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Luck in the Ancient Mariner

In: English and Literature

Submitted By sanvernaza
Words 751
Pages 4
Captain of my fate? “Death and Life-in-Death have diced for the ship’s crew, and she (the latter) winneth the ancient Mariner.” (Line 195).
The Rime of an Ancient Mariner is a poem that narrates the story of a Mariner who, out of no apparent reason, decides to shoot an albatross when being in a ship-wreck with the rest of his crew in the South Pole. As a result, Death and Life-in-Death, two spirits that follow the crew to punish them, are to decide his fate, his life, to a game of dice. Entities beyond mortality gamble the future of a guilty, yet helpless man. Doesn’t this sound familiar? Don’t our lives seem, sometimes, the result of a game of dice being played by someone/something bigger than ourselves, even bigger than life itself?
Just the fact that we are who we are is nothing but a result of chance. This statement, beyond its recklessness appearance, has an explanation consisting of three moments of existences that are determined by the roulette. The first one goes back to before we’re born. Have you ever thought of how many billions of chances were there when your parents’ genetic material mixed to create you? I, for instance, could’ve been blond, tall and smart. Or short and dumb. Or anything. But, somehow, I turned out to be me, out of what appear to be infinite chances of who I could’ve been. And this process follows no logic or intervention from our part: is the work of randomness.
The second moment, chronologically, involves our environment. Where we’re born, who our parents are, and the rest of conditions that welcome us to this world are the sort of aspects I include in this side of this pyramidal die.
The third and final moment is composed of the things that are choices in our lives. This is also a consequence of luck because the construction of ourselves is the outcome of the decisions we make, which have a luck component. That construction of ourselves has, as building blocks, our routines, our habits. Let’s say, one day, I decide I want to be very athletic. So, that same day, I go out to jog when, suddenly, a branch of a tree of the park I’m jogging by falls on my head, leaving me paraplegic. Though it’s unlikely, it’s a possibility. The consequence of the decision I made was the opposite of the one I expected, and it was absolutely out of my hands. We can try as hard as we can to get something, to achieve a goal, but if luck is not on our side there is no way to obtain it. I can give a less dramatic, and true, example of how luck is a part of the aftermath of our decisions. I like to shoot three pointers when I play basketball. It doesn’t matter how hard I train, there’s always the possibility that the ball just won’t get in. Sure, training increases the odds of me scoring, but there’s always the room for doubt. The image that comes to my mind when I think of this is the one of a salmon, swimming against the tide. Regardless of his conviction to carry on, he might not get to the tide less pond, to rest.
In this pessimistic view of life, where our destinies are out of our hands, how may we, if possible, feel we own ourselves, be happy, achieve tranquility and feel that we’re not mere victims of dice, of the roulette? I see two possible paths to answer these questions.
The first one is hope. Hope that the timeless being is on your side: that the rolling of the dice will always smile to you. This means that the outcome that waits for you, regardless of what it is, will be good. This way, we are not victims of luck, but lucky to be ruled by it, and this way too we may be tranquil, knowing our future is in the best hands. Though I respect this belief, I, having earnestly tried, can’t think this way. Why should the dice be charged in our favour?
The other option is getting our minds off the outcome. If arriving to that tide less, paradisiac pond is not the objective, but enjoying, savoring each and every one of the strokes given against the tide is, then the outcome loses relevance: it’s no longer necessary, and happiness, tranquility and self-righteousness are achieved.

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