course in pottery? Think about it. This is you consciously reducing the amount of randomness around meeting someone.

So while randomness is something that affects us all, you can affect it by just knowing more, and adapting. Now, knowing this, is there some area of your life that you find extra important? Is there something that you really would miss if it got lost on you? Maybe it's time to reduce the uncertainty and randomness around that thing? Is there something you could do right now?

My point: Don't let randomness control what happens to the most important parts of your life. If you don't do anything, it will.

Emil
Stockholm, Sweden
em@kth.se

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