Although I am an optimist, my imagination can conjure countless deadly hands from any shuffled deck before the cards are dealt. I am, therefore, perplexed by so many people who, whether they’re optimists or pessimists, trust any dealer as long as he claims to share their vision of how all things ought to be, who trust their own vision to the extent that they never question it, and who believe that four of a kind and royal flushes always fall by chance in a world without meaning.


To such folks, Hitler was a distant and half-comic figure ”until he wasn’t; and mad mullahs promising to use nuclear weapons as soon as they obtain them are likewise harmless ”until they aren’t.

I, on the other hand, believe life has profound meaning and that the meaning of Creation itself is benign, but I also know that there are such things as card mechanics who can manipulate any deck to their great advantage.

In life, little happens by chance, and most bad hands we’re dealt are the consequence of our actions, which are shaped by our wisdom and our ignorance. In my experience, survival depends on hoping for the best while recognizing that disaster is more likely and that it can’t be averted if it can’™t be imagined.