Rolling the Dice

Pia Nadio By Pia Nadio, 10th Mar 2012 | Follow this author | RSS Feed | Short URL
Posted in Wikinut>Writing>Columns & Opinions

I wrote this piece in one of those random moments when you get inspired while doing academic work. Don't worry, I completed my essay afterwards.

Rolling the Dice

In a wave of absolute confusion with the only certainty in my mind that I have a knack for causing chaos, I picked up a six-sided die and decided to carry it as a temporary totem. I already have a totem (it was a must-have after watching “Inception” and resisting the urge to punch the screen when the credits started rolling) that I use frequently in my Place, it is very useful in my mental sanctuary but not quite as effective in reality.

Having watched the movie you will understand exactly why I can’t divulge too much detail about my totem, however, I can tell you that it helps me to break personal boundaries and exceed previous limitations. This plants a seed in my mind that allows me to grow as a person, the only problem is that the totem doesn’t function as directly as it does in my Place, it only serves as a reminder of what I had accomplished mentally.

This new dotted totem I acquired has a more straightforward effect; I find myself in a predicament, I then formulate question (preferably a yes, no query), I roll the die accepting an odd number as a yes and an even number as a no. There is no particular reason for these partnerships but I am more attracted to odd numbers, the numeral, 9 being my favourite (my previous favourite was 3, you can make the connection). Isn’t this a simple and effective way of making decisions? After trying this a part of the day I received an answer I did not want and proceeded to throw the die a few times to obtain an even number. It seems as if my obsession with self-control over-ruled my spontaneity – this totally and completely defeats the purpose of the totem; I knew that and still broke my own unwritten, unspoken rules.

If one were to make full use of this method of decision-making in day-to-day life, choices would become much easier but the subjects of this technique would be out of your control. You are in fact choosing to leave your actions at the roll of a die but by putting your trust in this totem, who is responsible for your actions? How can you be defined by what you do, if what you do is determined by chance? Some argue that everything happens for a reason, applying a cause and effect theory, where a great action or event can be traced to some miniscule happening. In this case, God would determine each and every result of your roll, meaning that every action thereafter would be justified. What makes this conclusion more interesting is that the Latin origin of the word "dice" means "something which is given or played".

Another argument is that in order for fate to exist there has to be coincidence, to form some kind of balance. The way I process this point is that people need to accept chance in order to understand fate, as if the two are relative to each other, which is where willpower comes in. You may roll the dice, perceive the answer as what is meant to happen but still choose to do the opposite in hope of a better outcome. The die isn’t a conscious entity, it cannot conceive of the consequences of an action (unless you have a special die, like mine), but a human being can imagine what might become of a certain decision and choose a better action that leads to a seemingly better outcome. So, a person is better than a totem at making decisions (surprise, surprise), although, in those everlasting moments when you feel as if you’re malfunctioning it’s nice to have a neutral medium to add some excitement to your endeavours.


Cause And Effect, Decisions, Dice, Inception, Opinion, Totem

Meet the author

author avatar Pia Nadio
Currently, I am studying film at UCT. I intend to do screenwriting but I am a novelist at heart. Most of my articles will fall under Arts and Entertainment, Poetry, Food and Education.

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