Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Chance vs. Luck

Chance exists. Luck does not.

What's the difference?

Chance is merely unpredictability. Things happening for little or no reason. Bad things happening to good people. Winning the lottery, or getting cancer.

Luck is chance that takes sides. Chance that can be swayed by a charm, or a ritual or that's just attracted to some people over others.

It's more complicated in that people can get lucky, but they can't be lucky. Getting lucky just means that, by chance, something fortunate happened to you. You pulled the lever and got the jackpot. But being lucky would mean that you would actually be more likely to get the jackpot than other people who are not lucky.


  1. Hmmmm.....

    How about this one? This scenario is not an example of agreeing or disagreeing with your post, just something to chew on.

    I consider myself very LUCKY to have been born into the circumstances I was born into. I realize that my success in life, while it lies somewhat with my own virtue, was primarily set by the simple fact that I was born to married, educated parents with a decent income who read a lot (and read to us a lot). Those few simple facts together would have allowed you to predict with pretty high accuracy the general range of how successful I would be in life (particularly regarding academic, professional, and financial success).

    So I really do consider that luck. After all, I had no say in the situation I was born into. But it really wasn't by chance either, as it wasn't by chance that our parents conceived me, and it wasn't by chance that my DNA is a combination of theirs.

    So is that luck without chance?

    BTW, I suck at philosophy, if you can't tell. You can teach me.

  2. Well, this gets into a deeper discussion of what chance is. Here's a much better philosopher and writer's take on it.

    What we consider chance largely depends on what we know. So chance depends on your perspective. To a successful, well-educated couple, it wouldn't be surprising for their child to be successful. But to a child, it could be surprising that their parents are successful and well-educated.