Is Life’s Randomness Unbearable?

We’re in turbulent times, it seems. With the Corona pandemic spreading, I get anxious contemplating the randomness of it all: How can someone in China eating a bat-soup (let’s just go with that version) a few months ago lead to soon 100.000 infected with a novel, scary virus, close to 3.000 deaths and an accelerating economic and humanitarian crisis?! How can we still believe that life makes sense if chaos can ensue at any time, with no apparent reason?

P.S. I made a video on this topic where I talk more about the philosophy side of it – I think you’d like it.

🤔 What I’ve been thinking of

What people fear most about tragedy is its randomness – a taxi cab jumps the curb and hits a pedestrian, a gun misfires and kills a bystander. Better to have some rational cause and effect between incident and injury. And if cause and effect aren’t possible, better that there at least be some reward for all the suffering.

Jerry Kluger

What makes this randomness is even more scary is that we usually don’t know which trivial event could trigger catastrophe. You might have heard of the butterfly effect: Can a butterfly flapping its wings cause a tsunamy in Texas?

What’s the butterfly in your life, and what chain of events will it trigger? One tiny decision like leaving the house one minute later might change everything: A great life of prosperity, love and peace versus a painful existence in a wheelchair with depression up until your suicide after being randomly run over by a taxi, all depending on this one decision.

This randomness is unbearable to us, hence many of us adopt the belief that everything happens for a good reason. Isn’t that why religion has been so successful? Having a God watch over us means getting sick has a meaning, and if not in this life, we will have peace and happiness after death or in another life. And even if life’s randomness makes no sense at all, like orphans being born with terrible diseases, there’s the good catch-all phrase “God’s Ways Are Inscrutable“.

And we love stories of people who endured terrible hardships but still managed to put themselves together and accomplish great things. It’s where Nietzsche’s saying “That which does not kill us makes us stronger” comes into play. However, have you ever considered survivorship bias in these cases, i.e. for every inspiring comeback story, there might be 9 others who DID fall apart from painful, traumatic things happening to them? Most homeless people have a story to tell along those lines, unfortunately.

So, is there a lesson here?

Maybe the lesson is that your life and the cards you’ve been dealt at birth and every day are in fact random and more often absurd and cruel rather than unexpectedly pleasant and uplifting (probably because we notice the bad stuff more).

But I do believe that we humans have the potential to adapt and thrive, even with shitty cards. I trust in our capability to survive what life throws at us, that’s what we’re built for. Holocaust survivor Viktor Frankl is the perfect example that we can find light and purpose even in the face of raw tragedy.

We humans are strange creatures. On the one hand we’re super fragile, on the verge of breaking down and giving up at any moment. On the other hand we can be extremely resilient. There’s studies that individuals who lost an arm or a leg in an accident report similar levels of happiness compared with before the accident.

This is why I choose to trust in human toughness and (somewhat) believe that everything happens for a reason, that life will present us with the challenges that help us grow – IF we’re open to learn and don’t wallow in the “what if..” mode which is toxic and cancerous.

And what we will all learn at some point, I believe, is that we’re only imperfect humans who have to stick together with love to get though this short, confusing and mostly random life.

😴 What helped me find calm this week

Unintentional ASMR Picks:

And some more, which you can find on my second unintentional ASMR channel:

Intentional ASMR Picks:

Here’s some nice new ASMR that I think you’ll enjoy (all of them are come from international ASMRtists):

  • I enjoy these “Public ASMR” videos, and this one was recorded at a Pub by  ASMR Crush on 9 (this sounds like random K-Pop Band name:). It’s a cool, South Korean (somewhat gender-fluid?) guy, I also enjoyed his older shoemaker roleplay
  • This Medieval Roleplay (preparing for a treasure hunt) by Atmosphere is great (especially the costumes, it reminds me of Skyrim)
  • Another fantastic one by ASMR Glow: 50min of triggers with different clothing items (I like the white gloves and red skirt best)
  • A really good German channel is ASMR Janina: In this video, she makes ASMR with a handsome male friend

I’ve added these videos to my “ASMR Favorites” Playlist“, again.

💎 Hidden gem ASMR channel of the week:

HariPear ASMR – it’s a relatively new French channel, but her content like this amazing PokeCenter Nurse roleplay is amazing, and I’m sure she’s gonna be big very soon!