Einstein said “God doesn’t play dice with Man”. Does He not? I’m not sure myself. I think in the very least He tries to. But not everyone plays back.
One of my biggest fascinations in life is how random unpredictable events can – in a split second decision that could have gone so many different ways- have such a drastic impact on our lives. It’s like the ‘butterfly effect’ in chaos theory in mathematics. The flap of a butterflies wings in Japan (chosen randomly) can cause a hurricane in Mexico through a series of domino effects that amplify to huge proportions.
I feel day to day life is very much the same. I look back on some of the most impactful things that happened in my life and drill back to the turning point that led me to them. I can always pinpoint it in retrospect. But none of them were ever planned ahead. From relationships that marked my life, friendships, quitting my job, starting a business, moving cities. We are ruled by randomness. Or at least I am.
Yet somehow the chaos of the microcosm – that random decision that amplifies to life-changing events – is masked by a symmetry and order in the macro that’s both bewildering and scary. Much like the deterministic laws of physics are underpinned by the unpredictability and irrationality of quantum physics. Its Adam Smith’s ‘invisible hand’, its nature’s gravitational force gravitating us to the things that almost should happen. (Although arguably in retrospect they will be so by definition for we know not any other outcome but that one chosen, making it the defacto). Still so many things that happen across vastly contrasting areas and timescales or phases of our lives seem to all converge to one grand master plan that we never even plotted. As Steve Jobs put it, ‘the dots connect much later’.
So do we live in a deterministic world or one ruled by that day to day randomness? Who knows? I certainly for one believe that the two coexist but only if we are aware of it. I believe in conscious randomness with a purpose. I believe in the importance of being aware of and on the lookout for that butterfly, of deviating from your master plan on a split second decision, even if totally irrational, taking a plunge of faith with the belief (blind belief almost) that there is a superseding master plan unbeknown to you that is prompting you to even contemplate throwing the dice there and then. I believe the master plan – be it God’s, natures or whatever else – is an evolving one, it takes input from us, we shape it as we go along with these micro decisions and how we approach them. Our predispositions and faith matter as much as the decision itself.
Hence the cliché ‘negative things happen to negative people; positive things happen to positive people’. The numbers of times I’ve seen this come true against all odds, against any rationality, against any laws of nature, with a one in a million probability; yet the predisposition of the subject– the negative person to whom negative things keep happening or vice versa – make it in some surreal way almost predictable The macro and micro negate each other. The irrational becomes predictably rational. Order comes out of chaos.
Alas, I look at life and say: not much (maybe with the exception of health and death) are things we can’t influence with our outlook on life and how we approach things, our predispositions. Our positive energy and faith in the ‘connecting of dots’ down the line. And that’s the sweet spot of life. You play dice with God day to day, but you know you cant loose. Perhaps that’s the proof of God’s eternal love for Mankind right there. You can only loose if you don’t play, if you look at all those random events that cross our paths as distractions to your intrinsic master plan. If you don’t believe in the connecting of dots and the convergence of all those seemingly random unimportant events so spaced out in our lives. If you don’t just go with it.
As for me. I am an eternal optimist. But above all, opportunist. I keep looking out for that flap of the butterfly’s wings and God’s next roll. And whether I am right in believing in it or not, one thing is certain to me: how unbearably boring and dull life would be without it.