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Saturday, July 18, 2015


Rocco wants to know
“Ka knew very well that life was a meaningless string of random incidents”
~Orhan Pamuck, Snow

It’s all about what we do with that meaningless string of random incidents, isn’t it, eh?

“This is the central illusion in life: that randomness is a risk, that it is a bad thing …"
~Nassim Nicholas Taleb 

Randomness does present risk but no, it is not necessarily a bad thing at all. 

“Shallow men believe in luck or in circumstance. Strong men believe in cause and effect.”
~Ralph Waldo Emerson 
Isn’t life some of both though? Yes, yes it is. Sorry Ralphie, your clever sounding epigram is wrong-o.

"So much of life, it seems to me, is determined by pure randomness."
~Sidney Poitier 

Seems so, Sidney. Take, for example, the fact that my little sister and I rock the Nf2. This big No-Fun-Time disease is passed down genetically. A person who has Nf2 (like mia madre) has a 50% chance of passing it on to offspring. Lucy had four kids—two of us have it. Interestingly, it's the emotionally stronger of the four. Fluke?

The severity of Nf2-er's cases/effects vary wildly. e.g., my mother had at least four pregnancies (which should've blown up her tumors like fourth of July fireworks) yet had hearing until she was in her 60s. I've never been up the spout (on Doctor O's strong recommendation) but lost my sound system at 46—nearly 20 years earlier than her. Luck of the draw?

She had cataracts, I don't. Fortuitous happenstance?

An Nf2 friend's mother died when she was in her 30s. My mother lived to be 83.

Is this all random chance? 

"Perhaps randomness is not merely an adequate description for complex causes that we cannot specify. Perhaps the world really works this way, and many events are uncaused in any conventional sense of the word."
~Stephen Jay Gould, "Chance Riches" in Hen's Teeth and Horse's Toes

"Uncaused"—love it! AND I'm with Stephen.

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