Monday, June 18, 2012


Luck. What is Luck? Don't bother with definitions and interpretation, because you'll just wind up with a knotty paradox. Consider the ratio of extant to extinct species; that being what it is, luck is definitely a big factor. The anthropic principle aside, how about just existing, period? As Heidegger said, "Why is there something and not nothing?" Nothingness is maximum entropy, it's the default end-state homeostasis of everything. Or is it? 

A wise man once said to me that even entropy is not a fixed law (2nd law of thermodynamics), and made me reflect deeply on the subject. My understanding is that Life Force, Consciousness, the conscious cosmos, and the great goddess Lady Luck … all are facets of the same one diamond. Everything works, lives toward negentropic ascent, toward emergent order. Luck is alive and conscious, and interwoven with the fabric of being-as-such, with our (i.e., everything that exists) own consciousness, body, and fields of resonance; Luck is teleologically driven. 

That's why when I stop to smell the roses, I don't collapse that wave-function for too long, because it's a teleological wave, a wave which everything aspires to ride. 

Indeed I've been a student of luck ever since my pro-poker days, and it's not an easy thing to pin down. The poker table (or the gambling casino itself) is a simulated microcosm of world economy, and the idea of "survival" in general. It's not all luck like playing the lottery, there's a lot of skill involved in using luck (good, bad, or neutral) to your advantage, to money-manage, to cut your losses and maximize your wins. Nothing in fact sits comfortably under the smooth Gaussian curve; it's just a superficial farce. Luck might seem to be discretely quantized, and consciousness then would be its collapsing agent; but the process is rife with paradox, which is partly accounted for by the nature of quantum Uncertainty. Emergent order from chaos and attractors detected in Noise don't necessary amount to luck, either. It's a mixed thing, it's a paradox. An example: 

In the 80's in Vegas, I had gotten into town to hear what they had been talking about for the past couple days. Someone had hit the million-dollar slot jackpot at Caesar's. Lucky? Very lucky indeed, but not necessarily. It was all on camera: early in the morning, a father and his son were going up and down the slot aisles, haphazardly depositing coins and pulling levers. And you guessed it, it was the boy that hit the jackpot. He was underage and they couldn't legally pay him out. So in a way, it was a case of hideous bad luck. The problem with luck is that it is paradoxical, and that it is both deterministic-Chaotic and random-quantum-mechanical. It is what you make of it and what happens to you, both superposed in a perfect buzz of pure potentiality and actuality. What's bad luck could turn out to be something good after all, and so forth so on. It's a matter of definition and perspective, it's paradoxical.

So when I speak of 'Luck' here, I only want to speak of it with the connotation of good fortune, auspiciousness, and nothing more, however you might want to define those things. Even in terms of sheer logic and semantics, Luck couldn't be quantized into discrete, observable packets, because if that were the case, it wouldn't be "luck" per se; taking quantum Uncertainty into account is only part of the picture.  Luck, as with all high principles of the universe, is paradoxical by nature. Good, fortuitous, beneficial luck is something we must practice to tap into with awareness, with resonance; we practice to create a feedback loop with it, a field of sublimating Habit (the idea of being habitually lucky is a paradox). Just as to how that works is beyond the scope of this article, but Luck has its own morphic field, and consciousness does play a role, of course. 

Luck is a teacher who teaches the intricacies of teleology and its flux, to practice seeing the larger scope beyond the temporal, temporary nodes of the present.

There's the story of the elderly Tibetan father and mother who tilled the soil for a living, who relied on their young son to do the muscle work. They were devotees of the bodhisattva of compassion, and gave thanks daily for their blesssings. One day, the son broke his leg and was out of commission. Bad luck. The elderly couple rued the day, and were pissed at their deity. Not long after, the Red Army youth brigade stormed through the area to induct able young men, and passed the son over because he was of no use to them. It was then that the couple understood, and were grateful for the wonders of the universe, since had the son not been injured, they would have never seen him again.

Finally, a little anecdotal aside. I was playing medium-limit $15-$30 Holdem in a live ring-game, and there was a player who had dropped about four racks in a couple of hours. That's about $2,000 dollars. He was a nasty, snarky character, and when his last pot was lost, he stood up to leave the table and said, "Well … I've just got two words to say to all of you." A player looked up at him right away and said, "Good luck?" The guy replied, "One of the words rhymes with luck," and left the table.