What are random things
Probability and fateThe Life is coincidence
Is there any coincidence? Is everything predetermined? The physicist Florian Aigner says: A lot is statistics. Nevertheless: nature has built in chance.
You fly 10,000 kilometers away on vacation and meet an old work colleague in some remote spot. Probably then the sentence comes up: What kind of coincidence is that?
Depending on your point of view, you can answer this with two extremes:
- It cannot be a coincidence, it is fate, fate, destiny.
- This is not a coincidence, this is a probability. It is very unlikely that you will meet someone you know in a remote location, but unlikely things can also happen.
Florian Aigner is convinced of the latter. He lives in Vienna, holds a doctorate in physics, is a publicist and author of the book "Chance, the Universe and You: The Science of Happiness". He says: First and foremost, we remember the events that we can tell well as stories and of course have actually experienced.
The many acquaintances who were two streets away on vacation, but whom we did not meet, are not included in our consideration of "coincidence or not" - if we did, an unlikely meeting with someone on vacation would no longer be so unlikely - and then perhaps less "coincidence".
Predict movement of celestial bodies very well
In general, science tries to rule out coincidences. In the case of events that are calculable and predictable, there is no coincidence in the game, it is about cause and effect.
This works very well for many things, for example when calculating the movements of celestial bodies. We can very well predict where the heavenly bodies will be in a few years' time. Gravity is not a coincidence either. A glass always falls on earth towards the center of the earth.
"Chance is built into the foundations of reality."
Other things, on the other hand, cannot be calculated, "and they probably never will be," says Florian Aigner. For example, what his cat will do in two hours. Even if the cat's entire brain were deciphered down to the last detail, such a calculation would hardly be possible. Firstly, a tiny mistake in the consideration or calculation could completely change the end result, and secondly there is quantum physics.
Quantum physics says, among other things, that a particle can be in two places at the same time. And the states of the particles are - in fact - subject to chance. "Certain things happen for no reason," says Florian.
Is there a coincidence or not?
We cannot calculate whether one or the other things will happen in the future, so it is reassuring for us if we consider them to be "coincidental".
"I think it's nice that we humans have to come to terms with the fact that chance has a huge say in our lives."
If we look back: is it a coincidence, for example, that the earth was created with water and plants and animals and people? It would not have been possible to calculate and predict this before it was created.
In retrospect, we know: In fact, many very specific criteria - such as distance to the sun, size, earth's crust, etc. - have to be met in order to make life possible at all. This is a very coincidental combination, the origin of which can be explained to some extent in retrospect.
Created by chance
On the other hand, there are so many millions and billions of galaxies and planets in the universe - it is quite likely that something like Earth will emerge somewhere. But why did it hit us in particular? That's a big coincidence!
You can see it that way, but: It is only ourselves who can think about it. We are more or less a product of chance. Or to put it another way: the unlikely event that was no longer so unlikely because the universe simply had a lot of free experiments, i.e. galaxies and stars and planets.
Florian Aigner says that chance plays a major role in biographies. That is why he does not think very much of seminars and courses and books that motivate self-optimization. Because, for example, in a career, coincidence is always involved. That, in turn, shouldn't mean lying down on the couch and waiting for something to happen. Florian Aigner: "You have to give chance a chance."
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