Pondering Chance ... or what you lose on the swing
Pondering Chance ... or what you lose on the swing - by P.K.Odendaal - April 2015
If you know what the meaning of this heading and even the rest of this article is, then you know much more than I do, which is not very difficult, I have to admit, especially for my readers.
In fact, one of the reasons I write these articles is that I know so little about these subjects I write about, and that prompts me to think and rethink them from all possible angles and viewpoints so that I might come up with some flimsy untested hypothesis based on a new perspective and some logic in which I can believe - much like the great scientists of our day do.
So, I need to find out what is the difference between the Law of Cause and Effect, the Law of Chance and Randomness and the Law of Averages and whether there is any shared basis or whether they are actually mutually exclusive.
I find the intersection or overlapping of these three phenomena the most exciting of God's creation. The way He made them to alternate between the three without us even noticing it. And that is why we often give God the blame for the things the Devil has done or we blame the Devil for the things God has done, whilst in all probability none of them are guilty of any misconduct in these cases, so to speak.
The argument is best explained by pondering the old adage we know so well: 'What you lose on the swing you gain on the roundabout'.
That adage, I think, is a reference to the Law of Averages or of Chance which dictates that there will always be a vacant seat in the merry go round, but at times the swing may be overcrowded and then the roundabout will be vacant. However, when I think about it, it cannot be by either of these, because there is a choice being made by sentient beings and so it must be classified in the domain of the law of Cause and Effect. I mean, who wants to ride on the Roundabout anyway.
So, now I have to ponder the effect of choice on these events. In such a case I must conclude that where there is choice involved, Chance and the law of Averages cannot prevail - or is it?
Now to the arduous task of trying to ascertain whether these three laws can be isolated from each other, in which case we can then say that they are entirely unrelated phenomena and that each can operate within its own domain, void or area of influence.
We start again with the first:
'What you lose on the swing you gain on the roundabout'. Firstly this a not a law of Cause and Effect, not a law of Averages and not a law of Chance, because, strange as it may seem, there is nothing to gain on the roundabout, because everybody wants to ride the swing. So if you lose on the swing it is toughies for you. It is a choice sentient beings make based on their love of swings.
The first aberration of this adage is 'What you lose on the swing, you lose on the roundabout'. This is obviously only governed by the Law of Chance, because losing on two activities simultaneously is unusual and you are a victim of chance. The same deduction can be made for the opposite of this namely: 'What you gain on the swing you gain on the roundabout'. Some people, like myself will say that gaining on the roundabout brings you nowhere, but the event of gaining on both is surely a Chance event.
My way of looking at the other side of the coin will also prompt me to look at the flipside of the swing and roundabout adage by saying: 'What you gain on the swing you lose on the roundabout'. This is obviously not according to the Law of Cause and Effect because the effect of losing on the roundabout is not nearly commensurate with what you gained on the swing.
The most exciting one for me is this aberration: 'What you gain on the swing, you lose on the swing'. This is purely the Law of cause and Effect as the effect is similar in value to the cause and I think this is the most important aspect of this adage. It is like the adage 'Let the punishment fit the crime' (A song from the Mikado by Gilbert and Sullivan).
The last paragraph is so full of meaning and so pervasive in our everyday life. We may apply it to good and evil because the concept of suffering the same quantity as you advantaged yourself is as old as man himself and is demonstrated in the biblical terms of an eye for an eye. If it was two eyes for an eye, evil would not have compounded on earth and if it was one eye for two eyes, evil would have snowballed. So we see that the cause and the effect must be finely balanced.
The same type of argument is valid for doing the Good. If people got rewarded much more than they invested in the Good, then the Good would reign on earth and vice versa and the interesting effect of both of these cases, if unbalanced, is that it would impede our free will - a thing, I am sure, God does not intend to allow.
I conclude with two remarks.
The first is that the universe, life and events on this planet are finely balanced - more so than meets the eye.
The second is my superficial view that the three laws which I have enumerated operate in different domains, but an unbalance in one quickly gives way for one or both of the others to fill the space which developed in this finely tuned fabric of life.