What are the odds?

Fate or Chance

So my partner loves 4WDs and follows a bunch of Nissan Patrol owners from all over the world on Instagram. Recently, he added someone new and showed me his profile. Then a couple of hours later, we were driving along a road in the city and he says, “that’s the guy I just followed on insta!” We pulled up alongside and hollered to him. He confirmed his identity with a grin.

What are the odds?

Then recently my partner was given an introduction to a man about work. In their phone conversation, the guy explained that he couldn’t help, but suggested putting him in touch with another man who might have some leads. My partner said thanks anyway, but he had already found a job elsewhere. A week later, in his new job, he said to me, “I think I’m working with the guy he was going to put me in touch with.”

He was.

Of all the bricklaying teams, on all the building sites, in all the cities, he had to walk into that one…

What are the odds?

For my partner they are pretty high. This kind of stuff happens to him a lot. And the frequency of coincidences in his life has got me wondering a lot about chance and fate and the invisible lines that connect us.

Also, there are the things that could have happened. The sliding doors moments.

I had my own, just this week, when I was driving down a main road to a petrol station. This time, inexplicably, I turned off a few streets earlier and did a loop around the block to come in another entrance. I was so annoyed with myself for the sudden unexpected decision — which seemed foolish and took me over a bunch of speed humps — that I was cursing under my breath as I pulled in. Within seconds, there was a two car crash on the corner I would have been on had I gone the usual way.

I was so spooked by it that I backed into a pole at the bowser. No damage, but a great big… woah, wtf!?

Determinism vs Random

Quantum theorists are divided in their beliefs on the subject of fate. Some say nature is random and unpredictable, others believe in more deterministic models. What’s been proven so far is that indivdual particle behaviour is difficult to predict, and yet “large numbers of random events can generate large-scale patterns that science can predict accurately.”

Determinists argue that randomness only appears to occur because we don’t understand all the forces and algorithms at work. Randomists counter that the quantum world is too weird to apply rules to.

Perhaps the answer lies in the “yes, and…” Let’s face it, binary thinking has always been a limiting practice for the human race. Look at gender.

I‘m tending towards this notion: Life is like a game of cards. The hand you are dealt is determinism; the way you play it is free will. ~Jawaharlal Nehru

This perspective allows for luck, and timing, and the inexplicable. The inexplicable might be sheer will, a hyper awareness or an exceptional sensitivity that certain people bring to situations. Their mysterious superpower.

Photo by Cristi Ursea on Unsplash


My partner has one such superpower. I believe his stems from his extraordinary powers of observation. The myriads of little things that escape me are all logged and cogged by him. It makes his reference points and lines of connection richer and vaster.

Every day, in every way, he’s thrumming a spiders web waiting to see what vibrates back. Maybe it will be important, maybe it won’t. But even the tinniest extra connections change how he lives his life.

It reminds me to look outward more often, instead of replaying those same inward focused conversations. It inspires me to soak in more life.



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Marianne de Pierres

Marianne de Pierres

Marianne writes all kinds of fiction, and articles on psychology, business, and the future. She’s a pretty awful poet, and a nascent songwriter. Words+Music=42