Stepping onto an escalator, you don’t step for the stair that is present. No, you step for the stair that is coming.

Once you recognize a pattern, it’s easier to predict the future.

As a result, we spend a lot of time looking for patterns. We look for what is out of place and it turns out, it has kept us alive for so long. If I hear a stick break and can predict that is a sabertooth tiger, I have a better chance to survive.

These types of decisions cause all sorts of problems.

For one, we don’t have to run from sabertooth tigers anymore, even though our brain thinks we do. Humans are also story-telling creatures. That we can create meaning out of the meaningless while ignoring statistics and probabilities and chance.

There is a theory that if you knew all the information in the universe you could predict the future. It’s safe to say, we are no where close to knowing what happens next.

The bottom line, life is more complicated than an escalator. We like to think we are good lie detectors, that we can sense things about to happen. A “spidey sense” or gut feeling. Any veteran Vegas player knows that this isn’t true. Because we are not just trying to predict what is happening in our environment, but we are also trying to understand our own thought patterns, our shortcuts and heuristics. Trying to recognize someone else’s is impossible. We sometimes just guess right but much like playing roulette, someone sometimes wins.