In “Oracle Night” Auster claims that ‘randomness stalks us every day of our lives’.
How do you respond to this?

Auster is somehow fascinated by the quixotic fluidity of existence, its chaos, its lack of order, its inherent reliance upon the unpredictable, upon the twists and turns of fate, chance and coincidence. He seems to view life as tragically beautiful.
Do you find these themes intriguing?
Can you find any link to other writers you have read so far? What do Auster’s themes make you think of?
Hope to read your posts soon. I am really curious to see the way you will respond to this input of mine.

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48 risposte a FOOD FOR THOUGHT

  1. anonimo scrive:

    We all think of strange coincidences, events in our lives. We can attribute them to fate, to unluck, to misfortune, to whatever. They just happen and we must accept them. However, we would be superficial and stupid if we went through these strange coincidences without thinking about them, without trying to give them a meaning, without trying to link them somehow to other events in our lives. I think this is what Auster tries to do in his novels, the ones in which chance and coincidences play a paramount role. We start wondering: what are we result of? chance? Will? determination? strong will? Pure luck? Perhaps a mixture of all. Is this fair? Perhaps not, but this is life. Is all this mind-bogging? Perhaps it is, but isn’t it somehow fascinating? Bombarding ourselves with questions we do not necessarily have an answer to. We live in a world where we are constantly asked to give precise answers. What matters is “evidence”. But life is not just “evidence”. Life is also “chance” and “chance” can’t be explained as easily.

  2. anonimo scrive:

    I will not answer to your question: I only want to let my mind speak.

    I find Paul Auster’s quotation really banal, or, giving rooms to another point of view, very sophisticated and I will take only the provocative part of it.

    Life in a systemic perspective is a high complex four-dimensional net in which any single part is interconnected with so many uncountable others that any infinitesimal change will increase in effects that are so difficult or impossible to forecast.

    In our life, during the alternation of days and nights, with the passing of years, we bump into strange events created, by someOne or someThing, with the purpose of altering our existence.

    I agree with the sentence “Randomness stalks us every day of our life”, but I have my own idea, and I do not know if I can explain myself or not.

    Randomness is always present during our journey to the coffin, but if it is always present we cannot pull it apart from everyday life.

    Fortuitousness is a piece of our existence, it is our own existence, and we can’t talk about randomness as if it was something outside, exterior of our personal life.

    I find a little bit stupid (even if I agree with it) declaring such a statement; it is too basic.

    I know it may seem childish, but I link Auster’s quotation to an animation film cue.

    The Incredibles:

    Dash: Our power makes us special.

    Helen: Everyone’s special, Dash.

    Dash: Which is another way of saying ‘no one is’.

  3. anonimo scrive:

    Arnoldi Martina

    Paul Auster is fashinated by random,I’m too.I think is the chance that leads our life.We can give a way to our will but is the chance that has the last word.I can organised something in all the details but I don’t know what will happened tomorrow.Also a stupid thing can change all my projects.I would like to respond to your imput with some example.

    I’m reading “the Brooklyn follies”,one of the principal element of the book is coincidences.I don’t know so much about Paul Auster,at this very moment I understand a little bit of his thought.Randomness is one of the main theme.Sunday evening I saw Paul Auster’s interview on tv.I really appreciated it and noticed some interesting point about randomness also there.For example when he told us the story of the meeting with the baseball player and the pencil for the autogaph.It’s all based on chance.Take a pencil with you because you don’t know who you will meet in the future.He spoke about President Bush and also hear noticed “chance”in his words.Thinking about my life,it’s full of randomness.The biggest and the most beautiful three years ago!!!

  4. anonimo scrive:

    Randomness is the key to all the events that move our lives and holds a very important role in determining the sequence of situations in life.Randomness rules the events that happen in ordinary life.Is pointless to question the reasons of events and try to justify in any way what happens.Every time we plan something often is totally the opposite or at least not what we expected.This demonstrates that everything is governed by a superior force which is the randomness,the fate.The coicidence exist and are the result of the unpredictable nature of the case.Even if i am a very concrete person i believe strongly in case and unpredictable events of life.This is a theme that intrigue me.These issues make me think of stories of fantastic reality where the heroes are at the mercy of life and its implications and they are not afraid to live the events that random create for them.Guarino Ilaria

  5. anonimo scrive:

    I’m a rational person; I don’t believe in the case, in the chance. All our actions have a reason. If only we don’t notice it, we are driven by our rights, our mind. We are the creators of our destiny!

    I read Paul Auster’s example in Martina’s considerations; we can say that it was determined by randomness, but we can also say that Auster didn’t take a pen with him: it didn’t establish by the case, but by his will or by one of his forgetfulness.

    Saying that I don’t want to say that all our life is rationality, but I want to underline as the 90% of our actions have “a why”. Surely some of our behaviors are chance (for example Love isn’t only reason), but I don’t believe in a world without an order or based only in coincidences.

    Santi Monica

  6. anonimo scrive:

    Nowadays physics says that quantums, the basic participles of the whole universe, are not completely knowable (Heisenberg’s Indetermination Theory); we can say they are somehow regulated by chaos. So, if the roots of the whole universe are chaotic, how could this world be directed by a rationality? Maybe the correct answer is “there isn’t any rationality in the case” but I think that humans are not only things made of 65% of oxygen and 35% of some other elements, so why thinking that sometimes (maybe more often than our suppositions) coincidences are not what they seem couldn’t be a good way to consider our life?. But it would be useless to deny that the easiest and more probable explanation is that things don’t tell anything to human beings, but people see in them what they need to see.

    Damiano Verardo

  7. anonimo scrive:

    I’m a complicated person: on one hand I believe in chance, chaos and coincidents beacuse i love thinking that we are free to do what we desire, but on the other hand I’m a very rational person, I want to believe in fate, in destiny and wathelse. But, I’ve always wondered if the belief in destiny is as a giustification, a consolation, to our terrible fear of discovering that we are here, on earth, for no reason.

    I’m terribly undecided about what I want to face on: the destiny, inflexible, or the awareness of our no-sense.

    I think I will decide…i don’t know when, but i’m convinced that I’ll do.

    Giulia Raineri

  8. anonimo scrive:

    I agree with Auster’s quotation. Human have the reason, of course, but it is very hard to find always rationality in our lives. Sometimes things happen, without logic, without order and I like this sort of chaos. I think that some people want to find an order in their lives only to have a justification, to have someone or something that they can accuse or give merit.

    We are the creator of our destiny but we don’t know how ours actions will influence our future. So I prefer to believe in coincidences, chaos, in something like that.

    Federica Battistin

  9. anonimo scrive:

    Randomness is deeply set in our life,it’s the only thing we cannot mould in the shape in which we could understand it.I can’t definitely say if it truly exists or not but i know that,willy-nilly, it’s part of the reality: whatever action you do, you know that it will be in some way infuenced by chance.There have been,there are, and there will be certainly a lot of unwilling coincidence during my lifetime,as in every one’s.

    Just to comment some of the other posts…i didn’t have any doubts on what Monica would have written about randomness (:D) but i can’t tell the same for Damiano’s thoughts:i have been really impressed by what he wrote,i thought he was the person who mostly believe in the rationality of the world,as all scientists do!

  10. PaulAuster2008 scrive:

    Hi folks. I’m reading your comments from Brighton and you have left me speechless. You wrote really insightful comments, different, but all really interesting. Then I must admit I was so pleased to read such a wide range of vocabulary. Gosh, it seems you are learning from me, and I would have thought the opposite. One point I would love to make clear: if you do not like some of the things you read by the author, or if you do not appreciate some of the quotations I select for you (do remember that quotations are taken out of a context and so it happens that they may appear “not particularly profound”), please, please refrain from giving blunt and curt comments, such us “stupid”, or “banal”. Nothing is “stupid”, nothing is “banal” as long as it is supported and substantiated. I want this blog to be a springboard to analysis and exchange of ideas. I want all of you to help one another and help me too. The more we work together, the better we will get. So no negative comments, just for the sake of nailing a comment down. It is not a process, we are not a jury, we are readers, reading and responding in different ways.

    I loved reading your comments, so please keep on thinking, keep on sharing.

    Love from Brighton, and mind you, I will be in class next week, so do not loiter too much!

  11. anonimo scrive:

    On my opinion the world isn’t chaos. I create my future, I can change it. I believe in God and I believe in His project. Human have the reason, but it isn’t the key for all our problems. so our future depend on our decisions, but not completely. The world isn’t lack of order. We build our future, at least in part.

    Plazzotta Federico

  12. anonimo scrive:

    last week I was in the library and I found a book whose title inspired me…”oracle night”…I haven’t found yet the passage that you post…however,in my pessimistic view,I believe in a statement somebody said:”death is the only certain thing in life”….i think that random surprise us every day with its inpredictable decisions…i personally accept it…i need to accept it because i think life is like a game…we don’t know what will happen to us tomorrow, so we need to play the game and try to get all the pasitive thing from life…we are here to live…to play the game…and maybe,why not,to win it….

  13. anonimo scrive:

    If we start to think that everything is planned, we have to admit that something superior than us treats us as puppets. I do not like this idea. I like the idea of a world which is subverted every minute by some events that happen without a reason. Just happen. I will not ask somebody why I had to face a loss or why I’m not a millionaire. It just happen. I was born in a normal family, I had my good and my bad moments in my (short by now) life. Someone in Africa has a worse existence, someone in America has a better life.

    I did not choose, they neither. Tomorrow I could have an accident but I have the same probability to have a boring daytime like today.

    Coincidences, chances, accidents are not “themes” that Auster faces with in this books, they are “life”. I mean: I couldn’t speak about coincidences without explain how they influence my life. I also couldn’t speak about chances without discussing how they change my life. A simple intersection can change my life forever. But who knows what’s the best way? I don’t. You neither. That’s life. And that’s why I love life. I want to live every day in the best way possible thinking that every single day is the last I have.

    Elena Poles

  14. anonimo scrive:

    Thinking that “randomess stalks us every day of our life” is a typical atheist point of view. Reading Paul Auster’s quotation while bearing in mind the epicurean vision, in which fortune dominates human beings’ lives, it seems to me that the two visions are really similar.

    I certainly find these themes intriguing, in fact lack of certainty is a distinguishing element of man: human beings are looking for an answer to the events that take place on Earth (including the unpredictable, fate, chance, coincidence…) since the first time they realized they could reflect on the meaning of life and all its pros and cons.

    Auster’s themes make me think of the meaning of life, the “engine” who moves the whole universe (Can we discover the truth about it? Can we understand how it works?)… Is there a reason why for all the events of life, or is it just a set of chaos, that will finish in dust after death? There are people who would contradict the author’s belief, because they believe in God, who is superior to us and “moves men” following an accurate plan, full of meaning. When I think about this problem, it only seems to me that we are still on the same level classical Greek achieved more than two thousand years ago; I’m just thinking about the different conception of Epicure (who used to believe in fortune) and stoicism (for this “movement” the action of divinities was the base of concrete world) … Perhaps this small change between human belief, during all these centuries, should make us think that we haven’t reached any universal conclusion because we can’t.

    Giulia Marcassa

  15. anonimo scrive:

    Paul Auster looks at the world in a mechanistic way, where it doesn’t exist a determinism or a predestinated plan. This vision is antithetic in comparison with the religious point of view, which supposes God at the roots of our existence. I don’t think that our destiny is already written, because I believe that every single person is the advocate of is own life. Actually, expecially in the hard situations , lot of us prefer thinking that Someone is holding the reins of our life and this could (maybe) appear more convenient. The famous poet Giacomo Leopardi , in his latest years, wrote that Nature was completely indifferent towards the human being and that She acted where and when she would want. Nevertheless, in my opinion the world couldn’t be governed by chaos or lack of order, because also Nature has Her roles.

    Braghin Carolina

  16. anonimo scrive:


    I’m leaving out the term “banal” trying to spend some of my energies thinking about what I intended as sophisticated in Paul Auster’s quotation.

    It is not a question of conflict, banal versus sophisticated, both could live together having the same weight.

    It could be a question of perspective.

    Different points of view aiming to the same subject might drive to different conclusions.

    An emotional situation described by a commuter will not, probably, cross over the human history like the same situation highlighted by Shakespeare’s words.

    Emotions are the same like the effects produced. The difference resides in the ability to turn “banal” situation into universal values.

    I do not want to make confusion but I would like to make people understand my point of view.

    The banality of daily life, like randomness, can reach, through the art of Paul Auster, shades of meaning.

    Two sides of the same medal.

  17. anonimo scrive:

    I agree with what Paul Auster says according to his quotation “randomness stalks us every day of our lives”.

    I think that we are all driven by chance. We can plan our days and think at what we could do in the future, but there is always the possibility that our programme can be subverted.

    There is always something that may happen to us that we have not predicted.

    Life is wonderful because it always changes…day after day…and it is never the same. It is a sequence of emotions, illusions, hopes and adventures that pass one after the other…it is a real hotchpotch of sensations.

    We should face the reality accepting all that turn up unexpected, whenever possible with a smile in our face. Marson Chiara

  18. anonimo scrive:

    well…is a difficult question. Very often I ask myself if what happened to me is decided by someone or it’s work of randomness, but I haven’t found an answer. The question more worrying for me is: think I with my head or am I a puppet?? If i been a puppet every feeling, every thought, every emotion would be not real. But it’s a paradox: the feelings are beautiful because they are extraordinary and different for we can feel these feelings that are decided by someone?? it’s impossibile.

    At the same time how you can explain the injustices and the bad thing that happened?…well, someone believes in God because can’t say anything in front of a child’s death. Personally I believe in God and I think that everything has a why. it’s true that in our lifes there are more and more coincidence and I see in them the divine figure. it’s a problem?? I don’t think so…I don’t fell ashamed for this. Everyone is free to believe in what he or she wants. I like to think that our lives are mingles by a providential plane and in this plane everyone is free to take a position. When i explain these my ideas everyone ask me: you believe in a good God, but why there are so many wars in the world??? and i answer that everyone has a different conception of God, but i think that wars are caused by people, not God. A big defect of man is that when happened something that is beautiful we’re happy yes, but we never say “thank you” to anybody, and when happened something that is horrible we point one’s finger at God also if we don’t believe in him. But remember: when you point one’s finger at someone, there are other three fingers that point at you.

  19. PaulAuster2008 scrive:

    Thank you, you all!!!

    Chaira, Eugenia, Carolina, Giulia, etc. you see, you are expressing different opinions and nobody can say who is right and who is wrong. This is the beauty and the fascinating element of creating a blog where we can exchange opinions, enrich our knowledge of the world, expand our horizons in a non-threatening way. This is what democracy in education should be about (to quote Chomsky). Not everyone believes in God, so we get to read about non believers’ consideretions that are as relevant as believers’. This makes it even clearer that the world can’t be looked at just through our personal eyes. If we do that, then we exclude other people’s views, which are as relevant as ours. We all come from different backgrounds, which willy nilly have influenced us a great deal. Our roots, our gender, our upbringing, our education, our “everything” have influenced and influence us. It is important to become aware of this to open up to the others and accept that my map of the world is not necessarily my interlocutor’s. So, be careful with overgeneralisations, especially when different cultures and peoples are involved: it is not true that all Africans are poor and all Americans are rich! This is what the media in general seem to promote: a flat, stereotyped view of things. A stereotyped view which violates and abuses a people, a culture. Do you agree? Talk to you (I should write, “write” to you) soon.

    keep in touch.

    Hugs and kisses from Brighton.

  20. anonimo scrive:


    Whenever some strange situation strikes you, whenever there is something that you can’t believe in; if someone comes to you and he/ she is who you are waiting for, but you do not know how is she/he arrived to you…what do you think? There is something concealed for the eyes of our minds? Something that we cannot understand or maybe, something that we just do not know? Why there are some events that leave us astonished? I have not answer, but I cannot say it is the “right” one. I think that many things happen only due to chance, only owing to coincidences; but sometimes I think that there is something prearranged, something like a street that a man walk on his life: he can choose when walking slowly and when running, he can choose when walking on the left or on the right side, when meeting somebody and when avoiding another one, but during his journey he must, he can not jump some events, he can not avoid some people even if that is his street.

  21. anonimo scrive:

    This is a difficult the past I always thought that everything happened thanks to an order created by a supernatural being that drew our lives before our birth.Some time ago I started to cast doubts on this belief.I don’t like thinking we’re puppets in the hands of a god that control our single action,human beings have a free will and create their future as they wish.At the same time,people can’t control all the aspects of life and can’t plan everything.I agree with Auster,chance can subverts our life and even if we may feel confused we have to accept the fact that chance is a part of our existence and we have to face it peacefully,in fact it can change our lives in a positive way…

    Montrasio Valentina

  22. anonimo scrive:

    Things I have experienced and undergone so far have given me a confusing view about the randomness of life. It is clear that you can make changes to your own life (career, friendships, love…), but life is not always like that, you are not always the creator of your own destiny: there might be things coming all of a sudden like accidents, crashes, coincidences, sudden deaths…things that you have planned and that did not go as you expected. This means that we cannot believe in a scientific determinism, in a clock-type view of a universe whose future can be exactly predicted: that is because the universe is a far more unpredictable place than anyone ever imagined…and our modern society it is obsessed with conquering and scientifically controlling the world around us. However, as I told, nature, society, and our individual lives lie beyond all our attempts to predict, manipulate, and control them. Life is chaos, but this is an exciting thing: it is like an open space that we are free to roam and explore, to experience, a place where imagination can be let free to run wild, a various, colourful and unexpected world.

    Alessandro Piccin

  23. PaulAuster2008 scrive:

    I loved the figurative language you used to respond to Auster’s quotation.

    Valentina, I couldn’t agree more.

    Pierluca, I am happy to see that you are giving your best: I get the impression somebody is helping you write your comments, and that is really fine. If it is so, learn as much as you can from this person, s/he is doing a good job.

    Alessandro, the metaphorical language you used to share your view of life with us is just astonishing. Good job. I would love all of you to read your fellow schoolmates’ comments.


  24. anonimo scrive:

    Hi guys!!!!

    First of all…sorry for beig late!! :S (many of you know what we have gone through these past 2 weeks…so you know why…!)

    “Randomness stalks us every day of our lives.” Yes, that’s true, I agree with this statement. We walk hand in hand with the Chance. Actually. we are here by chance. I mean, ironically speaking, if the day of my conception, or just even the hour of my conception would have been postponed or anticipated I wouldn’t be here now..! Maybe I would have been a boy,or a girl with a diffrent character…(I wish it would have happened!!). This is one (and the first)out off hundreds of moments, actions,facts tha are driven by chance. For example our parents met by chance, we were born here in Italy by chance, I think we met all our friends by chance (for example we met them at school so as it happened someone put us together..)

    But, as a “rational human being”, I always try(if possible) to resign myself to it, I try to figure it out and to investigate on what chance brings to me.I don’t say: “life is driven by chance and there is nothing I can do about it,…and I live in a passive way as I know that I can’t manage it”. I think that we are driven by chance only to a certain extent, and we have always the possibility to chose whatever to do or not, whatever we want or don’t want, I think we have always the possibility to take the most of an opportunity/moment or to just let it down. Chance spreads in our entire life moments that can change something in our life or moments that can wreck it. It’s up to us to grab them or not.

    Chiara Pinardi

  25. PaulAuster2008 scrive:

    Nice to read your comment Chiara.

    I don’t know what you have been through, so couldn’t understand the first bit of your post.

    Chance and personal decisions seem to be closely connected and interwoven. You have met some of your school fellows by chance, but it is also true that by deciding to come to Grigoletti you “narrowed down” that chance.

    As to your character, you wish it would be different. I see nothing wrong with it, but if you refer to your being timid, then there are different things you can do to “unlock” your emotions and become more sociable. You can do it. It is a matter of will, not of chance only!

  26. anonimo scrive:

    I have always thought that most of the events that we are going through in our life are determined by chance and fate. I have often asked myself why something had happened in this and not in another way. Giving the explanation to the randomness is not very reassuring. Does it means that we are only fate’s puppets?? I use to answer to this question thinking that it’s true that chance and randomness play an important part on our life, but once a latin said: unusquisque faber est fortunae suae, that implays we are the main characters on the stage of our life. In our choices we are conditioned by religion, our family and the society in which we are living. Anyway this theme of randomness fascinated me so far. It is something i cannot control and it’s something that surprise me.

    Cipolla Carla

  27. anonimo scrive:

    Every day, from I get up to I turn off the light, I can’t know what my future has old in store, it’s a fact that nobody can read the future, but, if I remind what I’ve done in the day, before I fall asleep, I notice that it’s different to yesterday and to the previous day. Every day has something different or special and I have the possibility to enjoy this difference. I don’t know in the morning if the day will be good or if a disgrace is approching, but I’m certain something will happen, so I get ready myself to live it. For millennia, men tried to understand if the world is governed by fate, God, luck but they hadn’t found any answer, because they couldn’t prove nothing. Hypothesis I think more interesting is the complete contron by the man of his life and the freedom of the entire world from a supreme being. Man became creators of the “Randomness of the days”, randomness necessarily existing.

    Nicola Truant

  28. anonimo scrive:

    In “Oracle Night” Auster claims that ‘randomness stalks us every day of our lives’.

    I think that this is a sentence that involved an incredible number of discussions and problems. In my opinion randomness is something that we can found in every single day of our lifes and I agree with the sentence of Auster; but this is just because I am not a religious person and I have not the concept of godsend.

    For many other people these sentence could be sound like a blasphemy or something that they disagree.

    Personally I am fascinated by the quixotic fluidity of existence, its chaos, its lack of order, its inherent reliance upon the unpredictable, upon the twists and turns of fate, chance and coincidence too; because every day I find something that surprise me and bring me to ask myself ‘oh, why this is happened? It is so strange!’. In fact, if someone thinks that all these things that happened are all casual, without a rational plane and without an end, could be feel a little bit afraid of it and an incredible number of questions born in his head. I think that these themes are very interesting because could be argument of discussions and development for our knowledge.


  29. anonimo scrive:

    In my opinion humans are only evoluted monkeys.I don’t think that exists a rational plane for monkeys so i’m not convinced it exists for humans.I would like to believe in a order.Life would be easier by knowing that all of what you are doing it’s in a certain way because it must.But i do not want to believe that all the feelings and the statements of a person depend on somebody else.I like the terrible randomness of life.Randomness is terrible because it boost in all the people the most important questions:Which is the sense of the existence?What have i to do?Caos it’s the lymph of life but it’s also the most difficult thing to cohabit with.

    Perin Marco

  30. anonimo scrive:

    (i wrote my idea before reading the other posts) i personally think that this quotation is quite banal. wait: it doesn’t means that paul auster is banal….but in my opinion everyone is concerned about the sense of life.

    calling it kharma, faith, destiny, randomness, God or even mechanicalism i think everyone is referring at the same subject, an identity that doesnt’ dominate over us but creates some different paths. it doens’t dictate our life ( like some images of a so called “book of the destiny”) but it’s our duty choosing one of the paths.

    so i’m not so interested about the question in itself but i’m intrigued about the answer of paul auster: unfortunately i haven’t read the book. i can mention other author that i have recently studied: leopardi with his pessimism, manzoni and his “provvidenza” and so on…

    elena giacomin

  31. anonimo scrive:

    For me, “randomness stalks us every day of our lives” is an aphorism very beautiful and great effect. Yes, I believe in the case, case involves liberty. I do not like to think of being embedded in a rational design and I refuse to imagine that things I see happen, happen to the will of a higher order that control every thing in our life . If God exists, and I don’t exclude it, certainly is not present in the sensitive reality of everyday life. Here on earth reigns randomness, if there is a ‘intermundia “where God controls everything in a rational design certainly is not this.


  32. anonimo scrive:

    Personally I believe that there is no kind of fate, destiny, rational project or how you want to call it. Think that reality is the result of something logical and ordered, is something that, somehow, takes away the extraordinary complexity of human beings. Events, desired or unexpected, circumstances, coincidences are something that every day makes us new persons, with feelings, certainties or doubts always new and different. So,if you think everyone of us, with its interior, along many infinite other human beings, as complex and unique … Well I think that this is outside any kind of ordered project, is something that we can not explain with semplicity. I find this theme particularly fascinating and interesting.

    Federica Cozzarin

  33. anonimo scrive:

    this quotation is very captivating…it makes us thinking on things that happening every day…on one hand i agree with Paul auster’s assertion:”randomness stalks us every day of our lives”….all of us would love to plan our days but we aren’t scure that what we planned became reality…our life is dominatet by random but there is even a reason why things happened to us…so on the other hand i don’t completely agree with this sentence!!

    the human being is only in a big world where we don’t pass all our life.i’m a little bit terrified when i think on this things…but we can’t live with closed eyes…we have to accept the reality..even if our ideas of life can have some differente point of view…


  34. anonimo scrive:

    The role of causality in human life is a recurrent theme in philosophy, literature and especially in everyday life.

    In Ancient Greece the fate was personified by different gods. In Greek and Roman society, very often the oracles were asked to make a prediction for the future. Even in primitive tribes the shaman read the future, often preaching misfortunes.

    Many religions ask themselves the question of fate, often attributing it to God’s will, and also to the fact that every man has a destiny decided precisely.

    It is a doubt that all of us have: how important are, in our lives, will and randomness? Every time we face a choice, we know that, however, it means renouncing one another chance. This choice will take us opportunities, meetings, coincidences, but it will foreclose others. We know, it is a specific characteristic of the human being, to use its intelligence to live as best he could: choosing a study, a career, an idea to follow, everything that makes him feel active protagonist and satisfied of our life.

    It is also true that life is made of tragedies, of inevitability things that overwhelm us, that sometimes make us start again from the very beginning.

    So will and randomness are a daily experience in human life. That makes “Oracle Night” very actual.

    Raggiotto Francesco

  35. MicheleDB scrive:

    Of course, we have the possibility to give a shape to our future, but we can’t forecast what will happen and what can change our rational plan. Things didn’t happen because they have to. Everything is dominate by random, a think that we can’t control. Truly speaking, even if there is a rational plan on me I can’t control it. However, seeing what is going on every day, you can’t, rational speaking, believe that is all prepared. At the end probably you understand that the greater part of the events occur by chance.

    So I completely agree with Paul Auster.

  36. anonimo scrive:

    I can’t say i completely agree with Paul Auster, because of my personal view of life. I’m certain that randomness exists,as chaos and unforeseen events, but it isn’t all in my life. my existence is not only a waterfall of events, i think that there is something special that follows us! in fact there is rationality and irrationality, there is a line to follow and also exists the chaos. in the world coexist black and white, the opposites, why could not exist a rational plain, opposes to chaos? i think it’s possible, we are our future maker, but we have a line already traced. it’s our freedom to accept or not.


    matteo cervesato

  37. PaulAuster2008 scrive:

    Dear Carla,

    I agree with you that the issue of chance and randomness is really fascinating, almost mindboggling: we can’t give clearcut answers to what live is all about and this impossibility makes it even more fascinating. This is the reason why some of us (human beings) feel the urge to investigate life and this is the reason why there are lots of artists and writers who try to write about it.

    Dear Luca,

    As you pointed out the issue raised by Auster are really interesting for us to discuss. This is the reason why I decided to run this blog with you.

    Dear Elena,

    As you pointed out, Auster has not invented the “wheel” or “hot water”, so to say. He deals with themes that other writers investigated in the past or are dealing with at present. Any writer is inspired by people’s existence, dilemmas, sufferings, joys, etc. Human life is the inspirer of most writers. Yet, what is fascinating about Auster is the way he renders these universal themes. When you read him in English, pay attention to the way he uses language and you will figure out what I mean here.

    Dear Michele and Matteo,

    is it a “chance” that your posts are so close one to the other and they so much express two opposite responses to Paul Auster’s quotation? This explains that there is not just a side A or B to things. Life is much more complex than that. Thanks for your comments, all of you.

  38. anonimo scrive:

    Paul Auster sayes the truth! In our life all of our actions are imposed by case because we all are formed by molecule and molecure are forrmed by atoms!

    When we study the atom world we are costricted to study quanti and use the constant of Plank, this implies the extistance of case because the existance of this constant implies that when I whant to know some information about an atom, for instance the position, this choose one position between all positions he could be, other positions are relegated to other dimensions!

    In the light of this we are only a mass of atoms so we can conclude that a providential plane doesn’t exist and dominate only case!

    On Focus 188 there’s an article about the quanti’s world


  39. anonimo scrive:

    Lorenzo, please, leave your word based only on physics and mathematics and come into ours, which is really different from what you think.Our world is composed of a lot of subjects and scienses that mix together to form the reality in which we live.You cannot explain everything with the study of quanti!!you’ve got a mind,we’ve got a mind and we should use it to discuss about how our world goes on, without reporting only someone else’s theorems.yes, it may explain everything, but, as we can sometimes change our life with our intelligence, we aren’t just a group of atoms that move in a chaotic way. To be able to develop such a complex theory it’s the proof that we are so smart even to decide our destiny, in the situations where we aren’t completely influenced by randomness.We aren’t always at the mercy of the case, sometimes we can free ourself from it,it’s hard but you can. This is my opinion.

    Bye, simone

  40. anonimo scrive:

    I think Paul Auster is right: our lives are full of random events. We can’t predict precisely what we will do tomorrow, because there are so many incidents that may happen one day and so many actions of thousands of people that may influence our lives. Someone said that if a butterfly flaps its wings in Europe, a tsunami destroys Japan: that is to say that every action can have great effects on the lives of hundreds of people. Thinking in this way, someone could say that our lives depend mostly on the other people’s actions.

    I don’t think this. As Niccolò Machiavelli wrote, chance comes like a river without control and it can overflow its banks, shaking our lives, but if we build enbankments high enough, we can control it.

    Obviously each man’s life is influenced by chance, but in my opinion we can put some limits, because I like to think that “Homo faber fortunae suae”.

    There is even my Christian spirit that tells me something: our lives should be a plan of God, and what happens should be controlled by Him. I think He has a plan, but it’s up to us to make it concrete, real, or not. We are free to act as we want, our choices are not limited, and the other people’s as well.

    So, anyway we call it, we have to consider that there are many incidents that we can’t contol and that we can’t expect to happen.

    Pietro Perin

  41. anonimo scrive:

    Chaos makes our life surprising and always more interesting; maybe for this reason lots of theatrical plays (like Goldoni ones) are based on casual accidents that involves the audience, and is the some for fictions, novels or films.

    We, as human beings, often came across with something disordered (read: something we cannot explain rationally), in what happen to us or in what we see outside us but we are divided in two main different position: a group postulate one rational entity that rules the complexity of interactions, the others thinks that chaos is the governor of the universe.

    A part from this is undeniable that we don’t have the complete power on what manage to do and this makes our lives a continuous fascinating become.

    Francesca Cazorzi

  42. PaulAuster2008 scrive:

    Lorenzo, Simone’s reaction to your post (a bit too forceful, but this is Simone) somehow renders my response to your statement. I don’t think that physics and mathematics can explain all the manifold aspect and facets of life. It would really be sad if they could. there would be no room left for interpretation, everything would fall one way or the other within a rule, a given paradigm. The fact that we are all human beings with the same cells, chemicals, energy, etc. does not mean we are all the same, does it?

    I would like all of you, FOLKS, to read PIETRO’S comment. Thanks for it, I really appreciated it.

    FRANCESCA, thanks for your “fascinating” and enlightening comments.

    See you soon.

  43. anonimo scrive:

    I agree with Paul Auster because i think it too. In the interview at “chetempochefa” he answers to Fabio Fazio’s question in that way: “we know that happen bad and good things in our life.An accident is something that you don’t expect.People often don’t understand that unexpected things belong to our experience”. Everything is true but it is also important to know that everybody can’t live with this anxiety, this fear otherwise s/he wouldn’t succeed in living her/his life and s/he would resign to the fate.Maybe people are aware of the fact that our live is stalked by randomness and they are only scared to accept this reality….

    Santarossa Barbara

  44. PaulAuster2008 scrive:

    Dear Barbara,

    Thanks for sharing this important quotation. Your words somehow reflect the aspects dealt with in the film you watched “Lulu on the Bridge” and on the one you will watch on Wednesday “Smoke”. See you.

  45. anonimo scrive:

    This quotation is very interesting because, it is true that our life is ruled by randomness, but I don’t think that it “stalks” us. Randomness in IN our life, that’s because randomness in what we don’t know, what we can’t expect, and we can expect very few things of our life, so a lot of accidents that happen to us seem to us random. This is not totally negative, if we could expect everything in our lives, it would become monotonous and boring. The way Paul Auster describes randomness make it seems quite annoying, but I think that it is positive, because it makes life more interesting. I found these themes very intriguing, they involve the sphere of metaphysics, of the struggle of our existence, the huge web created by our actions and consequences, so by randomness. I think these kind of themes interest almost everybody.

    Riccardo Bagattin

  46. PaulAuster2008 scrive:

    Dear Riccardo,

    Thanks for you comment. The reference to metaphysics is interesting!

  47. anonimo scrive:

    I think that the theme of ‘randomness’ is very fascinating, but I personally don’t like thinking of our lives as something guided from chance and coincidence. I mean, I am the one who decides what to do, where to go and who I want to be. Perhaps people attribute a certain event to chance only because they don’t think about it, they don’t try to give it a meaning. But if you ask yourself ‘why did it happen this way, and not another?’, you will find that it was you who decided to be there at that specific time and place. It’s not another one who leads your life, or something supernatural or metaphisical…It’s simply you.

    Jana Stefani

  48. PaulAuster2008 scrive:

    You see Jana, if it were not for Auster’s obsessive theme of “randomness” you would not have been “forced” to think about it and you would not have felt what you wrote so strongly!