fortune


Written By: Ehsan Jahandarpour

The definition of luck (or chance) varies by philosophical, religious, mystical, or emotional context of the one interpreting it; according to the classic Noah Webster’s dictionary, luck is “a purposeless, unpredictable and uncontrollable force that shapes events favorably or unfavorably for an individual, group or cause”. Yet the author Max Gunther defines it as “events that influence one’s life and are seemingly beyond one’s control”. When thought of as a factor beyond one’s control, without regard to one’s will, intention, or desired result, there are at least two senses that people usually mean when they use the term, the prescriptive sense and the descriptive sense. In the prescriptive sense, luck is a supernatural and deterministic concept that there are forces (e.g. gods or spirits) that prescribe that certain events occur very much the way laws of physics will prescribe that certain events occur. It is the prescriptive sense that people mean when they say they “do not believe in luck”. In the descriptive sense, people speak of luck after events that they find to be fortunate or unfortunate, and maybe improbable. Therefore, cultural views of luck vary from perceiving luck as a matter of random chance to attributing to such explanations of faith or superstition. For example, the Romans believed in the embodiment of luck as the goddess Fortuna, whereas the philosopher Daniel Dennett believes that “luck is mere luck” rather than a property of a person or thing. Carl Jung viewed luck as synchronicity, which he described as “a meaningful coincidence”. Lucky symbols are popular worldwide and take many forms.