Why We Gamble
Why do we gamble? I know this question has been asked a million times, and there have been a million answers. Make that one million and one, as I am going to give it a shot. Certainly in life we all have to gamble, as life is one long contest with luck, circumstance, and our eventual big loss. Life has a house edge to it, certainly, that grinds away at us, and even those who have had the best of times cannot escape the worst of times when they must say sayonara to the world. Of course, those who have had rotten lives because of chance or circumstance might look upon the fateful last moment as a blessing: I am so happy to be out of here!
I think real life is a combination of the fated and the decided. You are fated to die. The generation that will never die has not yet been born. You are fated to get old despite wrinkle creams and face lifts that often cause people to look as if someone is trying to rip the skin right off their skulls. I look in the mirror, and I see a guy with gray hair who is closer to 70 than to 40. Is that really me now?
The rule of life is biblical—as you sow so shall you reap—and that rule starts as soon as we start crawling around the house looking for stuff to chew on and electrical sockets in which to stick our little fi ngers. You can bank on that.
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We gamble in life because we must gamble—there is no other choice. Not gambling in life is actually gambling that doing nothing will have a better outcome than doing something. We have to decide what schools to go to or whether to go to school at all; whether we should study or forget about studies; whom we should marry or whether to marry at all. Each and every decision opens some doors and closes other doors. No decision is without some consequence
Still, most of the time it won’t. We accept that fate. But we have decided that the gamble is worth the intermittent thrill of a big win—or any win—because that win goes against long-term fate. We know we are bucking the house edge. We know the casino will win in the end—against almost every single casino gambler out there.
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