Tuesday, November 23, 2010

fallacy of the undetermined result....

The three granddaughters are here along with Cathy, their mom. Josh is coming in on the 10:30 p.m. train from baltimore. Tomorrow Mimi and Tim arrive. The brood returning to the nest. O, Lord, I love Thanksgiving....

The plan, to avoid the great traffic problems, was for Josh and Cathy and the girls and the dog to come up today. But Josh had to work (lawyer stuff--who can comprehend such things? So Cathy was coming anyway with the dog and three girls (2 are 4 and one is, well, one). I thought that was crazy. I had all sorts of nightmares about scenario's on the New Jersey Turnpike, for example, of barfing dog, screaming baby, out of control twins and Cathy alone in some kind of Honda van with all that driving 75.

So I went down on the train yesterday to ride back to CT with them.

And here's the truth. The ride we had--dog, girls, the whole thing--Cathy could have done that alone, I must admit.

That's where the fallacy of the undetermined result comes in.

The Fallacy of the Undetermined Result make immediate sense in sporting events.

A runner is on first and the next batter hits into a double play. The next batter after that hits a home run and we think, "if that guy hadn't hit into a double play it would have been a three run home run."

Well, no. Everything would have been different if what happened hadn't happened.

Life is a series of accidents that are meaningful but not determinative. What 'didn't happen' doesn't determine 'what happens next'. What Happened contributes to what Happens Next.

So, the guy didn't hit into a double play but walked. First and second, no one out. The pitcher bears down and strikes out the guy who (in reality) hit the home run because everything is different because the player didn't hit into a double play. Think about it: "If we'd left a hour earlier we would have missed the traffic jam that backed us up for 90 minutes...."

Well, if you'd left an hour sooner, that tractor trailer might have crashed into you at exit 7 and you'd be dead.

The Fallacy of the undetermined result is a valuable thing to ponder.

What it eliminates, if you ponder hard enough, is all 'regret'. If you hadn't done the thing you 'regret' you imagine things would have turned out all different and all right. But, here's the Fallacy to that, if you hadn't done the thing you 'regret' something all together, never anticipated and totally different than what you imagine would have happened.

I want to write more about this but I've been in a car for 5 hours with 3 kids and in a house with 3 kids, two dogs and two women for 5 more hours. I can't cope.

AND, if that all hadn't happened, what I'd be doing now would be so enormously different from what I'm doing now that the "Fallacy of the Undetermined Result" must be true and needs to be pondered and pondered deeply.

Find a Castor Oil Tree and Ponder. OK?

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some ponderings by an aging white man who is an Episcopal priest in Connecticut. Now retired but still working and still wondering what it all means...all of it.