Monday, February 6, 2012

This Biased Universe

Like every kid my age at the time, I grew up playing with action figures.  He-Man, Transformers, X-Men all ruled my world back then.  I remember spending hours in the basement, finding new ways to torture the "evil doers" for causing my Hero agony, and in general, leaning towards the dark side.  In every good hero story, there is a triumph over good vs. evil, and I learned this at a very early age.  Evil tries everything it can to win, but in the end, envitably suffers defeat.

Photo By Kyle McCulloch

If you asked the average person, "Does the Universe mostly help you, or mostly hurt you?" What do you think they would say?

There would be a ton of people that would conclude the Universe is great, and wants to see them succeed.  Others may view life more pessimistically, concluding that the Universe is actually out to get them, impeding their path to success.  Still, another section of the population might conclude that the Universe is indifferent.  That it has no view, or bias, that it is simply "balanced".

I've come to the conclusion that the world has a positivity bias of some sort, yet I have no idea where it stems from.  It surely doesn't make scientific sense, or at least I can't prove it.  To keep balance, the world actually needs to lean slightly toward optimistic values, in order to function properly.  My guess is an even balance of good and evil, would actually result in chaos.

Good needs an edge because it's not always easy.  It's not always sexy.  It doesn't always feel great, doing the "right thing".  There has to be a slight bias, or we'd all just chose the easy route.  If you had no bias, would you care if you threw a piece of garbage out the window?  Or help an old lady across the street?  Instead of a "conscience" you'd be indifferent, unable to really determine, right from wrong, or good from bad.

That's why I think there has to be a optimistic bias.  Instead of Yin and Yang, think Yin plus, and Yang minus.  This is why optimism feels good, and pessimism doesn't.  It's the reason, people have are innately great in disasters, bonding, and coming to the aid of their fellow man in crisis.  Surviving sometimes, against incredible odds.   It explains, our thirst to not only do the status quo well, but exceed it.

Photo By Kyle McCulloch
Good can't win over evil all the time, but it wins slightly more, and in more ways.  As they say in the Casino business, good has an "Edge".  Good gets to have the odds slightly in it's favour.  You are welcome to play from the other side, but understand, that you are going "against the house", and being risky.  I like that.  If you play against the odds, stepping on people to success, living too fast, being selfish, stealing, it should be risky.  It should come with consequences.  That keeps people in check.

Just like the Casino, when you make bets, not in your favour, but win in the short-term, you fool yourself into believing that it can last forever.  Pushing your bets even further, until one day you realize that you were never winning at all.  There may have been momentary "wins", but in the end, the odds were never once in your favour.  You may believe there is a path to success, playing from the "dark" side, yet it is an illusion.  The chances were never in your favour.  When you achieve what you thought to be success, what you thought to be "winning", it actually wasn't.  That "win" never gave you the feeling you were looking for.

These folks that take the easy route, will never own the Casino. In the end, the Casino will own them.


  1. Thanks for visiting my blog! I really like your writing style. Have a lovely week!


  2. Interesting post....I like the idea of an optimist bias. I never thought of it like that before. And it is true sometimes you have to pay to play and except all the risks involved to get to the end result. Sometimes you win .....sometimes you lose but at least you played and that's what counts.