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Memories of the 28th Century


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There are people who say that people make their own luck, but I have found that to be false. People may methodically work their ways into the catbird seat, but luck is different. For some reason that was not apparent to me, this came to me as the next thing that I should blog about. Maybe because my luck is not as good as I would like.

Whether one looks at the dictionary definition or the concept of luck that people use, it is a rather amorphous concept. The Wikipedia article (link below) is interesting, and it touches some of what I wanted to comment on. And, even more interestingly, I am also listening to music on YouTube, and I typed in ďLaura AllanĒ, and for the first time I saw her first album listed; thatís good luck.

As far as I can tell, luck, in the general sense, is that set of events the causes of which we cannot determine. For example, I never put any effort into getting Laura Allanís music onto YouTube; I donít have any records or CDís of her, so I couldnít post them, so from my point of view listening to ďLaura AllanĒ complete is pure luck, There are people who have been fans of her since 1970, and I would expect that some of them have all her records and CDís, so it was fairly easy for someone to play a CD on his, or her, computer and upload that. Actually, I think it was on vinyl, so it would require more work. For whoever posted that album, it wasnít luck; it was just taking a little time to play with the software.

To me that was a result without a cause, but for another person it was a result with a clear cause, and possibly a clear chain of causes that led to it. The lack of an apparent cause is what makes, luck, chance, randomness, and so on what they are. The lack of an apparent cause may be true for some people but not for others.

(As luck would have it, someone disturbed me while I was trying to write this, and I immediately forgot where I was taking this. But better luck will prevail, and I will remember.)

It comes down to there being many things that may appear to be random or even uncaused, that have causes that just canít readily be seen, because the necessary details are quite small. Examples include most games of chance. If one has enough information about the game, then it ceases to be a game of chance.

Another example is SchrŲdingerís Cat. That experiment assumes that the observer cannot see or examine the nuclei of the relevant atoms in adequate detail that one could determine when it was going to emit radiation.

Logic and science clearly show that the multiverse as a whole is determined; although it is possible for events without clear, local causes to happen, but such events are quite rare. Purely random events are so rare as to be almost non-existent, but there are many things that appear to be random, because we canít see the cause. After carefully considering the matter, it is things of this sort that make up luck, both good and bad.

It is my opinion that there are no random events, just causes that are unseen, and luck is in the same category. There are events in the lives of individuals that are purely random luck, as far as that individual is concerned, but that have causes that can be tracked down. An example of this is the way that Microsoft went from being a tiny software company to the largest seller of operating system in the world. Late in 1980 IBM approached Microsoft asking about Microsoft selling IBM an operating system. Microsoft agreed, even though they did not have an operating system to sell. Little did they know, but IDM had first approached Digital Research, the producer of CP/M, but the head of DR was in Europe trying to sell to a German company. Anyway, Paul Allen contracted with Tim Paterson of Seattle Computer Works to write the OS, and Microsoft started on the road to extreme wealth. The matter of DR became common knowledge later, but at the time it was extremely good luck. It was a result without a visible cause, especially since Microsoft was known not to be selling an operating system at the time. This is one of the best examples of luck that I can think of, and it seems to have done something to Bill Gates mind to run into such a good piece of luck; it certainly did a lot for his bank accounts.

Most of us donít run into pieces of luck like that, but it isnít all the unusual for someone to reach for the phone to call someone when the phone starts to ring as that person who was to be called dialed first. If we look carefully at such events, we can figure out the chain of cause and effect, if we have enough information, but the situation is similar to the radioactive atoms and the cat; we donít have enough detailed information to make a determination.

In fact, we seldom have enough detail to be able to determine the chain of cause and effect, but a time machine would be a wonderful tool in finding the cause of something. I will have to reread ďThe Sirens of TitanĒ, because that is all about an odd chain of cause and effect that the character could not see as it happened. But any results of a causal chain that we canít see appears to be pure luck, either good or bad.

There is another matter that may be involved, but I wonít expand on it now, and that is communication among the Many Worlds. Theory says that it canít happen, but it would explain some things.

I still think I had something else to write that that person drove out of my thoughts.

As luck would have it, the story of Tim Paterson writing an operating system for Microsoft to sell to IBM has become somewhat jumbled, so I had to search around for an accurate versions. I hope that I selected a good one.


  1. PeterL's Avatar
    As luck would have it, this post is relativtly popular.