Friday, November 10, 2006

Are you sure?

The only thing you can be sure of in this life, is that nothing is sure at all (and even that's unsure).

Just like in that wonderful song called "Upside out" by Victoria Tolstoy.

Lyrics Upside out
Victoria Tolstoy

Wonder if it's really cold in summer?
Am I still here when you are gone?
Wonder if an old man's really old when
Minutes make a real long song

I wonder why I never see the wonders?
It doesn't matter how I try
The more I think the less I know I know but...
...there's one thing I know for sure,
I'm sure I'm not sure at all...
....but only sometimes

Wonder what is longer time or distance?
Does it begin right where it ends
I wonder if I reach, if you don't listen
Some say I do, but it depends

Don't you see wonders too in your life?
What's the probability a wonder or miracle occurs anyhow?

First we have to distinguish between 'subjective miracles' (the ones You yourself can't explain) and 'objective miracles'(the ones even the best scientists can't explain).

The probability of a 'miracle' could be defined as

P = M / N

Where M = the number of inexplicable events that happen

and N = The number of events that happen

From this definition we could conclude that:

  • 'The less we understand of this world' or 'the more we are focussed or conscious of measuring a miracle', the more the probability of a (subjective) miracle increases.
    This last aspect explains why goodhearted, god- and miracle-focussed people experience more miracles then other people.
    Miracles are a product of the mind.
  • For one who understands everything in life (i.e. God), there are no miracles, because everything is explicable.

Now for the more god- and miracle-critical people among us, you would agree that - as you are not all-knowing (God) - there will be always events that you cannot explain.

Suppose the change of a miracle in your life is: P= 0.001 = 1/1000
Than a simple rule (derived from a geometric distribution) states that if you would measure (1000 = 1/P) events in your life, there is a probability of about 63% that a miracle happens.

By the way, this rule of thumb can be applied for everything that happens in life.

If something has a probability of P% of happening, try it N=1/P times and you'll be a 63% sure it will happen.
Try it (2 x N) times and you'll be about 90% (more exactly: about 86%) sure it happens.

Rule of thumb
- Example -

John seldom breaks a glass when he does the dishes.
Only (on average) once on the 100 times this happens
(P= 1/100).

After John has done the dishes a 100 (N= 1/P) times he can be a 63% sure he's broken one glass at least.

After John has done the dishes 200 times, John's wife can be a 90% sure that he will have broken one of their glasses.

Now back to our probability of miracles with regard to our real pessimists on this subject.

Suppose the probability of a miracle (1/N) tends to zero and the number of possibilities (N) increases to infinity.

It can be mathematically proven that even in this situation the probability of a miracle is about 63%.

That's surprising, isn't it?

So keep trying and miracles will happen!

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