Fortune’s Dice

There are certain phrases which I find supremely abhorrent. They abound in abominable quantities in the vocabulary of not a few. I do not doubt that their origin is from cynicism, senility or just plain disregard for even a pretense to common sense. What I find perpetually perplexing though, is the fact that there still exist die-hard proponents of these fallacies who stubbornly cling to the vestiges of centuries-old foolishness. While I believe that everyone has a right to their opinions, I also believe blind acceptance of “facts” based on little else but the basis of their age isn’t exactly a stellar use of our deductive capabilities.

Some such statements are “We’ll cross that bridge when we get there”, “Opportunity comes but once”, “The devil you know is better than the angel you don’t know”, and, of course, the infamous “What will be, will be”.

A strong perception is that Fortune is sitting somewhere up above and rolling dice to determine events down here on earth. If Fortune’s dice turns up straight sixes, you end up stinkingly rich and marry a perfect partner, get a perfect job, perfect house, perfect children, perfect death. But if Fortune’s dice turns up zeroes, you end up a really sad unlucky person in life with misfortune dogging your every step. You marry a witch, who mothers devils for children, frustration is your bestman, you can’t keep a job, failure seems to live next door- all because fortune rolled against you.

The way I see it, on the broad spectrum of life-is-a-lucky-dip, the two extremes are fundamentally faulty. One extreme states that “You have no control over your life. Your life is a living, rolling roulette wheel, spinning and stopping, spinning and stopping. Luck is god, god is luck. Life is a lottery. Life is survival of the luckiest. When your number is up, it is up. You have a choice but it is less than less… so really, you don’t have a choice.”

The other extreme says, “You have no control over your life. Your life, existence and reality are out of your hands. You are living out a script forced on you and a predetermined life. Whatever you do, you were destined to do and is not your genius or your fault. Freewill is an illusion. You don’t have a choice.”

In both cases, irresponsibility is the father of the day.

You are rich because you have ‘goodluck’ or because fate decide it so.

Kate is a prostitute because she’s unlucky and fate hates Kate.

Williams is a thief because he picked a bad draw from the game called Life Lottery and he was destined to be a thief.

In all cases, responsibility is assigned to an unseen power, someone or something who can be the fall guy and take the blame. How else can you explain the fact that someone who was nearly caught pants down in an indiscriminate, sinful act begins his narration with “god saved me…!”

I beg your pardon! Which God?

I question the basis for these claims. I question the sense in these claims. And I question the sanity of its apostles. This approach to life is tragically laughable.

In a casino or lottery, the only people dumb enough to believe in luck are the players who expect to get a million Naira richer with just a few hundred Naira ticket. No one goes to all the trouble of building a casino or starting a lottery and then crosses their fingers hoping for luck that too many people don’t win and cart away their money. Of course, people win now and then. But the truth is that, for everyone who won, there were a million others who cursed their luck. As a matter of fact, it is the never the casino or lottery owners who pays the winner. No way! What do is that they help gather the hopes, aspirations and, of course, the monies of millions of people and give a fraction to the winner and keep the rest. So it was one million people’s money who made the ‘winner’ a millionaire and the casino/lottery owners megamillionaires.

And yet they still play, hoping that one day their luck will shine.

And this is the way many approach life. Never working, always wishing.

I have still to hear of a Dangote or a Slim Helu or a Gates or a Buffet playing lottery and hoping that, by some stroke of luck, they would suddenly be twice as rich as they are. Even animals, which we are supposedly higher than, don’t believe in stupid luck. The lion doesn’t sit and wait for a deer to come and offer itself as a willing sacrificial feast. The bird doesn’t sit in its cage and hope that fat, juicy worms would suddenly begin to rain down into its cage by act of providence.

You are a sum total of your choices. Of course, chance plays an integral part in life but how you react to them- how you CHOOSE to react to them is a major determinant of your eventual destination. Afterall, O-P-P-O-R-T-U-N-I-T-Y is another spelling for chance. Yet, some people, because they fail to live deliberately, have lost and thrown away so many opportunities, you begin to wonder…

But in life, Nothing just happens.

Life obeys the principle of cause and effect. Actions and consequences. It isn’t luck. It isn’t chance. It isn’t serendipity. It is responsibility.

Have you heard anyone lamenting, “I don’t know what I did to deserve all these”? You would do well to answer the person that life doesn’t give what you deserve but what you bargain.

In that place of men who seize responsibility for desired outcomes… I hope to see you.

AKPOVETA, Valentine ‘t

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