Category Archives: About luck and uncertainties


Umberto Eco, in a book titled “Serendipities: Language and Lunacy” wrote:

Columbus, on the contrary, burning with a sacred fire, good navigator but bad astronomer,
thought the earth smaller than it was. Naturally neither he nor the learned men of Salamanca suspected that between Europe and Asia there lay another continent. And so you see how complicated life is, and how fragile are the boundaries between truth and error, right and wrong. Though they were right, the sages of Salamanca were wrong; and Columbus, while he was wrong, pursued faithfully his error and proved to be right—thanks to serendipity.

Despite the current debate about who discovered America first; either Vespucci, Colombus, Chinese sailors, or even, on one seminar held in Jakarta; Indonesian sailors, Umberto Eco described what the meaning of serendipity to Colombus.

Colombus, while he was wrong, pursued faithfully his error and proved to be right-thanks to serendipity

Eco also told us how fragile the boundaries between right or wrong, truth or error. And I think, it can be applied to anything; whether it love, career, friendship, or everything. Does it right to chase the love of your life, if she already had someone?  Does it right to chose a career for the love of it, even if its under appreciated?

I think the same question had been answered by Colombus, before he decided to go to a place that he thought as “India”. And what happened next is just serendipity.  Its not about pure luck. Not about mystical rule of the universe. Not about the mysterious favor of Fortuna, the goddess of good luck in Greek Mythologies. Its about the fairness that nature gave to those whose pursued faithfully his dreams. Some would say that he’s just lucky. Some would say, it’s all about divine interventions. For me, its both of them; in the frame of a simple fortunate accident(s).


“One morning, a farmer knocked loudly on the door of a monastery. When Brother Porter
opened the door, the farmer held out to him a magnificent bunch of grapes.“

‘Dear Brother Porter, these are the finest grapes from my vineyard. Please accept them
as a gift from me.’

” ‘Why, thank you! I’ll take them straight to the Abbot, who will be thrilled with such a
gift.’ “

‘No, no. I brought them for you.’
“ ‘For me? But I don’t deserve such a beautiful gift from nature.’“

‘Whenever I knocked on the door, you opened it. When the harvest had been ruined by
drought, you gave me a piece of bread and a glass of wine every day. I want this bunch of
grapes to bring you a little of the sun’s love, the rain’s beauty, and God’s miraculous

“Brother Porter put the grapes down where he could see them and spent the whole
morning admiring them: they really were lovely. Because of this, he decided to give the
present to the Abbot, whose words of wisdom had always been such a boon to him.

“The Abbot was very pleased with the grapes, but then he remembered that one of the
other monks was ill and thought: ‘I’ll give him the grapes. Who knows, they might bring
a little joy into his life.’

“But the grapes did not remain for very long in the room of the ailing monk, for he in turn
thought: ‘Brother Cook has taken such good care of me, giving me only the very best
food to eat. I’m sure these grapes will bring him great happiness.’ And when Brother
Cook brought him his lunch, the monk gave him the grapes.“

‘These are for you. You are in close touch with the gifts nature gives us and will know
what to do with this, God’s produce.’

“Brother Cook was amazed at the beauty of the grapes and drew his assistant’s attention
to their perfection. They were so perfect that no one could possibly appreciate them more
than Brother Sacristan, who had charge of the Holy Sacrament, and whom many in the
monastery considered to be a truly saintly man.

“Brother Sacristan, in turn, gave the grapes to the youngest of the novices in order to help
him understand that God’s work is to be found in the smallest details of the Creation.
When the novice received them, his heart was filled with the Glory of God, because he
had never before seen such a beautiful bunch of grapes. At the same time, he remembered
the day he had arrived at the monastery and the person who had opened the door to him;
that gesture of opening the door had allowed him to be there now in that community of
people who knew the value of miracles.

“Shortly before dark, he took the bunch of grapes to Brother Porter.

“‘Eat and enjoy. You spend most of your time here all alone, and these grapes will do
you good.’

“Brother Porter understood then that the gift really was intended for him; he savored
every grape and went to sleep a happy man. In this way, the circle was closed; the circle
of happiness and joy which always wraps around those who are in contact with the
energy of love.”

from “The Zahir” by Paulo Coelho

Sometimes we forget that life is not a series of independent moments, acts and thoughts. Life is a series of interconnecting moments, acts and thoughts. Every single thing that we do and we think is an effect, and at the same time, the cause of something.

And the question is:

what kind of acts and thoughts will you create? What influence will you give? What role will you take in the history of yours?