There are two primary types of forces that shape our experience. One is Cause and Effect and the other is Luck. The interplay between these two types of forces is both intimate and complex and they are often mistaken for one another. We will first examine each type of force in its relatively pure form in order to understand it better.
Cause and effect is subject to the Laws of Nature and the elucidation of these forces is the goal of Science. Scientific experiments show that if certain materials are used according to certain methods particular results will reliably follow. This is the format used by scientists from grade school on to either prove or disprove an hypothesis. The purpose is to define a way to reliably predict the future. For example, if you mix potassium nitrate, sulfur and powdered charcoal in a certain way you will get gunpowder and not a chocolate cake. In daily life we use cause and effect to influence our own futures constantly. We make gunpowder or chocolate cakes as our needs and purposes dictate.
Luck is also known as randomness, fortune, fate or chance. We believe in Luck as the fundamental expression of unpredictability or uncertainty. Some doctrines hold that there is no such thing as Luck – it is just Cause and Effect whose laws or operations we do not understand. In reality, it does not matter if Luck is actually cause and effect that we do not understand or true randomness. Since Luck is beyond our knowing that distinction is also unknowable.
Luck is not identical to probability, although the two are related. Probability is a mathematical expression of chance and it varies greatly with regard to precision depending on a variety of factors. A precise example is dice – a large number of rolls will result in a mathematical distribution that favors rolling 7 much more often than rolling 2 or 12. This known distribution is used to make odds for betting games such as craps that will provide a guaranteed return to the casino owners. Casinos do not stay in business because they are lucky. An individual gambler can get lucky at craps only in the short run. A neighborhood poker game is much less precise mathematically speaking. Bluffing, cheating and a host of other factors can come into play. In general, the less precise the mathematical model, the more Luck becomes a factor in the outcomes.
The interaction of forces is very complex in our daily lives. We attempt to apply cause and effect on the metaphysical level. For this process we use our past experiences in a manner analogous to scientific experiments. For example, we have observed on many occasions that the boss likes us to be early for work because when we come late she is mad and when we come early she is happy. So we show up early today because it’s close to the time for annual reviews and raises and we want a happy boss. But, perhaps the boss just got a bad review from her superior. She is in such a bad mood that our punctuality is not even noticed, let alone appreciated. Luck, in this case bad luck, has complicated the situation. Application of cause and effect on the metaphysical level is important and something we should strive to accomplish because it is often effective. However, we need to remember that there is much more interaction with Luck in complex, uncontrolled environments.
In daily life, the interaction is so complex it is often difficult to accurately distinguish between cause and effect and Luck. Many celebrities, (actors, musicians, authors, etc.), believe they rose to the top of their field because of their uncommonly huge talent when in fact it was actually Luck in its purest form combined with average ability and perhaps hard work. The
Luck can be classified in two dimensions: type and size. The type of Luck refers to Good Luck or bad luck. If you have not already done so, please read the Chinese Parable on the home page. The truth contained in this story is that you can never know with certainty if any particular instance of Luck is good or bad with regard to the future. But why does the inscrutable Chungleng smile at the end of the story? It is because he is happy to have his son stay with him. The gage by which we classify Luck is how it makes us feel now. Good Luck makes us happy and bad luck makes us unhappy.
Luck can also be classified according to size: small, medium and big, although this is actually a continuum and not clear-cut divisions. Small Luck has minimal impact and it is encountered almost constantly. It makes a very minor and fleeting impact on our happiness. Examples of small luck are finding a good parking spot, encountering a sale on your favorite brand of beer, finding a dollar, etc. Very frequently, small luck has no impact on our happiness, especially when randomness conspires to exactly meet our expectations. An example would be having everyone arrive on time for a wedding. For that to happen, no one in the wedding party encountered unexpected traffic delays, alarm clocks set back because of power failure, or a host of other random factors that could have delayed them.
Big Luck has huge impact and is encountered relatively rarely. The biggest luck has a complete life-altering effect and once-in-a-lifetime frequency - it is also our final bit of luck. Big luck has maximal and lasting impact on our happiness. A common example is obtained by asking a happily married person how he or she met their spouse. They will usually tell a story of a random meeting with another person that led them to share many happy years together. Big luck can also be very bad, and in some cases even worse than the best Big Good Luck. Rather than mention specific examples of big bad luck here (as we are superstitious), we recommend you contact a reputable insurance agent who would be happy to explain some to you. In fact, we highly recommend buying reasonable insurance against big bad luck as your circumstances allow.
Medium Luck is obviously in between Big Luck and Little Luck. It has an easily noticed impact on your happiness level and is encountered fairly often. The impact can last for days or weeks, sometimes years. This can include events such as a new neighbor moving in next door – they may become close friends or annoying enemies. On the bigger end you might run into an old friend and reestablish your relationship. On the smaller end you might find a long-lost keepsake such as a class ring.
Attitude is a potential influencer, or even determinant, of Luck. Studies have reportedly shown that the life circumstances of people who consider themselves lucky are not significantly different from the lives of those who consider themselves unlucky. The notion that similar random events can produce different amounts of happiness suggests that attitude may play an important role.
Openness is another potential influencer. Being open to possibilities and seeing potential windfalls is another way to attract Good Luck. We are constantly taking risks anyway, so remaining alert to, and taking advantage of, risks with relatively small downsides and big upsides are a way to increase Good Luck.
Finally, there are time-honored techniques that have been used to influence Luck. The mechanism by which these techniques operate is not known. Perhaps they serve to alter attitude or openness. Maybe they work in small ways on cause and effect to alter results in a larger way. Since the effectiveness of these techniques can be neither proved nor disproved theories are rather useless and practice is the key to results.
These techniques include use of Lucky symbols on charms and objects. The classic symbols seen in the west include the four-leaf clover, wishbone, horseshoe and key. These symbols are often pictured on coins or tokens meant to be carried in the pocket or worn around the neck on a cord or chain.
Magical practices are also used to influence luck. The
Please note that influencers of luck are intended to be supplemental or incremental. If you are facing a situation of big bad luck you may be best served by contacting a doctor, lawyer or police before trying to tinker with your luck.