What is truly random?


A definitive(ish) look into our (random) theme and what it means

In a google search, Merriam-Webster shows 71 possible synonyms for the word random. At the root, the word is defined as made, done, or chosen without method or conscious decision. This, I think, is where we get into the causation of action. Humans have needs, wants, and desires, all of which can’t be truly random. The way I perceive it, there isn’t any action that can be completely random. You may think of things and they seemingly come to you without cause, but on the subconscious level, there is some degree of inspiration.

We can get even deeper into Quantum Physics. Harrison Crecraft maintains a PhD in Geology suggests in an article he published on Medium.com, “Quantum measurements and observations are fundamentally random. However, randomness is in deep conflict with the deterministic laws of physics. Do hidden properties determine outcomes, so that they only appear random to us? Does our observation or consciousness act outside of physics to instantiate random change? Does the universe spit with each possible outcome manifested in a separate branch? These and other questions are still debated and unresolved. The answer boils down to the nature of time.”

random words, word block
“Random” Words

The way I perceive this is that yes, everything is random at the fundamental level, but when you apply these parameters to humans, time and determination alters the foundations of random. This becomes intentional. Which is to suggest nothing is random, everything is pre-determined, and you have no control over your fate or destiny. Which makes me call bullshit on the movie “Garden State.”

Random Relaxation Oscillator with Neons
“Random” image
This has nothing to do with the post

Think about if you have ever played the lottery. When you get “quick picks.” There is nothing random about that. You have given your money for the chance to win the big one. Relying on a machine to spit out “random” numbers that will hopefully change your life forever. When that machine is prompted to spit out the numbers, it is running hundreds, thousands, maybe millions of processes (algorithms) to determine when was the last time it sequenced certain numbers at that specific terminal, what is the likelihood of those numbers winning, what value it wants to give the ticket for winning…etc. The list goes on an on. This of course is speculation because gaming lotteries will never express every part of the innerworkings of their machines.

I have seen the increase of people talking about numbers, values, and sequencing in Rubik’s cubes and playing cards, talking about the total possible permutations with shuffling cards and cubes, being in the quintillion range. This is true, and although the conversation is compelling, suggesting that shuffle maybe the only time in the known universe for that specific shuffle to happen, it is still not random. It took me some time to think about this and accept the shuffles can’t be truly random, yet they can be classified as unique. The correlation of the two words can commonly be confused. I know I have in the past.

It is not all doom and gloom. This is where I attempt to shift the conversation to a positive spin. You do have control over the choices you make and those choices will alter the determination of your path or trajectory in life. In essence, random is out of the question, but good intentions and good causation can adjust your outcome. Nothing is truly random, but the sequencing of events is always in your control. If you have passion, and you have motivation, go for it. Don’t let your mind or internal monologue stop you from pursuing your cause, regardless of how “random” you may think it to be.

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