Logical Gal & the ‘stuff’ of luck and chance

28 Apr


In French, to wish someone good luck, one says, “Bonne chance!”

But what ARE luck or chance?  They are actually descriptive words of what we think are uncontrolled, random outcomes. When we view the circumstances as favorable, we call that GOOD LUCK.  Contrariwise, awful events are considered BAD LUCK.

I used to wish student athletes headed off to a baseball or soccer game a cheery “Good luck!”   And they would reply with an enthusiastic ‘thanks’ and head out the door, or down the hall.  But once I became a Logical Gal, I began to think about my words in a more careful manner.  Just what was I hoping would guide the outcome of this player and his or her efforts? What WAS chance /luck, after all?  When students are about to sit for the SAT exam or semester finals, what do we mean by wishing them ‘good luck’?  Is it just a way of SEEMING to care?

Good luck on your exams

As it turns out, they are NO THING!  Chance and luck are just descriptive words.  They have NO ontological being-ness. They are truly nothing at all!  They have no power, no abilities, no force they can exert.  It is easy to see that they have no material properties.  And in a similar manner, they have no immaterial characteristics, either!  On the other hand, my immaterial mind CAN exert an immaterial influence over my fingers to press on the computer keys in a certain way.  Can chance do that?

This idea of luck being what determines outcomes is pervasive in our Western Society.  But don’t think the East is exempt from fantasy thinking!  They play with the idea of Karma. You get what you deserve!  What a horrid and frightening thought!  I deserve a whole hell of a lot of bad stuff.  God forbid He should repay me what I owe!

Question:  If you have already advanced past this superstitious social courtesy from pagan days of yore, what have you found to substitute as a way of send off before a trying event?  I’m using the French exhortation: Bon Courage!

bon courage



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