Statistically Probable Thought #1

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Statistically Probable Thoughts is a new feature I’m going to start including. It’s tempting to call it Random Thoughts, but the more I think about the word ‘random’ the less appealing it becomes. The word random is often misused, especially in the blogging world. True randomness is often seen in natural situations, like molecular collisions or raindrops falling from the sky. However, any thought from a human being is unlikely to be truly random, due to the nature of thought itself. Babies might have random thoughts, but the older we get, the more our seemingly spontaneous thoughts are actually the cumulative result of previous mental experiences that were bound to happen. Thus, it would be more accurate to describe them as Statistically Probable Thoughts.

Statistically Probable Thoughts is a new feature I’m going to start including. It’s tempting to call it Random Thoughts, but the more I think about the word ‘random’ the less appealing it becomes. The word random is often misused, especially in the blogging world. True randomness is often seen in natural situations, like molecular collisions or raindrops falling from the sky. However, any thought from a human being is unlikely to be truly random, due to the nature of thought itself. Babies might have random thoughts, but the older we get, the more our seemingly spontaneous thoughts are actually the cumulative result of previous mental experiences that were bound to happen. Thus, it would be more accurate to describe them as Statistically Probable Thoughts.
This feature is an outlet for thoughts that I come across from time to time. I sometimes have some quite interesting, but utterly useless thoughts in the shower, and occasionally on the bus. If I don’t write them down, I’m likely to forget them. For example, I’m well aware that I’ve had such thoughts before, but can’t remember any right now.
Except for this one that I had today when talking to my friend Kumar Sharma, a Nepali student at Sejong University. During a conversation about life he said “Everything happens for a reason”.
This is a perfectly well-meaning and nice statement, but my habitual overanalysis clung to it like a periwinkle on a rock. Stating that everything happens for a reason is hard to scientifically disprove, with the exception of perhaps, the Big Bang. However this quote implies that everything happens for a singular reason, which we may like to think of as being a good one.
This is nice, but can be improved to be more scientifically sound (at the expense of aesthetic value). It’s easy to assign a reason to everything that happens, especially in retrospect. For example we can say that an orange suddenly fell off the tree because it had matured to the stage at which oranges are statistically likely to fall off. We could also say that it fell off to remind us of the value of fruit in our lives. But the more you think about it, the more reasons you can come up with. You could say that it fell off to impart momentum through collision with the fourth nearest water molecule in the air at the time. In fact, we can imagine an infinite number of reasons why the orange fell off the tree.

Therefore the quote “Everything happens for a reason” is a gross understatement. A more scientifically sound quote would be “Everything happens for reasons.”



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