The gods

By | July 2, 2004

Yesterday, I was playing the Risk computer game with my 4 year old son Ethan. Like the board game you roll dice and the higher dice rolls win. The layout on the computer screen has our dice on the left and the opponents dice on the right. So there is a great deal of luck involved.

Ethan told me, “You know who controls the dice, daddy?”
“Who?” I asked.
“The Gods of Left and Right.” He replied.
“Really?” I queried.
“Yes, and we have to chant to make them happy. And he starts to chant the Chi spell from Jackie Chan Adventures, the cartoon … Yu Mo Gue Gui Fi DI Ziao.”

Lo and behold, we went on a winning streak. Then a bad streak came our way.

Ethan looked like he had an inspiration. “Daddy! I know what we have to do! We have to put our HEART into the dice!”

Quickly scanning my memory, I realized that on Yu-Gi-Oh, Yugi teaches that there is a “heart of the cards” in which it is NOT the luck of the draw but rather a spirit within the cards that helps those who play with a pure heart.

So he was saying we needed to be pure of heart and roll the dice so that we may defeat our enemies and conquer the world. (The risk world, of course)

The lesson learned here: Something in our DNA steers us to avoid statistical thinking and cherish invisible spirits and internal forces that make seemingly random events actually logical and purposeful. Its not luck, its the gods of Left and Right.

One thought on “The gods

  1. Dan Lipka

    I don’t think it is something in our DNA, it is just laziness or simply not understanding or accepting who or what is really responsible for things. Analyzing and using data is not easy and statistics often does not given exact answers (they give probabilities), which can be wrong. So to the untrained eye, the seemingly random events are just that, random. And it is really a surprise that people turn to spirits to help them, when they think there is nothing else.

    When people don’t understand a solution they will create something artificial that explains the unknown. I don’t know how dice work (I’ll ask the gods of left and right), I don’t know why my life is sad (I’ll say that god wants us to suffer), What happens when people die? (There must be a heaven). Praying on Sundays for peace is just a likely to work at Ethan praying to the dice gods, instead maybe you should get off your ass and do something.

    Reply

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