Luck

20170312_194507

The fun part is how new this word is 🙂 Just the word though, the concept and controversy regarding luck is millennia old.

And now for the analysis, otherwise I wouldn’t have brought it up 🙂

I am lucky. Very, outrageously lucky! It always appears to me that I do not control this luck, that it is somehow outside of me despite it happening to me. There is a good measure of self-fulfilling prophecy in there. I am by nature an optimist and my natural state of mind is happy. So it stands to reason (and to rationalists 😛 ) that I should feel lucky and thus influence my actual life in that direction. That’s fine, I don’t actually have a problem with this kind of self-fulfilling prophecies. And I recognize them when my intentional actions are actually part of whatever is happening in my life. Like choosing a pathway, listening to my intuition, stumbling over the right approach with a person based on many years of experience.

Where I actually talk about luck is where my actions, while intentional in the context I made them, have far-reaching consequences that no amount of intuition would have been able to predict. Like when I took my husband’s car one day and had an accident. My husband’s car escaped unscathed, but the accident would have seriously damaged my car… which said husband was taking to the mechanic, who lifted it and discovered two bald tyres.. I don’t want to know what would have happened had those tyres exploded on the big drive we had planned for the weekend… yes, it had been my suggestion to take my car to the mechanic in preparation for the big drive, but I couldn’t have predicted the accident, now could I?

So I am lucky. I have been lucky all my life. It really doesn’t mean that I win the lottery (small prizes, yes, when I can be bothered to play – rarely. That is chance, not luck as I describe it. It also doesn’t mean that bad things don’t happen to me. They do, and the effects are no more and certainly no less than for anyone to whom bad things happen – that would be everyone. Some of my personality traits (optimism, happiness, also an ability to see the good in situations) make it easier for me to deal with the bad stuff. But I don’t think that has much to do with the fact that I have become accustomed to hearing at least once a week from various people about how lucky I am. I have to pay attention. That is another factor, I notice how lucky I am, I feel it and I therefore act in possibly a more confident way which in turn opens more doors and makes me aware of more opportunities. But I am no more likely than others to get that job I have been looking for. Again, that has nothing to do with the luck I am describing.

Another thing is that feeling that luck comes from outside of my control, actually from outside of me. Like a gift. So I do no subscribe to the “don’t say you’re lucky or your luck will disappear” theory. On the contrary, I often acknowledge my luck. There is maybe a bit of superstitition in there, a reversal of that theory I described above: if I don’t acknowledge my luck it will disappear. I like to think that I am courteous though, so I acknowledge gifts 🙂

Fun analysis remains so if it’s brief. I am not complaining or try to understand my luck – no interest or benefit for me. I am intersted in the limitations (ah, that lotto ticket!) and grateful for the gift. I am also aware that I need to share it with others. Perhaps one gloomy day when things go wrong from the beginning, when you get discouraged and upset at “meaningful coincidences” (Jung’s definition of “luck”) that don’t coincide, I could come and tell you that things are going to get a heck of a lot better… and, knowing me, I will be right!

PS. Little bad things, when they do happen, always come in threes… I could have a bit of fun with that analysis, eh? 🙂

Greed

20160306_173829

For once, this is not from Latin 🙂

But that is not the most interesting thing about this word. This would have to go the the unification by result of two opposites (plus and minus, yin and yang) into a characteristic that ranges from humorous to fatal. I shall attempt to explain.

Stepping into the realm of ethics, most especially applied ethics, you will meet terms like vice, virtue and in religious terms, sin. Greed is one of the sins or vices that has been considered fundamental, major, capital. In other words, really, really bad.

If Aristotelian etichs looks at virtues in the middle and vices (two of them for each virtue!) stemming from taking said virtue to extreme, then greed and miserliness don’t seem to be exact opposites. The opposite of a miser would be a spendthrift, not a greedy person. The opposite of greed would be probably someone who would not reach out for necessities (I understand that eating disorders were at one stage considered a part of a sin).

But when it is considered a sin it also includes miserliness. Which it, in some way, its opposite. Looking at it mathematically, greed is a plus, miserliness is a minus. A greedy person is always seeking addition to his already existent possessions (of anything, really, not just money), while a miser is going to extremes to avoid subtraction of his already existing posessions.

You can also have a person who is both greedy and a miser. The sin of greed unifies them anyway not by intent (which is different), but by result. The result is the unavailability of resources for anyone else. Whether you take them out as miser or grasping more of them as a greedy person, you are not making them available to others who might need them. That lack of generosity, charity and consideration for others is considered a sin, rather than the more neutral wealth.

Religiously speaking, in the end, greed is a sin of the self and, as such, linked with pride. Evolutionary speaking, it is not so clear cut… up to a point. Those who grasped more (food, hunting teritory, females, other resources) had a better chance of survival so at an individual level they would have been stronger and more likely to have strong progeny. But people did not evolve as solitary animals, on the contrary, so at a species level I believe the selfish genes select for co-operation and that leads to sharing of resources. Communities of people around the world, “civilized” or not, have careful, extensive and sometimes enforceable rules around the sharing of resources.

Greed was given as an explanation for people’s disregard for their environment once community took a backstep to industry, once there was a distance between the food you eat and the place where that food originates from, once  individual values were required and the social ones were “nice-to have”, once “team building” had to be taught in workplaces…

And if you read the paragraph above, you also see what can be done about it.

A way back?

Connection

DSCN2159

For reasons fair, a relationship of mine had to…end. I do not like the word, nor is it true, so I thought I will explore the “connection” theme.

But first, a metaphor: running water. More precisely, a fast flowing mountain stream. Magic sources state that running water, especially that going in a certain direction (does that still apply in the Southern hemisphere or is it inverted? Must find out – most of my magic sources are Northern hemisphere born) is a bigger barrier than suspected. So let’s assume that the two persons in the relationship sit on the opposite banks of the river and, for both magical and practical reasons, cannot cross.

Sharing of sorts is possible, of course. They can see each other. They can hear each other (imperfectly, the water is loud). Occasionally they have to shelter from inclement weather.

Every time they share something though, a small thread is thrown across the water. Thin and fragile, insignificant you might say. Over a couple of years, many threads have been thrown over the waters, they have twisted around each other, finding similarities. The connection is now a rope they both hold. And then one of them decides to loosen its grip onto the rope. The decision could have been made to leave. Or unkind words would have tried to sever the connection.

Does it matter? Of course it matters at a personal level, but does it matter at the connection level? Can that brave person who leaves actually let go of the rope? Can that rope be cut?

It seems unlikely to me. The rope (and the connection it signifies) will loose strength over time, it is true, otherwise grief would be absolute and eternal. But that rope is strong enough to survive at the beginning. And so it happens: people you meet on the street have the same first or second name of the other person. You suddenly see so many similar cars, someone may have their coffee the same way, you smell the same perfume, you listen to songs on the radio that have associations, you see something in a shop and you start to buy it before you realize that you don’t have to. Sometimes you end up buying it anyway. Mostly books and music. You turn your head and start talking before you realize that there is an empty space. A life turns on its axis, trying to find a new centre of gravity.

So how is that the end? You may want it to be so, it is occasionally healthier. It will, as I said, fade in time. But if our memory is triggered by emotions, then I could say in all honesty that years from now, threads of that rope will still be crossing that river, waiting for a particular hand to pick them up.

And would that I could cross, and find you…