Monday, June 18, 2012

Second Chances

Why is it that we believe in second chances? Or at least, some of us. The phrase is a strange one; it is as if, not content with taking our chances once, we are taking another gamble.

The problem with second chances is that they aren't first chances. This is not as trivial as it sounds: the difference between having no chance and a single chance is like the gulf between zero and one, or between nothing and something. But a second anything is just more something, a superfluity.

And then, having opened the door to superfluity, why not a third, or a fourth, or any nth chance? This is the difficult thing — the line between nothing and something is obvious, the line between something and something else is always less so. And that difference actually decreases the more you have of something; you can't see so clearly the difference between a 1,201st chance and a 1,202nd chance.

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