A Rush of Traffic

I was on the balcony listening to the not too distant sound of Istanbul’s rush hour traffic going by, and started thinking about  the multitudes of people being carried along, the energy of the vehicles themselves, and the many branches and interchanges of the highway. The traffic racing down the E5 was making an incredible whooshing sound, like the sound of a rushing river of probability. All those drivers and passengers with their countless intentions and purposes, traversing one of the greatest cities in the world,  controlled by forces they can neither imagine nor comprehend. Socio-political, economic and religious forces that influence every choice that they make.

The House Always Wins

The law of probability – an actuarial table of risk and outcome that determines…does it?…predicts the probability of so many of our vulnerabilities already. Insurance companies know this, which is why they offer protection for everything from illness to earthquakes. The house always wins though because it has the numbers. Statistics control it all. What a power then, to understand this and have control of many levers of power.


In Foundation, Psychohistorian Harry Seldon says that his mathematics is based on the science of predicting how incredibly large populations will behave over time. It is a statistical science that relies on innumerable historical, mathematical, and sociological variables based on cold hard facts. He foresees the end of an empire and the rise – phoenix-like – of a new civilization, The Foundation, from the ashes of the Empire’s collapse.

There’s a Divinty That Shapes Our Ends…

We seem to be living in a psychohistorical age right now. Never before have institutions had control of so much of our data. How is that information being used and shared? What are the institutions, corporations and governments doing with all that information? Are we being nudged from one direction to another by intangible forces? Is everything planned?  Are we being controlled, as some maintain, or is it just random numbers colliding into one another forming patterns, patterns that can be detected and observed and recorded and analyzed to provide models of prediction.

And so it goes. Although it doesn’t seem apparent from the traffic of Istanbul, maybe there always has been an unseen order to the madness of life on Earth.

Michael Wray

Hi, My name's Michael. I'm a writer/illustrator working as a primary ESL teacher in Istanbul. I love art, music, literature, and traveling.

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