Friday, March 30, 2012
Lottery fever is sweeping the nation. I guess that's fine. For most people it's a harmless source of amusement. I think most people would not buy lottery tickets except that they cannot really conceptualize the vanishingly small probabilities involved in actually winning. Some commentators have tried to inform folks. You have a better chance of being struck six times by lightning and surviving each, one said. A greater chance of being killed by space debris (riskier than I had realized, one chance in mere thousands said the talking head). Somebody has to win, people say, as if that somebody could really be them.
It's a shame in some sense to see what are rather attractive traits, such as optimism, energy, and belief in one's own luck, so systematically exploited. I gave up buying lottery tickets when I realized I could fantasize about being rich perfectly well without them, and save a little money at the same time. Some self-help book LWJ read years ago opined that fantasizing about being rich was bad for your soul, which it probably is, but it's cheaper than buying lottery tickets.