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Posts Tagged ‘probability’

I love Jonathan Winters. I first saw him as a kid on Mork & Mindy (and loved him both as Mindy’s uncle and then later as their alien kid) and then off and on through other things I happened to catch him in. I haven’t seen him often, but he always seemed to carry both a genial warmth and a fierce sense of presence, not an easy trick to pull off.

Anyway, I ran across this quote from him, and it sounds very much like something he’d say. It’s this kind of comfortable optimism that would sustain a character like his.

Nothing is impossible. Some things are just less likely than others.
– Jonathan Winters

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I almost forgot to write down the thought I was having earlier today! It was about cause, effect, and our perceived relationship to them. I’ve been reading very different views on the idea of what can and can’t happen, of what is and is not probable, what people should and shouldn’t expect, and so on and so forth.

Personally, my current level of experience can be summed up this way:

Every single effect has at least one cause. Which causes bring about which effects, however, are where the surprises come in. We can do our best to observe effects and try to gauge the visible causes, but when it comes down to it, there’s far too much we will never accurately predict. No matter the topic, if we don’t retain enough anticipation for true surprises in life, we’re in for a real disappointing time of it.

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