“As far as the laws of mathematics refer to reality, they are not certain; and as far as they are certain, they do not refer to reality.”
― Albert Einstein

I’ve always found probability theory to be intriguing. It puts a new spin on understanding the world we live in. Nothing is absolute or can be determined with certainty. In fact, there’s an inherent uncertainty in every event in our lives. And isn’t that life? It’s hard, unpredictable, and mostly never perfect. Luck is just a favourable outcome. And we’d hope it would occur — more than once in a lifetime.

“Nothing burns like the cold.”
― George R.R. Martin

By definition, unlikely is an event that has a very low probability of occurring. But, 2018 seems to be the year of surprises. There’s something strange in the air. It started in the month of January. I never thought winter could get so cold — on this side of the world. Temperatures hit a record low with the cold wave. Surprisingly, I made it through. Surely a little bruised, but definitely alive enough to make it to spring.

“Peace begins with a smile..”
― Mother Teresa

As a pessimist, it’s highly unlikely to be hopeful. After all, it’s easier to be hopeless than get disappointed. And it’s not very hard to feel disillusioned these days. Browsing world headlines should do the job. But I did say it’s the year of ‘unlikely’. So, last week we had a reason to celebrate. Pessimists, like myself, were basking in hope. After a long, nail biting year of uncertainty and playing pseudo political analyst; dialogue has paved the way for hope. History could be made — if we continued to be hopeful. And who knows, peace would be around the corner.

“Men argue. Nature acts.”
― Voltaire

I used to be skeptical about climate change. It seemed unlikely our planet would be weakened by our stupidity. There were higher forces at play here; ones I believed couldn’t be tampered with. Yet, summers hit new highs and winters break record lows. As I meet people from different parts of the globe and hear their stories, I realise: unlikely will continue to stick with us for a while. The planet is fighting back and we might just lose the only chance we had.

“There is no way that we can predict the weather six months ahead beyond giving the seasonal average”
― Stephen Hawking

Two days back, we had a thunderstorm in the sky. I’ve never been a fan of thunder or lightening. The rain was met with a warm welcome because it killed the bad air and gave birth to pretty spring flowers. But we didn’t expect a spell of hail mixed with rain. Now, what were odds of that happening?

By evening, the sun was out and shining. Who would’ve thought we’d have thunder, rain, hail, and sunshine — all on the same day! But it is the year of the improbable and we are only halfway through it…


Posted by:twobrownfeet

Writer-Photographer Duo. Now in Seoul.

24 replies on “Unlikely

  1. Sometimes I feel that each passing year brings more and more unlikely events. Things seemed so stable for so long, but maybe that was because I was seeing the world through the eyes of a child or a still-innocent adult. “Unlikely” can be good or bad, I guess, bringing wonderful surprises or frustration and anger. My goal is to stay on the thin wire balancing those extremes!

    1. I couldn’t agree more. Each year comes with its surprises! 🙂 And it’s fascinating how all these events are linked. I observe nature and places like a curious kid. I wish I had the ability/patience to do the same for the world or people. 😦 I have a difficult time with the balancing act. My first reaction is always anger and then indifference. I need to work on that. Living here has helped me find the middle ground.

  2. I often wonder if the world has changed or its all because of this constant news and updates that make us feel so paranoid? I guess we won’t know… I think being disconnected from the world is actually nice because we can let our senses decide rather than be influenced by constant feeds!

    1. I guess, it’s a bit of both. There’s so much information on the internet. It’s hard to focus and separate fact from fiction. And perspective is dependant on who’s writing the news.
      I agree. I like feeling disconnected from it all. That’s what makes isolated places more appealing. 🙂

  3. And how fun to jump from thoughts on uncertainty and relative reality to time dilation, string theory, and gravitation’s ability to bend light….That and your exquisite dandelion puffball in the midst of a fiery flower burst puts our existence into perspective.

    1. The challenge was to stay coherent through it all. I guess I rambled towards the end. 🙂 This post has been heavily inspired by Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle. I’m also a big fan of special relativity. I’m not so sure I understand string theory though. I attended a conference as an undergrad and I got lost with the math. 🙂 The dandelion was quite a stunner and you’re right, it’s transient nature ‘puts our existence into perspective’.

      1. Rambles take us to interesting places. 🙃 I find quantum mechanics to be fascinating, and rather philosophical in so many ways. As for string theory, even physicists don’t know to what extent it actually describes the real world, so confusion is the right feeling. 🙂

      2. Thank you so much! 🙂 Your words are always encouraging. It means a lot!
        I completely agree. In the words of Einstein,
        “The more I learn, the more I realize how much I don’t know.” 🙂

      3. I too have experienced the uncertainty principle – every time I encounter a multi-paged menu in a Chinese restaurant. As for the physics, I often wonder how the physicists come to their conclusions. Is the tail (math) wagging the dog?

      4. haha… I love Chinese food and it tastes different in every country (including China). Experimental physicists make observations and come to conclusions. Theoretical physicists use math (or invent the math), but will need experiments to prove their theories subsequently. I wasn’t surprised by the uncertainty principle or special relativity. It was mirroring life. But I found it difficult to believe the dual (particle/wave) nature of light. I feel we are not meant to know and understand every thing. Possibly, these gaps in human understanding of nature lead to unbelievable theories. 🙂
        And in Stephen Hawking’s words

  4. Peace most definitely begins with a smile. I tend to be a ‘glass full’ person, but I’ve been known to take occasional journeys into the vast emptiness of the glass’ bottom. It is the smile of the world that manage to pull me back and give me hope that in the end, everything will turn out well.

    1. I couldn’t agree more. I’ve always been miserly with my smiles reserving them for people I know. I learned what a difference it can make when you travel. It’s easier to win people. Thank you for such a wonderful comment, Lisa.

  5. Wonderful photos! I am pretty pessimistic about the future of this planet.. no doubt nature will survive, but I don’t know about humanity.

    1. Thanks, Dee! 🙂 We share the same thoughts on this one. Wherever we travel, we realise the climate is changing and I don’t think humanity will be able to adapt as quickly. The planet should survive for another 5 billion years before our sun eats it! 🙂

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