As we’ve already noted, tomorrow is St. Patrick’s Day, and while it may have originated as a holiday commemorating the arrival of Christianity in Ireland, it’s now commonly observed as a celebration of Irish culture as a whole. You never know what worse luck your bad luck has saved you from. I believe in luck: how else can you explain the success of those you dislike? You know, Hobbes, some days even my lucky rocketship underpants don’t help. But, he thought, I keep them with precision.
Only I have no luck anymore. Every day is a new day. It is better to be lucky. But I would rather be exact. Then when luck comes you are ready. Shallow men believe in luck or in circumstance. Strong men believe in cause and effect.
Some luck lies in not getting what you thought you wanted but getting what you have, which once you have it you may be smart enough to see is what you would have wanted had you known. There’s always the same amount of good luck and bad luck in the world. If one person doesn’t get the bad luck, somebody else will have to get it in their place. There’s always the same amount of good and evil, too. We can’t eradicate evil, we can only evict it, force it to move across town. And when evil moves, some good always goes with it. But we can never alter the ratio of good to evil. All we can do is keep things stirred up so neither good nor evil solidifies. The only sure thing about luck is that it will change. Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.
Above all, he liked it that everything was one’s own fault. There was only oneself to praise or blame. Luck was a servant and not a master. Luck had to be accepted with a shrug or taken advantage of up to the hilt. But it had to be understood and recognized for what it was and not confused with a faulty appreciation of the odds, for, at gambling, the deadly sin is to mistake bad play for bad luck. And luck in all its moods had to be loved and not feared. People only get good luck or bad luck. Each misfortune you encounter will carry in it the seed of tomorrow’s good luck. I do strongly feel that among the greatest pieces of luck for high achievement is ordeal. Certain great artists can make out without it, Titian and others, but mostly you need ordeal.
My idea is this: the artist is extremely lucky who is presented with the worst possible ordeal which will not actually kill him. At that point, he’s in business: Beethoven’s deafness, Goya’s deafness, Milton’s blindness, that kind of thing. In short, they were gambling on their luck, and luck is not to be coerced. Fortune, seeing that she could not make fools wise, has made them lucky. Luck is not something you can mention in the presence of self-made men. Nothing is as obnoxious as other people’s luck. Since Alice had never received any religious instruction, and since she had led a blameless life, she never thought of her awful luck as being anything but accidents in a very busy place. It is the mark of an inexperienced man not to believe in luck.
by luck or chance