10 Comments

I agree about the mental health benefits when responsibly enjoyed.

To touch on your initial question, why do we need the ticket for the experience, I think this is just simple cause and effect. Similar to what you said, buying the ticket puts one into a set of conditions which allow for the potential of winning to occur which in turn sets off thoughts of what that might look like.

I think that if one to set out to replicate this experience sans ticket it would be achievable with some mental fairly simple gymnastics. For instance, maybe instead of buying the ticket upon the thought arising, they don’t and just think about buying the ticket which leads them down the path of win scenarios and boom they’re right back in fantasy land.

Well, maybe.

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I write fiction and nonfiction for the same reason. Every time I send out a piece I've written for publication to an impossibly lofty magazine or journal, I launch myself into a fantasy world that lasts for several days. It actually improves my self-esteem, for no good reason. But it also makes me happy and hopeful.

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Brilliant! (As is Richard Russo, IMO.) I think there's another reason, fully consistent with what you've written: If I am poor and have very little human capital, the lottery--however long odds it may be--is perhaps the only way I can substantially change my life. From the example: $11K 20 years from now is hardly life-changing. And if I (implicitly) use hyperbolic discounting, it is worth virtually nothing to me.

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Fantastic! Two quick comments:

1. Richard Russo's "Straight Man" is even better than "Fool." Although it might be my and my partner's time in academia that makes it so effing hilarious.

2. Buddhism is True: https://www.mattball.org/2024/01/sunday-funnies-why-buddhism-is-true.html

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Paul, do you think that this fantasizing can be related to the belief in God?..."that after we die everything is going to be ok, actually better than before "

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Hey, Paul, reading this, I think you might be interested in Duncan Pritchard's modal theory of risk (he's a philosopher, epistemologist, mostly). The gist of it is that degrees of risk are not a matter of probabilities but rather modal distance (measure by the differences between the actual world and possible worlds where the risk materializes). He accounts for why people buy lottery tickets in a way that is maybe similar to yours, pointing to the fact that people perceive that winning the lottery, while unlikely, could easily happen (just a few numbers have to go right)I guess this is something like "can easily be imagined". Anyway, great post

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Your possibly embarrassed assassin , funny.

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Anyone here including our esteemed author like to point me towards such interesting examples of probabilities, please?

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I liked this post. The existence of a path is probably why regret hurts so much, right? Imagine you never asked out Claire/Chris a decade ago despite the seeming chemistry, you might feel regret pretty strongly because the path of happy co-living/parenting is so plausible from any nascent romantic relationship. Even if you might've broken up months later, THE PATH TO SUCCESS WAS SO VIVID. Basically it's Before Sunset:

Jesse: God, why weren't you there in Vienna?!

Celine: You know why!

Jesse: I know, I mean, I wish you would have been . Things might have been so different in our lives.

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