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What are the odds of that?

ems8140's picture

Lisa Belkin’s article, “The Odds of That,” presented ideas comparable to a non-foundational story, mainly based on the fact that life is variable and not inevitable. As described by Belkin, this concept that life does not have a certain path may lead people to be “discomforted by the idea of a random universe.” It is possible that these people feel a loss of control when thinking about life or the world in this way. Many people tend to lean towards the idea that they have some control over their lives. Therefore, when an unlikely series of events happens, such as the two twin brothers being killed in the same way only hours apart, people want to blame something or someone. In this case, the men’s sister felt that their deaths happened because of a plot to kill them both. Belkin states, “she wanted to blame someone,” likely because she felt a loss of control.

This need for control could be considered an evolutionary adaptation. When people experience a tragic or disequilibrating event, it allows them a chance for development. In personality psychology, we learned about ego development and how these significant life events act as an opportunity for an individual to move to the next ego level of personality and development. This advancement in his or her personality helps this person to increase in cognitive complexity. By assimilating, rather than accommodating, the event, the person is able to move forward with their lives and increase their ego level. The loss of control could also lead an individual to believe that things happen for a reason, which I believe differs from thinking that either the world is entirely variable or that our lives are planned out exactly. Through my life experiences, I have adopted this type of thinking to help me maintain a sense of control over my life, even when it seemed to be lacking. Evolution allows for change and advancement, and this way of looking at the world helps me to develop and advance based on situations in my life.



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