Statistics, Probability And Outliers

In & Out



              Humans have made up a lot of shit that really depresses me - religion, time, God, six-pack abs. But the thing that gives me serious migraines is probability.

There is no such thing as fairness.

There is no such thing as estimation of odds.

There is only existence of possible and impossible. If you look at it simply, probability tries to explain the likeliness of something happening when one or more things can happen in its place.

At first what I say will sound hypocritical. But please try to look at this from a perspective beyond the general. The concept that I am discussing is very abstract. There is no proper measure for luck or chance, and only comparisons exist. These things are uncontrollable, and unpredictable. Making sense out of them is a very difficult task.

Think of a doctor. He comes up to you and says that he will give you a pill. There is a one in three thousand chance that if you eat that pill, you could die. Nobody would say yes to eating that pill. Think of the opposite case scenario, if you are going to die, and a doctor comes to you saying that if you take this same pill, there is a one in twenty thousand chance that you will survive - no sane person would let such a chance slip away.

While one may argue that I am only talking of extreme situations, I would retort by saying that probability in its purest form, 50/50, has an equal rate of acceptance. If I say that there are 3 bullets in my revolver, and I will spin the cartridge case and shoot at you, you would probably run away and never talk to me again. If someone aiming a gun at your head says that he will remove two bullets from his revolver for free, you would obviously like that. We lie to ourselves when there is a low rate of success that we can’t perform that task because we may fail. The truth is that we could equally say that we should perform that task, because there is a chance of success. There is no such thing as a probable failure; there is only probable success and its absence. Call me an optimist, but any chance of success makes something worth trying for if it could give a favourable outcome.


What I am trying to say is that odds are bullshit to consider. We need to consider everything. If you taking a risk will lead to a grand reward, you need to take that risk. If there is a probability of that question coming on your test, don’t skip it. If you think she might say yes, go for it. If he says its fine and that he’ll pull out, get a condom. If you want that promotion, go ask for it. If you have spare money, buy a lottery ticket. If you think that this is the right career for you, fight your parents. If you think this dream can come true, make it so.

Photography By: Ved Dubhashi