What is Luck, Really?

Photo Courtesy of NewtonianNocturn of Deviantart.

While luck is a double faced coin in one sense, it is a one-faced coin in another. There’s good luck, bad luck, high luck, low luck, the list could go on. Like a similar word, fortune, a noun that one might associate with oriental sweets or crystal balls, there is both good luck and bad luck. Good luck typically implies the achievement of good fortune in an instant, whilst bad luck implies poor fortune in an instant. But what is it that makes luck, lucky? After all, luck in itself means almost nothing without a modifier, positive or negative. Why is it that lucky implies positive connotation whilst luck is simply a noun. In the proper sense of the word, lucky would just be one prone to events of fortune, be them bad or good.

In order to find the true meaning of luck, one might start at a dictionary definition. According to the Oxford English Dictionary, luck is “success or failure apparently brought by chance rather than through one’s own actions”. While this looks like a good definition, what does it actually mean? To start, the word chance is a synonym probability, and seeing as probability is defined by math, chance is hardly an ideal choice for a word that is meant to be almost exempt from math, even though ultimately most acts of good luck are the result of factors the human mind is seemingly incapable of processing.

Does this mean luck doesn’t actually exist, then, if this seemingly random function is based clearly in mathematics, a function? It very well could. However, when fortune is factored into the equation, fortune is predetermined, which might mean then that the functions that guide our life are predetermined after all, and we lack the ability to prevent anything, as math has guided our actions the entire time, and we have no say in the matter?

Ultimately, though, it might just come down to a battle of fate versus chance, string theory versus Schrodinger’s cat. Perhaps the world will never know what factors guide our life, but for now, for it is a word and therefore must have a meaning, even if it is as abstract as the meaning of life.

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1 Comment

  1. No fair…you do not get to introduce, “a battle of fate versus chance, string theory versus Schrodinger’s cat” and then leave those topics unchallenged.
    The purpose of the blog is to inform…so explain how these connect to luck.
    some new information attempts to synthesize information and form new meaning;
    written in a somewhat interesting style and voice; words chosen mostly reflect author’s personality and brings content to life for the most part; sentence fluency is mostly achieved
    some formatting makes the post easier to read
    multimedia adds new information or perspective to post; categorized


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