Luck

The use of the concept of luck to make us feel good is prevalent. For example: the bullet grazed my ear I was lucky to be alive , just a few seconds later and I would have been killed outright: my luck was in I won a thousand pounds.

This is the usual way we humans look at events; we ask what effect they have had on us and if it is good we speak of luck. In the event of a possible catastrophe we simply consider how lucky we were to have escaped. Should a serious setback occur we immediately speak of how much worse it could have been. In spite of frost bite I was lucky to lose only two fingers.

The opposite of luck is also made personal: but for an unlucky spin I would have won the jackpot. In this subtle way we protect ourselves from the rough and tumble of day to day events. 

The statistician has a completely different viewpoint, luck means nothing to him , his only concern is with probability. He views from the outside looking in objectively. So many men between forty and fifty will die of heart disease. He is untouched by the human tragedy.

The gambler takes luck very seriously indeed , inspite of the fact his belief often ruins him. He sincerely believes that he is lucky; it’s  not the laws of chance which govern the outcome but his choice. Or he has the other warped view that the laws of chance conform to his choice.

The advertiser uses human weakness to get us to gamble. He shows a picture of a real but ordinary person who has won a large sum and we make the link.

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