I went to the Newfoundland horse races a few weeks ago with my parents and grandparents. The kind of horse race where someone spins a wheel and if the wheel lands on your number than the wooden horse moves ahead x amount of blocks until one of them crosses the finish line. It was a great time even though we lost every race. I thought a lot about the process of gambling and how it was an extremely enjoyable activity despite the fact that I lost every time. Why is this? Why do I enjoy the process of losing? Is it the experience of being served drinks and spending time with family? yes. Undoubtedly. But perhaps there’s something else going on with regards to gambling. Something deeper, more psychological when it comes to gambling and thinking about what the chances are of winning.
the rush of gambling
I think the whole rush comes from the idea of being hopeful. Gambling provides an outlet for me to put my hopes and dreams into. It provides a momentary state where I can think about those wonderful things that’ll happen in my newfound riches. But then I inevitably lose. It’s statistically impossible to win, and the dream is taken away by that steroid induced bastard horse named techy. I think losing is actually the hidden reason why I enjoy gambling. I think losing gives me something external to bitch and moan about. I’m not entirely sure why losing was so much fun, but one idea that often came across my mind (I believe by Schopenhauer but I haven’t been able to find a source) goes something along the lines of “Humans are sometimes wholly in love with making themselves miserable”
money doesn't equal happiness
There’s something about dreaming about myself as a winner that feels more enjoyable than actually pursuing the success through hard work. If I gamble and become rich I get to feel like I’m special in some cosmic way. If it’s the luck of the universe that provides me a new life then I’m not subject to any blame if the reality of being rich doesn’t match up with the perfect idea in my head. If I work towards becoming rich and the reality is imperfect than I have nobody to blame but myself. The dream, as long as it stays in my mind, can maintain its purity. Once I act towards creating that reality I need to deal with the fact that this new world is not only just as imperfect as before, but also a product of my own creation.
hard work is better than luck
I think choosing to ignore the part in our brains that says how wonderful and perfect everything will be if we only had x amount of money is important to being a productive human being. I think it’s very easy to slip into the act enjoying the perfect idea in its dream state rather than actually pursuing the goal and dealing with its imperfections. Rather than thinking that everything is going to change we should work towards our goals and accept that pretty much nothing is going to change. Life will be equally imperfect regardless of the amount of zeros in our bank account. The only reason I pursue a goal is because I believe that it’s “good” in the sense that the world will be better off because of it. Some would say that’s narcissistic, but we need to be a bit narcissistic to create value. In my opinion it’s better to be optimistic than cynical, so I’ll work towards to my goals through hard work and forget about the lottery.