Stochasticity is powerful. It explains magic. It deconstructs anything magical, unexplainable by calculating the odds of this particular story, actually happening to, say, me. If my ratio cannot deduce any logical explanation, I can still apply some statistics. That will do the trick.
And that is good. I guess.
Even the latest Google culturomics project can show that God will need to find “new publisher”. Stochasticity explains all the magic he does. And more. The story of my neighbor winning the lottery is not really a story about a miracle. It’s about luck, an stochastic event. True, it’s highly unlikely. But Wikipedia tells me that in a typical 6/49 game, “the probability of this happening is 1 in 13,983,816 “. The odds are small, but still. Or what about the chance that two girls, named Laura, aged 13, both playing the violin and winning a math competition in the same year, both liking rabbits,..,…, that exactly these two girl meet, accidentally? Again, extremely unlikely, even less than winning the lottery, probably, but neither necessarily impossible.
But wait, if stochasticity is the tool to give meaning to my experiences, does that imply, that some stories, maybe any story, will automatically cease to be miraculous? That it automatically needs to be taken for granted? If there is nothing amazing or miraculous about, why even be amazed by it? And wouldn’t that mean that, some day, we will cease telling stories? If I can’t be amazed by a story, why even bother telling?
Hence what makes a story actually meaningful? Is it’s meaningfulness based on the understanding of the why’s? Or rather on how we experience the story? If it is the first, then I tend to think, that we can expect a decline in storytellers in years and decades to come.
But if it’s the second, then I tend to think about the recent work of Dreyfus and Kelly ‘All things Shining’. They take the ability to actually be amazed by something, despite it’s stochastic explainability, as that what makes it meaningful. Translated to storytelling in general, this would mean that in order to be good storyteller, I would need to be able to experience amazement and gratitude, where mathematics would provide a model and a number. Hmm. I sometimes wonder if the availability of ‘the sum of all knowledge’, whenever we need it, make it in any way more difficult to experience gaze and gratitude?
Something to be amazed by: