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The tyranny of random numbers

Is that iPhone game really conspiring to put blue squares up at the last minute, just to foil your attempt at a perfect score?

Human beings are story-making engines, and when we’re confronted with randomness, we make up an egocentric version of what happened, and it involves us.

So when things randomly go well, we give ourselves a pat on the back, a reminder of why we deserved it. And when they don’t, we seek out the ghost in whatever machine did us wrong and come up with a reason.

Here’s the truth: There is no reason. That’s why we define it as random.

All the time we spend inventing reasons is probably better spent responding to what occurs.

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