Saturday, August 13, 2016

Expected value

Last night, we were supposed to go to Thailand. We had driven down to Cochin when a friend messaged me a news article about blasts that rocked the country. We started evaluating staying back.

Since I'm an analyst, we decided to look at the expected value. The probability of the blasts happening again near us, multiplied with the value of our lives, subtracted from the probability of nothing happening multiplied with the cost of cancelling/rescheduling our trip. As logical as I claim to be, I couldn't put a value to my life. So the cost of going ended up becoming huge and we cancelled the trip. This got me thinking. We can't rationalize(at least I can't) when there's a perceived threat to our lives, no matter how miniscule it is. Why is that so? Given that there are billions of lives in the planet, why do we all think(me) that we're so indispensable?
Maybe, like my friend says, it's all about wanting to thrive. I can't ever accept that in the scale of the universe I'm a nobody. I'm convinced that even as a tiny particle, I've a role to play. Maybe that's my ridiculous ego at work here. Maybe, it's much more than that or much less than that.

2 comments:

Sun Ray said...

Insurance companies are experts at putting a monetary value on human lives.. They have a book on it. One hand of a person aged 23 in I.T profession or supervisor equals Rs. Xx. Anyway, personally i think that we are a result of series of cosmic accidents. You being born to Mr. X & Mrs. Y is itself an accident..studying at AAA college, working at BBB company.. are accidents too.. You could have been born as a relative or a neighbour you absolutely hate. Someone else could have been born as the intelligent Harini. But, as you rightly pointed out, we like to think we are here for a reason, however miniscule. Helps in keeping the charm in life.

Harini Padmanabhan said...

Haha completely agree. One of my favorite hobbies used to be theorizing what could have happened if a supposedly bad incident hadn't occurred to me. We're intricate jigsaw puzzles that keep growing. That's what makes life fun.