Look what I found tonite! I was purging some files, and almost threw this in Recycle, but then I decided to retrieve it.
A blog I wrote in February of ’07 on Multiply is loosely associated with this Y2K madness:
Is there such a thing as random?
Some computer games … like chess, for instance … seem to choose the computer’s plays at random. However: the computer had to be programed to choose the plays at random. Which means that there are “rules” for random.
I betcha there’s rules for random in the universe, as well. Rules that cover every seemingly random occurrence, like weather for example. But I’m not writing this because of a concern for weather. What I’m thinking about … what I want to write about … is knowledge versus superstition.
Probability can be computed mathematically, I know. Problem is, we aren’t aware of all the variables in the universe.
Nevertheless, we humans, collectively, do know a lot. We can’t predict or control every “random” occurrence. But, for crying out loud, we can acquaint ourselves with the cause and effect of things!
Do you remember Y2K? Back in 1999, my immediate supervisor where I worked was very into the idea that all hell was gonna break loose at midnight December 31st, 1999 — just because of the date change to a new millennium. He was, in my opinion, a very superstitious man; but in his own opinion he considered himself to be expecting chaotic events because of his religion. He’d been listening to the preaching of some guy who had a foolish notion, and this guy preached it quite charismatically and articulately.
Because he believed this fellow’s foolish notion, my boss borrowed lots of money from his 401-k and prepared his home for a siege. No kidding. And since my boss supervised quite a few fellows younger than himself, he convinced some of them to do the same. So they all spent their borrowed 401-k money; which, by the way, you have to pay back or the IRS imposes tax penalties. I guess they believed there’d be no more IRS after 1/1/2000. Sigh.
Since I’ve been blogging on MySpace, I’ve come across some other fool notions. There seem to be quite a number of people who think the cause-and-effect of everything is either random, or controlled by other-worldly forces that operate by rules that cannot be understood by human beings … that there are “gods” that must be appeased, so to speak.
I do believe that there is one God who created all of everything that we can sense or explore. But for crying out loud, people — look around you! There are rules for how things work!
One of my “friends” on MySpace re-posted a superstitious “bulletin” the other day. It was like the superstitious threatening chain letters kids used to circulate when I was in Junior High. If you break the chain, all sorts of curses are supposed to befall you. My “friend” was afraid of what might happen if she didn’t re-post this threatening bulletin she had received from one of her own “friends.”
Another MySpace “friend” of mine is deeply involved with astrology.
Out in the real world (where I know people face-to-face) I’ve known lots of intelligent people who have the strangest notions that they think they get from their religion.
When I was a good deal younger, I was pretty superstitious in my own faith. But I’ve learned a thing or three along the way. The reason I’ve decided to blog is this, and only this: I’m hoping I can find the words to help a few folks figure things out … then they can help a few folks … then they can help a few folks …
I used to think that good and bad and everything about the future was set in stone long ago. I don’t think so anymore. I have seen that some generations made life better for all — but also some generations made matters worse. I figure there’s no reason this generation can’t be better than it’s been. Irregardless of how and when the universe will or will not end. We could be a good generation. We could.
And I think it would be cool, if y’all never even really knew my name, but I gave you a little spark and then you gave a spark to someone, and on, and on; and a hundred years hence people looked back on this generation as being “the good old days.”
There is such a thing as GOOD, you know. And good is just as possible as evil. In fact, I tend to believe that the random odds are in its favor.