Home > Ideas, Techie > Life is a Chain of Accidents

Life is a Chain of Accidents

That’s the whole point isn’t it? If I had sat just a few cm to the right; or had been lying on the seat (as opposed to sitting upright) I’d have missed it all. I’d have missed the most critical bits of the whole event. The bits that made it real for me.

Isn’t the whole of existence defined in such terms? How many times did you get a break because you were accidentally at the right spot at the right moment? Not because you planned the events leading up to that moment. How many people met their life partner in the most unexpected of circumstances? Isn’t it all just a series of accidents that happen in such numbers as to create a bigger picture of order?

Think of conception itself. None of us determines exactly what sperm hooks up with the egg. Nor at what moment. Neither do we know the genetic makeup of the sperm. Sure we know the source and therefore the likely genetic info, but the actual specifics vary with each individual sperm. Our lives from conception to death are also pretty much shaped and defined in the same manner. A series of moments that accumulate over time. Moments that are impossible to plan. Moments which if they were to happen out of turn may result in completely different fortunes and perhaps a completely different individual.

Then why are we so preoccupied with order and predictability? Why do we want to know what next month’s earnings are going to be? Why are we so caught up in routine and monotony? Aren’t we fighting the very forces that define our existence? We exist out of randomness more than any amount of planning. Shouldn’t we then live by the same randomness?

Shouldn’t we welcome unpredictability? Aren’t we somehow at a disadvantage when we remove chance from the equation? I think we should embrace unpredictability in computers. Computers of the future are not going to be characterised by rigid and mechanical algorithms, but rather flexible and dynamic states of being. This way, they shall have a chance at true intelligence since intelligence is not the absence of unknowns, but the occurrence of unknowns in a favorable order at a favorable time.

This interaction of randomness is observed at a macro scale among of individuals of the most complex multi-cellular beings – the humans – and also observed at a micro scale between cells of the body and also among micro-organisms.

Even better, there is a lot of random interaction between inorganic elements of our world that shape the very world we live in. I think the way forward is to figure out how to harness unpredictability. It’s a really tough goal given that if you are after a certain outcome then the process through which you get the outcome can hardly be described as random – especially when that outcome must happen within a given timeframe. As crazy as it sounds, creating systems out of randomness and pseudo-unpredictability may be the way to step into the next technological plane.

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Categories: Ideas, Techie
  1. February 22, 2010 at 10:24

    Very nice! I think our need to control events, or rather to put order when it is necessary, even if we know deep down that more or less working against the grain is what makes us human. Fear is another reason. And yes, I agree with you that if we let things be, go with the flow, then struggles become less and we might just perhaps start enjoying the journey of living. Keep it coming… 🙂

    • kalengi
      February 22, 2010 at 13:35

      @carolkmail – welcome to my neck of the bwoods 🙂 Yes, we tend to grow up believing that the only way to live is by controlling life. Yet the best things that happen to us are those that we had no control over. Thanks much!

  2. February 23, 2010 at 23:33

    Nice going!I feel you on being too orderly. Sometimes the best inventions come from chaos and disorder.

    • kalengi
      February 24, 2010 at 02:58

      @dorcas – nice to see you this way! Absolutely true. And accepting the disorder is also acknowledging there’s plenty of possible outcomes you don’t know about.

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