Do not despair!
Have you ever been through one of those days where at the end of it, you wished you hadn't gotten out of bed that morning, because so many bad things happened to you throughout the day? I'm sure we all have had those before. So far, I've been having bad days everyday this week!
On Monday, I dropped my iPod and damaged the screen. Everything else is working fine, but now, half the screen is gone. Then in the evening, some unscrupulous thieves stole some parts off my car. I discovered it Tuesday morning. I didn't think those parts are worth much money but they had to take it anyway. In the evening, I noticed one of the fog lamps on my car is missing too. I'm not sure if someone took them or they fell off. Then during soccer, I busted my left big toe and hurt my right foot. My toe was bleeding under the toenail, and it'll fall off soon while I'd have to quit soccer for a while for my foot to heal. All this while, work was piling up at the office, all mundane and uninteresting work. Meanwhile, the local stock market has been heading south and I'm seeing my portfolio shrink.
Ok, perhaps I'm allowing my emotions to get the better of me, but that is only human. We are not robots; we can't live on cold logic alone. In such a situation, one can't help but feel that everything just isn't going right. You just don't know what bad thing will hit you next. The irrational part of me fills me with dread but the rational part of me knows that this is just the gambler's fallacy, which is the incorrect belief that certain, independent events are more likely to occur because it has happened recently.
In a way, it does explain why in such situations, so many people turn to religion. When people get hit by a run of bad luck, they feel helpless and really need to believe that somewhere out there, there is a god or a deity who is in control. If you worship the deity or pray to it or give offerings, the deity might end your run of bad luck. It explains why some people are all superstitious - they wear charms and amulets to ward of the bad luck. If we apply Pascal's reasoning:
1. You pray/give offering/wear amulet to improve your luck
- If God exists, He hears you: your luck improves.
- If God doesn't exist, your loss is nothing.
- If God exists, you've pissed Him off for not being penitent: your luck remains the same or worsens.
- If God doesn't exist, you lose nothing and might not gain anything.
To be honest, I don't have the answer. Whoever said being an atheist is easy? The rational thing to do would be see the events as independent and unrelated. Then, one would need to think positively, talk to someone, write about your worries, or do something pleasurable to take your mind off things. Remember, do not despair.
Technorati tags bad day, gambler's fallacy , motivational