Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Courting the Goddess Fortuna or Lady Luck

Throughout history, mankind has been seduced by the fickle Goddess Fortuna, known more often in contemporary society as 'Lady Luck' or simply 'Luck'. Every one likes the feeling of being 'lucky', of being able to guess correctly or even better, having good fortune dropped into his/her lap unearned. We all love those moments when something good but entirely unexpected occurs to us. Whether it is 'found money' or a situation where a correct guess brings money or some other 'prize', those moments somehow are golden. What are they worth, though, in terms of sacrifice?

There are some who spend their lives and their entire livelihood chasing the chimera of 'Luck'. Among these are the compulsive gamblers who lose veritable fortunes in the pursuit of that feeling of 'being lucky', little realising that they have created their own catastrophic bad luck through a combination of tunnel vision and an addiction to the excitement of 'winning'.

I certainly am not immune to the thrill of feeling that luck is on my side. What I will not do is chase fortune, or throw money at it, hoping that a small piece of good luck will blossom into greater good fortune.

I love horse racing and there was a time when I read the forms and tried to guess the winners. What I realised quickly, however, was that it was the feeling of being lucky that I liked more than anything else. I was unwilling to lose real money in the pursuit of illusory gains. How then could one chase that feeling without losing money in the process?

That is where games can be extremely attractive. There is a cost for everything, but the cost is measured in time and energy rather than money. In a game like Harvest Moon, for the most part, success is won through hard labour and effort rather than luck, but there are times when the result is random. In mining or fishing, for example, the item one finds or catches is randomly generated. There are days when one is 'lucky' and there are days when one feels 'unlucky'.

Even if the gems and rare fish exist only in a game, the feeling is quite real and is no different from the emotion and excitement of backing a winner in a horse race. When the Goddess Fortuna smiles, it brings a little extra sparkle into the day, a sense of buoyancy. Perhaps it is an illusion but so what? If it is an emotion that every one courts to some extent, and I believe that it is, why not satisfy it in a harmless manner?

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