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, written by Jeremy. Read the commentary.

Gambling. It’s on my TV, in my online ads, fills my email, and spams my blog. So popular, so suddenly — why?

Back in 3,500 B.C. young Egyptions were already gambling. Now, 6,000 years later, you’d think the hubbub would have died down. But it’s like we just discovered it … like it was Steve Jobs’ idea.

I’m reading Peter L. Bernstein’s book, Against the Gods: The remarkable story of risk. In it he plays out the history of our understanding of probability and its application to games of chance — good, ol’ Texas Hold’em.

Bernstein points out how incredible it is that probability was not discovered until 1654 (by Blaise Pascal and Pierre de Fermat). Thousands of years before, we had already filled the great library of Alexandria, charted the stars, and discovered the rules of Euclid’s geometry — but missed risk. The Greeks — rabid gamblers, snap logicians, gifted mathematicians, masters of logic, and obsessive seekers of proof — despite the nearly perfect fit, didn’t understand probability.

Before we got around to probability we had to fight the Crusades (and learn numbers from Arabs), endure the Reformation (and learn we make our own choices), and discover capitalism (you don’t get rich without making a gamble).

This morning I’m wondering what else we’re missing. What looks us right in the eye, everyday, that we fail to see? What perspectives, world views, and religious beliefs keep us from an even clearer understanding?

An Arab taught a Crusader to count. A Reformer taught a Catholic to consider his own future. A gambler taught a prince to be a businessman.

What’s next?


Gambling makes us feel like we’re involved in something (a process) with an outcome that somehow pertains to *us*, in this now highly technologic and detached world … nowadays I think there’s little we *do* on a daily basis that feels kinda fun and frivolous and yet just may hold a positive outcome for us.

Hello Jon. There’s something inside what you’ve said that is important. We want something pertaining to us … even if it’s risk.

Risk that we own instead of risk we haven’t chosen. Do you think the risk we face in our jobs, all us sheep … do you think we could own that if we saw it another way? If everything was our experiment, our gamble — would we view it more positively?