The Certainty of Chance

There’s a moment in the first episode of DEVS where Nick Offerman’s character talks about how, like it or not, our lives are on rails. There may be moments when you think that destiny is yours to command, but reality is stark. You have been born, and eventually will die. These two are intractable, inescapable events. What happens in between might affected by a huge number of constants, but the end result, once first action has taken place, is inevitable.

Unless you’re able to alter linear time, that’s your lot.

We’re stuck on our rails, either in lockdown, or outside considered as essential. Our life choices might have dictated circumstance, but there’s no escaping the short-term consequence. Is it more sensible to feel as if we are the ones holding the cards, or do you let someone else manipulate those outcomes? Does it matter when it happens, or that you are able to consider possibility as freedom?

Maybe we shouldn’t have been as selfish earlier down the line.


All those shows you binge watched, then demanded more. All that game content you never really finished, or really took the time to savour. Maybe if we hadn’t pushed everything to the point of voracious consumption, the planet might not have tipped over into meltdown. Perhaps we should have demanding better, faster and smarter ways of feeding everybody properly, not just focussed on developing new snack flavours.

Slowly but surely, our lives on rails have dictated circumstance and outcomes. We keep the massive corporations fuelled and relevant, wear their brands and drink their soda. When we are forced to stop working because we could die if we don’t there are those who see this as some kind of threat to their freedom, as if such things are being dictated to inconvenience us.

Even actions taken as well-intentioned defence end up as some kind of attack.

Maybe if we all looked after each other more, things could be different. Perhaps if a life was more important than what it made, how much it was paid, if value was no longer measured in how capable it was at doing a job other people didn’t want or need. Maybe if basic human decency was more valuable than the rare spoils that rich people cover their houses with to denote that somehow, they are better than you ever will be, all lives would have greater significance.

Perhaps if we took all those material things and cast them aside, we wouldn’t have to keep metaphorically nailing people to planks of wood as martyrs for the causes they attempted to champion. Maybe, when you finally grasp that between life and death that is really all there is, you can stop believing the people you elected as your leaders are any different to you: if they got to be charge, they must have a fucking clue no longer works as adequate reasoning.

If we all know this is a one way trip, why do we keep trying to get to the end so fast?


If this is really all any of us get, shouldn’t we spending this time now, whilst there is no need to worry about some things, to fix the things we can? Is this not the moment when you make peace with your demons, and try and find the means by which you can improve the lives of those around you. Instead of showing off on social media or yelling into the void, this is a real, tangible opportunity to rock yourself on those rails.

If you can slow yourself down, or derail yourself for a moment, you might be amazed at what will suddenly become clear when the dust settles…

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