I have this pet theory. It is feasible, if not likely. It’s that the universe is just a very high fidelity simulation. If that is, in fact, the case, as several credible philosophers have asserted, it would be easy to explain luck. Whoever writes the code for the simulation determines how luck works. It might be totally random, or it might be that the programmer picks out individuals that he or she wants to be lucky and stacks the deck in their favor.
I sometimes feel like I am one of those people that have been chosen by the programmer, or God, or whatever other mechanism it is that is behind luck. I have had so many great opportunities. Things have come fairly easily to me. I was always good at taking tests so I didn’t have to study hard in school to make good grades. Whenever I needed a job, there was an interesting one waiting for me, and it involved doing things that I wanted to do anyway. I didn’t have to pound the pavement job hunting. I had friends that knew about jobs that were available.
But after a lifetime of things being relatively easy, I have discovered something that I want to do that I have to struggle to accomplish. And what is more important, I find that it means more to me when I do manage to pull it off than all the other things that came so easily.
I’m talking of course about writing. And even though it is one of the hardest things that I’ve ever done, when I stop and think about it, it is so much easier to write now than it ever has been before. There are computers that make typesetting so easy that even a caveman can do it. No wait, that’s another essay entirely.
We have spelling checkers and grammar checkers. You still are on your own when it comes to picking which homonym is appropriate to say what you mean to say but even in that case we have dictionary.com, thesaurus.com, and a bunch of other sites available to us via that great information appliance that we call the internet.
The one thing that is still hard is deciding what to write about. I have learned that it is important that I write about something that I find interesting. That doesn’t make it much easier. I am interested in so many different things.
I struggle with distractions. The TV is the biggest distraction, followed closely by the internet. I take the latter to include email, instant messaging, and the greatest time suck of all, the world wide web. The days of struggling all afternoon trying to remember the name of the actor that played that character that you loved so much in that obscure moving that only you seem to remember are over. These days we have IMDB to settle arguments about who played what in which film or tv show. And what research librarian can compete with the instant gratification of Google?
And I haven’t even mentioned cell phones or self driving cars yet. When I am honest, all I really have to do to think of something interesting to write about is to relax and think about how lucky I am to live in such a miraculous time in history. Or maybe it’s just the imagination of that programmer that makes all of the luck.
Sweet dreams, don’t forget to tell the ones you love that you love them, and most important of all, be kind.