Last Updated on March 12, 2021

This is one of my favorite things to think about. It leaves me with a feeling of wonder and appreciation by how well the chips have fallen for me.

The random confluence of factors that make up your life

If you stop for a minute to think about the random things that led to where you are right now, it is completely mind boggling!

I like how

In our lives … we can see through the microscope of close scrutiny that many major events would have turned out differently were it not for the random confluence of minor factors, people we’ve met by chance, job opportunities that randomly came our way.

The Drunkard’s Walk

The illusion of fate

We judge people and initiatives by their results, and we expect events to happen for good, understandable reasons. But our clear visions of inevitability are often only illusions.

… we can learn to judge decisions by the spectrum of potential outcomes they might have produced rather than by the particular result that actually occurred.

The Drunkard’s Walk

That’s the thing about human life–there is no control group, no way to ever know how any of us would have turned out if any variables had been changed.

Flowers for Algernon


This is the central illusion in life: that randomness is risky, that it is a bad thing—and that eliminating randomness is done by eliminating randomness.

Antifragile: Things That Gain From Disorder

“Wind extinguishes a candle and energizes fire. Likewise with randomness, uncertainty, chaos: you want to use them, not hide from them. You want to be the fire and wish for the wind.”

Antifragile: Things That Gain From Disorder


The lucky fool

Lucky fools do not bear the slightest suspicion that they may be lucky fools — by definition, they do not know that they belong to such category. They will act as if they deserved the money. Their strings of successes will inject them with so much serotonin…that they will even fool themselves about their ability to outperform markets.

Fooled By Randomness

Mild success can be explainable by skills and labor. Wild success is attributable to variance.

Fooled by Randomess

Casual Determinism

I will write about this properly at some stage.

If an intelligence, at a given instant, knew all the forces that animate nature and the position of each constituent being; if, moreover, this intelligence were sufficiently great to submit these data to analysis, it could embrace in the same formula the movements of the greatest bodies in the universe and those of the smallest atoms: to this intelligence nothing would be uncertain, and the future, as the past, would be present to its eyes.

Pierre-Simon de Laplace

It seems we are agents. It seems we cause what we do. . . . It is sobering and ultimately accurate to call all this an illusion.

Daniel Wegner

Free will is an illusion. Our wills are simply not of our own making. Thoughts and intentions emerge from background causes of which we are unaware and over which we exert no conscious control. We do not have the freedom we think we have.

Free Will


But doesn’t a truly scientific, mechanistic view of the nervous system make nonsense of the very idea of responsibility, whether diminished or not? Any crime, however heinous, is in principle to be blamed on antecedent conditions acting through the accused’s physiology, heredity and environment. Don’t judicial hearings to decide questions of blame or diminished responsibility make as little sense for a faulty man as for a Fawlty car?

Richard Dawkins

You might feel want to read about Luck, or The Fundamental Attribution Error next.