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Tuesday, December 8, 2020

Decemystery (2020) 8: Is Luck Real?


Happy Tuesday, dear reader. Tell me: how has life treated you? For my part, as it stands, life’s treated me as well as it has poorly. I had a lot of health issues growing up and even now, my mental health is something that could be substantially better. I suffer greatly from a lot of issues that make me a less-than desirable person to be around, but I do my best to not end up being a complete and total bastard. It’s easier said than done.


Lucky for me, I don’t socialize in person a lot, so I don’t hurt those I know in person. No, instead I hurt them over the Internet. Woo-hoo. Anyways, my point is: life dealt me a hand in blackjack that immediately went to 22; it sucks, but it’s the luck of the draw, no? I guess that’s what any gambler would say, so it’s what I’ll go with. Lucky doodle-doo.


Okay, well, anyways: what of those who are born into a life of luxury? They clearly got dealt a great hand and we all hate them for it—even if they’re the nicest and most generous people ever. We all succumb to envy at some point, but when it’s folks like that, envy turns into wrath and lust. Such is the way of sin, but we all yearn for more than what we have. The concept of being dealt a good hand goes out the window and we all see ourselves as the unluckiest people on Earth. At least, that’s how it is in my eyes.


Though what I see in my eyes means nothing when it comes to the cold, hard facts, right? After all, an opinion means nothing when it’s countered by an objective point. Though what if we can’t prove anything via objective reasoning; what if something can only be reasoned with through ano opinion? Okay, perhaps that makes zero sense, but maybe you get what I mean. What if something is simply… well, a concept? There are plenty of things like that: the concept of Friday the 13th for example. Sure, no hockey mask wearing, machete wielding zombie guy comes out and kills pretty teenagers at a camp, but we like to believe that bad luck strikes on that day.


Well, I guess I should get to the point of today’s write-up. I’ve been as subtle as a thousand bricks to the face. This is going to be a very off-the-cuff write-up as we’ll be discussing something that’s very much a personal belief for many. We all know it and we all hate it when it comes to life: luck. Let’s go over if it’s something that’s real or if it’s simply a factor of life that we like to believe in.



The Story


Exactly when the belief of luck came to be, I don’t know. What I do know is that I have a fair number of stories that could be considered “lucky” and “unlucky”. I’ve played video games where I have gotten supposedly rare drops to drop in rapid succession. I’ve had instances where friends have gotten very lucky and very unlucky. For example, I was watching a friend play the online card game “Hearthstone” when his opponent used the card “Brawl”.


How Brawl works is that all cards are pooled together and only one ends up remaining on the field. My friend had seven cards (the maximum number you can have on your side of the field) while his opponent had one. Against all odds, all seven of his cards ended up losing and he ended up losing the match.


One can consider this as luck giving my friend the middle finger, though is that truly the case or is it just the chaotic nature of Hearthstone being itself? Well, depending on who you are, it can go either way, but who is to say that Hearthstone isn’t representative of life as a whole? Chaos being chaos; that’s all life really is, no? Everything is just chaos and we’re at the mercy of it until something flies our way that doesn’t suck.


I digress though. I myself have had periods in life where everything has gone my way. I have made friends who have become some of my best friends. I even began to date a girl shortly after I had back surgery; I was with her for almost six years until life began to swing away from me and everything went to Hell. Slowly, but surely, things have begun to get back on track, but then they went off the rails again and have been off the rails for a long time. I’ve accepted it as life being life, but some may say that I am simply unlucky. I walked under the ladder one too many times I guess.


Though maybe I haven’t. What if luck is the creation of God and we don’t understand it? I’ve said before that I believe life to be far more grand than we could ever hope to fully know given our current pitiful understanding of it. Well, I guess to that I could say that luck is more of a conjecture-based belief that one subscribes to if they wish to explain away periods in life where there’s nothing good happening for them. However, that’s also extremely cynical and snobbish of me and it goes against my belief of letting all believe in what they wish to believe in. As such, I think that to deny someone the ability to believe in luck is cruel of me.


I digress though. Conceptually speaking, luck’s existence has been given an immortal presence within entertainment media. Maybe RPGs, be they tabletop or electronic based, have utilized it in order to grant you higher chances at Critical Hits or rare drops. Some games rely entirely on luck too. The Hong Kong based mobile gaming studio, Lilith Games, has a “gacha game” called AFK Arena which relies so much on luck (not to mention money) that you could realistically rename it “Luck: The Game”. However, given the design of the game is based around milking you dry of every penny—being just short of you selling your soul to Satan—is it truly luck or is it money-based?


Ehh, I guess it’s fifty-fifty if you want to reassure yourself that you aren’t going to have to mortgage your mother away. Now give me that Daimon card, baby!


Ahem, anyways, let’s get back on track. I’ve been rambling on for so long that I think I’ve lost my train of thought—or has luck driven me to be inspired to write more? Who can say for certain, but I feel like I could take on a TED Talk host. Could that be luck being on my side given the short time frame I have to write all of these stories, or is it something else? I guess that’s entirely up to you to decide, dear ole’ reader. Or dear young reader. I guess both work.


Strangely, I also think that that’s all there really is to say about this “story”. The more I contemplate what else there is to say, outside of “hey, I’ve had moments in my life that could be considered ‘lucky’”, the more I realize that luck is strictly grounded in the realm of personal belief. Yet, at the same time, trying to prove or disprove it is exceedingly difficult. Which oddly enough makes it worthy of being called a mystery—even if it seems like it shouldn’t be one. It’s easily one of the most baffling stories out there if you think about it that way.


On one final note, I want to reiterate that one’s belief in luck is something that I would never take away from you. If you’re an ardent believer in it, then I insist that you keep on believing in it. That’s on you and you alone.


Anyways, I think that this is the perfect time to end this story. We can now move onto the theories section, though there really aren’t that many to go over because, well, luck is something much different than Mokèlé-Mbèmbé or Jack the Stripper. Both of those have actual suspects (the latter more so than the former, I don’t recall Mokèlé-Mbèmbé ever stomping on someone because it’s a sociopathic monster) while luck is more a personal belief. In spite of that, I think it’s wrong if we just gloss over them, so onward!


Theories


1. Lady Luck is Kind and Luck is Real


The first theory is that luck is real. Everyone has those periods in life where everything falls perfectly into place for them and because of that, one could be forgiven for thinking they’re the luckiest man or woman on Earth. I’ve had moments like that where I’ve pondered if luck was real! Though could it really be?


Given that luck is more of a concept, I guess in some ways it could be real. Though in the way of hard evidence, you’ll be hard pressed to find anything that could back it up. This is unfortunate because, given what I’ve seen in my life and how lucky (and unlucky) I’ve been, it feels like I should be capable of presenting more than just first-hand accounts of things going my way and, likewise, things not going my way. Alas, because of that, this is where I think the theory ends. Sorry, lads and lasses.


2. Unlucky; luck isn’t real


On the other side of the coin, the second theory posits that luck isn’t real and that life is more or less controlled chaos. I guess that makes it, well, not chaos, but I digress. The idea is that everything is strictly random; nothing is predetermined or driven by luck. It’s all reliant on hope and at some point, the cards are in your favor. I guess in some ways, that could be seen as luck, but lightning strikes twice at some point, right?


My Take


No, I don’t think luck is real. Simply put: I believe everything in life happens for a reason. I firmly am of the opinion that negative events help to build character and help you to become a better person. It depends on how you deal and cope with them though. I think that luck as a concept is fun to entertain, but I don’t believe for a nanosecond that it is at all a real thing. How on Earth we could control luck is something that seems impossible and while I think that there are a plethora of things that truly are impossible (like breathing in space), I think that most things are in some capacity possible with the right technology. Luck, however, seems impossible on all fronts. That’s just me though, you’re always free to believe in whatever you wish to believe in.


Conclusion


Luck will be on our side tomorrow when Decemystery continues; unless I somehow end up being incapable of writing. We’ll see then I guess; catch you all on the flip side!

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